DOWNEY – A team of students from Stauffer Middle School were the winners of Downey Unified’s Mission: Impact Challenge – Operation Oceans, a new program in which young innovators from DUSD’s four middle schools were challenged to develop an innovative and feasible solution to solve a real-world problem facing our oceans.
Student worked in teams, with 2-5 students per team. A panel of five judges, comprised of experts in marine biology and sustainability, reviewed presentations from each of the six finalist teams and selected a grand prize winner and two runner-up teams.
Submissions were scored based on originality of their idea; use and application of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math); feasibility and potential impact.
The three winning teams and their ideas are:
Grand Prize: Stauffer Middle School students Bailey Canham and Evelyn Vaca developed a better and cost-effective storm drain filter to separate garbage from water before emptying into the oceans.
Runner-Up: Sussman Middle School students Peter Manriquez, Victor Plascencia, Jordan Price, and Sebastian Ramirez created a mercury filtering submarine to help clean-up mercury contamination in the oceans.
Runner-Up: Griffiths Middle School students Lindsay Santana, Alondra Simbala, Carlos Simbala, Katie Stocks, and Giovanni Trujillo designed a solution to our overfishing problems using radar, sonar, and a digital database to track fishing and impose penalties for overfishing.
The grand prize team won a trip to San Diego where they will tour innovative companies focused on saving and exploring the oceans. Each member of the three winning teams also received a prize package comprised of an Amazon Echo, a Thimble STEM Kit, and passes to the Aquarium of the Pacific.
Stauffer Middle School also received $600 in gift certificates in science supplies from Flinn Scientific, Carolina Biological Supply Company and Ward’s Science.
Winners were announced at a celebration event Feb. 24 at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Guest speakers included Dr. Jerry Schubel, president and CEO, Aquarium of the Pacific; Jordon Howard, a social good strategist; Dr. Jyotika Virmani, senior director, Energy & Environment, XRIZE; Dr. John Garcia, superintendent, Downey Unified School District; and Phil Davis, director of STEAM programs, Downey Unified School District.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the three top winning teams and are beyond proud of all the extraordinary young adults within Downey Unified that competed,” said Davis. “This was a difficult challenge and many of students stepped up with remarkable solutions to solve real-world problems. Programs like this help unleash the creative minds of our young innovators and engage them in important STEAM disciplines.”
The challenge was a partnership between DUSD and Carrot Group.
“We are honored to partner with Downey Unified and design the Mission: Impact Challenge around oceans,” said Alan Zack, president of Carrot Group. “It is so important that students understand all the issues surrounding our oceans and take steps to come up with new and innovative ideas to solve them using their STEAM knowledge. We applaud all the teams who competed in this Challenge and the celebrate the winning ideas.”
For more information, visit gocarrotgo.com/missionimpact