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STEM students win recognition, cash awards for innovative solutions to real-world problems
STEM SUCCESS: Top performers in NDCL's recent STEM showcase include juniors Nicole Johnson (standing, left), Carson Konyecsni, and Sarah Azzi; senior Kayla Powell; junior David Oppenlander (seated, left), senior Anthony Rabil, and junior Robert Tamburrino.

A year-long cross-curricular STEM initiative involving students in Honors Chemistry, Honors Algebra 2 with Trigonometry, and Engineering culminated with a project showcase and awards presentation in NDCL's Sisters of Notre Dame Learning Commons last week. 

The brainchild of Mathematics Department Chairperson Mrs. Marcia Pecek, science teacher Miss Kelly Maduri, and engineering and math teacher Mrs. Ashley Kelm, this innovative, collaborative effort challenged students to work together to create devices or products to solve real-world problems.

Students employed STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) principles to describe their problems, develop actual prototypes, and produce papers and collateral materials to explain and promote their solutions to potential customers.

A panel of NDCL alumni who are engineering professionals awarded prizes to these top projects:

First Place Award: $250.00
Reducing Driving Distractions Using Technology to Create a Screenless Driving Assistant: "Safety Stacey"
Project team members: Juniors Sarah Azzi, Tara Grambo, Nicole Johnson, Carson Konyecsni

With Safety Stacey, drivers can feel safe, aware, and alert in their cars by receiving notifications about potentially threatening conditions that they may encounter on the road. With an easy-to-use USB speaker and a Bluetooth connected app, Safety Stacey is a user-friendly device that will be beneficial for everyone from beginners to experienced drivers as it announces directions and warns drivers of traffic, construction, crime, and weather conditions—all while completely eliminating the need to use a distracting screen.

Second Place Award #1: $125
Double-Sided Suction Cup Pads for Counteracting Fitted Sheet Movement
Project team members: Seniors Kayla Powell and Anthony Rabil, junior David Oppenlander

Fitted sheets are dependent on elastic bands to keep the fabric in place, but this structure degrades over time and is ineffective against ill-fitting sheets or those who move frequently at night. Utilizing suction cup technology based on octopus tentacles, these silicone rubber pads keep the fitted sheet firmly stuck to the mattress.

Second Place Award #2: $125
SustainaBottle: Alternate Condiment Bottle for Improved Recycling Viability
Project team members: Juniors David Oppenlander, Robert Tamburrino, Domenico Vitale, Max Zart

Using a biodegradable inner lining and an intuitive, easy-to-use lever system, the bottle can be recycled efficiently and effectively without risking environmental contamination. SustainaBottle’s “pop, pull, preserve” technology could be a crucial step toward a cleaner and greener city, nation, and world.

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