Montclair middle schoolers receive recognition in international STEM competition for girls
Seven Montclair middle school students earned recognitions in the 2022 ProjectCSGIRLS Competition for Middle School Girls, an international technology and computer science competition, for their projects focused on finding solutions to social problems.
The virtual hackathon asks students to “build something using computer science and technology that can help solve an imminent social problem under one of four themes — global health, a safer world, intelligent technology and bridging inequalities,” the ProjectCSGIRLS website says.
The students created their projects during the 2021-22 school year under the mentorship of Daniel Taylor, the club organizer and Buzz Aldrin Middle School STEM coordinator, and Montclair High School seniors Ede Koehlert and Sylvie Wurmser, according to a district press release.
Koehlert and Wurmser placed fourth globally in the 2019 competition for their invention of a sensor that goes on the handlebars of a bicycle to detect potholes and fallen trees, and alerts the bicyclist
“We are very proud of all the middle school students who dedicated so much time and effort to the research of the unique project,” Taylor said in the release.
Each student or group submitted a three to five minute video and a formal 10-page document for the competition, according to the district release.
Charlotte Wurmser, an eighth grade student at Buzz Aldrin and Sylvie Wurmser’s younger sister, was named a finalist in the 2022 competition for her project titled “The Earth Cycle.” The project is focused on turning exercise into energy — capturing the energy from the movement of pedals on a stationary bike to be used in the community.
The stationary bike would be hooked up to a motor that would work as a generator and a lithium battery connected to the wall, according to Charlotte’s competition video. A digital voltmeter would show how many volts were produced, send the information through an Arduino Uno, a microcontroller board, and then to a phone app via a bluetooth transmitter. People could then see how much energy they were producing while biking.
“I have created The Earth Cycle not only to have cleaner air but also as an incentive to bike,” Charlotte said in the video. “I hope to make the world a cleaner place and it all starts with one person taking one action.”
Six students were also named semifinalists in the 2022 competition.
Sarah Mifan, a seventh grader at Renaissance at Rand Middle School, won the recognition for her project titled “Jord,” an application that “focuses on the education and promotion of clean up of litter,” according to her competition video.
Through the app, teachers can sign up students or classes to track their collection of litter. Students would earn points for collecting, and then the points would get turned into money that would be donated to iMentor, a nonprofit that pairs mentors with high school students who plan to apply to college.
Through the app, users can also enter their zip code to see which plastics can be recycled in their area.
“As much as Jord focuses on the promotion of the cleanup of litter, we take a grassroots approach to this problem,” Sarah said in the video. “We give back to our community and help the planet at the same time.”
Samaara Navani and Aaria Shah, eighth graders at Buzz Aldrin, partnered up for their project, “EZ Lunchtime,” and were also named semifinalists.
EZ Lunchtime is a website that “delivers healthy and affordable lunches for kids,” Aaria said in the video. The lunches, including a main meal, a nutritious snack, a treat and a kids toy, would be placed in recyclable bags and shipped to the subscriber’s door.
“School meals are colorless, nutritionally insufficient and unpleasant to eat,” Samaara said in the pair’s competition video. “We took our own experiences as being young teens ourselves and created a prototype website that relates to kids like us.”
Subscribers would be able to pick from a variety of meal packages or create their own, to cater to allergies or diets, and could opt to include a note in the lunch addressed to their child’s name. The website would source food from a farm to ensure food safety and organic sourcing.
The final semifinalist recognition was awarded to a threesome of Buzz Aldrin students, Bowen Brownstein, Samantha Leftwich and Ella Reynolds, for their project titled, “International Education Organization.” Bowen, Samantha and Ella are now in eighth grade.
The International Educational Organization would be a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping students get a free online education. The IEO’s website would be “used to teach kids and give them a fair chance at having a good education,” Ella said in the group’s competition video.
Students would be able to choose a grade-appropriate curriculum, with subjects including math, geography and physical education. The curriculum also includes a games and awards section in order to keep students engaged.
“With games and awards, it’s very important to have them because it gives students a reason to stay motivated and stay learning,” Ella said in the video. “It can be hard to stay motivated and keep learning if there’s no one really telling you to do it because we are a website.”
Students would never be charged for the lessons, which would be paid for via investments from individuals and corporations.
The ProjectCSGirls club is open to new participants, the district release says. For more information, contact Taylor at email@example.com.