Los Fresnos News

Sci Tech Hosts Second Annual Campus-wide ‘EDD Presents’ Conference

Isabella Gomez of Los Fresnos, Ji Hyun Byun of Edinburg and Alan Le Grice of Edinburg.

Isabella Gomez of Los Fresnos, Ji Hyun Byun of Edinburg and Alan Le Grice of Edinburg.

Mercedes – The Science Academy of South Texas (Sci Tech) held its second annual Engineering Design & Development ‘(EDD) Presents’ Conference last Friday at the Sci Tech campus in Mercedes.

During the district wide event, 65 two-to-three member teams made up of the members of the senior class, presented their end-of-year projects to judges – all of whom had a technical or engineering background – their parents, and their peers.

Sci Tech seniors Ji Hyun Byun of Edinburg, Isabella Gomez of Los Fresnos and Alan Le Grice of Edinburg, formed the winning team of this year’s event, claiming first place for their presentation on “Intraoral Ulcerations & Lacerations Due to Orthodontic Braces.”

As the top team, they were awarded the campus EDD trophy, individual tablet computers, and $1,500 scholarships from the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) and Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), pending enrollment in the school of engineering at one of those universities. As one of the top three teams, they also have the opportunity to take their project to TAMUK to face off against college senior engineering students as part of their annual Engineering Senior Design Conference competition.

Over the course of the school year, the students conducted thorough research on the issue of intraoral injuries caused by braces, designed different solutions to address the issue and worked with a local medical supply company to develop prototypes of their planned designs.

The team made of up Andrew Kim, Isabella Soto and Ching-Shan (Serena) Wei, all of McAllen, came in second for their project on “Secondary Rodenticide Poisoning in Dogs.” Third place went to Isabela Bumanlag of Harlingen, Alex Canepa of McAllen, and Lindsay Ozcelebi of Mission, for their “Water Transportation Tank” project. The second and third place projects will be taken to TAMUK to compete in the campus Engineering Senior Design Conference competition alongside that of the first place winners.

Lastly, Little Joe Hernandez of Mission and Jerin Joseph of Edinburg won the “People’s Choice Award” for their project entitled “Heat Blisters While Running.” This particular award was voted on by the Sci Tech student body throughout the day of the conference via an online application designed for the event.

Team presentations and projects were evaluated by a panel of judges formed by faculty and graduate students from UTPA and TAMUK, as well as community and business representatives with engineering and technical backgrounds.

The ‘EDD Presents’ Conference expanded the original model implemented at Sci Tech by opening up the experience to the whole school. Seniors, who are required to take the EDD course during their final year at the campus, spent the year addressing a real-world problem of their choice. They used what they learned in their courses at Sci Tech to go through the entire engineering process from inspiration all the way through to building and testing a working prototype.

“I was very impressed with the quality of the presentations and the level of commitment demonstrated by the seniors. The students that I had a chance to interact with were very respectful and helpful. I was fascinated by how quickly the student audience would automatically quiet down as soon as a person would step onto the stage at the gym, and at how silent the audience was during each presentation. The students at Science Academy showed a superior level of maturity and respect.” Mike Miranda, P.E., PTOE, Traffic Operations Engineer, City of McAllen, TX.

“One major change for this year’s event was the finals round held in the gym. This allowed our entire student population to see the three highest-ranked project presentations in addition to those they chose to see in the preliminary rounds. The ability to see the “best of the best” should help build the confidence of our underclassmen and, in effect, raise the bar for future projects. Next year will be even better!” Gene McGee, Sci Tech Engineering Team Leader.

Sci Tech is one of four high schools in South Texas Independent School District (STISD), a magnet school district serving students from Cameron, Hidalgo and Willacy counties. Sci Tech was recently ranked 11th in the state and 26th in the nation in The Washington Post’s High School Challenge Index. For additional information, visit www.stisd.net.