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Two SMES Teams Selected in QuikSCience Challenge Top Five

30 March 2012 admin 2,698 views No Comment Email This Post Email This Post Print This Post Print This Post

Two St. Margaret’s Middle School teams presented to a panel of professors and environmentalists at University of Southern California’s campus last month for the QuikSCience Challenge. This year, USC selected five teams out of 78 to present; both of St. Margaret’s teams were selected. Each team will learn the results of the competition at the QuikSCience Challenge Award Ceremony on April 5 at the Quiksilver, Inc. headquarters in Huntington Beach.

Sponsored by the USC College Wrigley Institute for Environmental Studies in partnership with Quiksilver Inc., the QuikSCience Challenge is a competition for teams comprised of middle and high school students that create projects and portfolios on a science subject related to marine or freshwater environments. The challenge “uses a team competition to encourage students to learn more about scientific research and to enhance the students’ capacity for leadership.” To participate in the challenge, a team of up to six students establishes an environmental solution, assembles a portfolio that includes a lesson plan that they teach to other students, and participates in a community service project.

One St. Margaret’s team including Luke Gitter, Jack Li, Tim Maguire, Colby Rogers, Charlie Smith and Jack Westhead, created Oil Cleaning Technical Intellectual Communicator (OCTIC), a robot that goes out and cleans up oil. The team taught a lesson to Mrs. Jennifer Abbate’s grade 2 class, and for their community service project they talked to the San Clemente City Council about repainting the City’s storm drain signs.

Selected by a panel of judges as the top team out of all the grade 7 projects, the team was subsequently chosen as one of the top five teams for the entire competition, after which the team traveled to USC to interview with a panel of judges.

“It was quite different from what we expected. Rather than presenting, we were asked questions by the judges. Each answering a part of our presentation, we left proud of our effort,” said Colby Rogers.

Most of the team voiced that they had never heard of the QuikSCience Challenge prior to this competition. Jack Westhead said, “As our group got into it, I started to appreciate what we were doing.” The team agreed that they reached an incredible amount of people during the project. “I knew that we not only reached their minds, but also their hearts,” commented Luke Gittersaid. Jack Li added, “Our group worked diligently everyday while having a great time.” He said he had done the project to change himself and the team agreed.

“I think in terms of life changing experiences, this project was clearly one I will remember forever,” said Colby.


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