Global Solutions STEM Challenge: Virtual Science Fair
The Global Solutions STEM Challenge pairs high school students from different U.S. states, forming bi-state teams that take on real world STEM challenges in their community through virtual collaboration. The program focuses on including BIPoC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) as well as women and girls across both BIPoC and non-BIPoC communities who are underrepresented in the STEM workforce. Students from participating schools were presented with opportunities to virtually engage with diverse adult role models who have overcome systemic barriers to excel in STEM careers.
Fall 2021 Cohort
During the Fall 2021, 3 bi-state teams, 6 teachers, and 44 students from the District of Columbia, Maryland, South Carolina, and Illinois competed in the Global Solutions STEM Challenge with the goal of creating an innovative and sustainable STEM prototype that addresses the following question: How can we create greater sustainability through affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities, and climate action?
The teams investigated the impact of energy problems doing community empathy interviews. They collaborated nationally in ideating a solution and developing their innovative STEM prototypes. Through this human-centered design process and virtual collaboration, the students both developed their innovation skills and increased their global competences and technical understanding of STEM.
The three competing teams pitched their prototypes at the Virtual Science Fair.
Richland Two Institute of Innovation (Columbia, SC)
Prototype: Stwh, a sustainable water heater with thermal sensors to help housing-insecure families in Northeast Columbia, South Carolina, access safe and warm water for washing clothes and cleaning.
Runner Up: International Future Engineers
Patterson High School (Baltimore, MD) and DC International School (Washington, DC)
Prototype: Magnetic Levitation Transportation (Mag-Lev), a transportation system that addresses traffic congestion, pollution, and energy issues.
Runner Up: Windy & Green
Eleanor Roosevelt High School (Greenbelt, MD)
Edward Tilden Career Community Academy High School (Chicago, IL)
Prototype: Solar powered air quality sensor that measures air quality in their local communities, with the goal of alerting communities of dangerous or worsening conditions, spurring action of preserving the health of people, wildlife, and the environment.
IREX implements the Global Solutions STEM Challenge, which is funded by Sauce Labs and through generous support from individual contributors.
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