Written by Mary Cotter ’22
Right before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, I was a member of the 9-10 Allendale Columbia TEAM+S team that included Aidan Wun ‘22, Harmony Palmer ‘23, Chris Smoker ’23, and me, Mary Cotter ’22. We competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, earning the title of NYS Champions! Our win would have earned us a position at the National competition, but this was cancelled due to COVID-19.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was improving zoos. This encouraged us to delve into research about solutions to common complaints about zoos, the costs of such solutions, and the environmental impact.
Before the competition, our team wrote an essay responding to the prompt: “Your team is tasked with modifying an existing zoo within your state to develop innovations that would maximize economic, environmental, and/or societal benefits.” We wrote about modifying the Utica Zoo by planting native plant species, installing more energy-efficient appliances, and transforming the zoo into a sanctuary.
Zoo animals, including those at the Utica Zoo, have been observed as “anxious and bored” creating a “depressing” experience for visitors, according to Google Reviews. And it’s easy to see the reason for bored animals and bored children. Utica Zoo attendance has declined in recent years, and the Zoo has suffered financially. The Utica Zoo depends on government bailouts, but our essay outlined a few changes that could transform the Zoo into a healthier environment for the animals and a fun and educational experience for visitors.
On the day of the competition, we worked together on a 90-minute, 80-question multiple choice test. The topics of the questions were centered around the theme and required us to divide the questions based on individual strengths in math, biology, technology, and creative problem-solving. Then we completed the engineering challenge in which we created the lightest crane to lift the most weight to the greatest height. We were given limited time and resources to create our crane.
This competition was very intellectually stimulating and forced us to work collaboratively to find the best solutions to complicated problems. It was a fun way to explore the field of engineering.
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Posted in: AC in the News, Authentic Learning, Highlights, Invent, Upper School
by Elizabeth Cotter ’20
On March 9th, I was a member of a team of six Allendale Columbia students, with Riley Leibeck ’20, Mary Cotter ’22, Sasha Furdey ’19, Nate Pifer ’19, and Cassidy Draper ’19, who competed in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAM+S) competition, claiming victory over McQuaid.
The TEAM+S competition encourages students to explore the field of engineering through problem solving and collaboration with their teammates. The theme for the competition this year was The Engineering Brain. We had to learn about cognitive neuroscience, artificial neural networks, the intersection of artificial intelligence and biology, and more. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Allendale Columbia won the Terra School Award at Terra Science and Education’s Rochester Finger Lakes Regional Science and Engineering Fair (TRFSEF) hosted by Rochester Museum and Science Center (RMSC). Thirteen AC students also received recognitions at the event, including the right to advance to higher-level competitions.
Sixteen AC Middle and Upper School students submitted 11 projects, the most of any participating school, which resulted in the award that comes with a check for $2,000 for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) initiatives. The students packed up their AC Innovation Day Science Fair projects and took the displays the next morning to RMSC. After setting up their projects and passing a Display and Safety check (science can be “messy”, after all), the students went to a lunch keynote address by Maria G. Korsnick, President/CEO of the Nuclear Energy Institute.
“Science Fair is inspiring and invigorating, because all these students are excited about science, every student, from fifth graders who are doing behavior projects with their cats and a dog to senior research projects that have to do with cancer diagnosis and research and machine learning, really high-end stuff,” said Maya Crosby, Director of the AC Invent Center for STEM and Innovation, and Director-in-Training for TRFSEF. “But everybody who is here is excited about their project and can’t wait to talk about it with the judges who are coming around. That curiosity all packaged in one room is really inspiring; that’s the great part.” (more…)
Posted in: Authentic Learning, Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
A delegation of educators from Belarus, seeking ways to boost innovation and economic development and cultivate a competitive workforce, visited Allendale Columbia School because of its reputation as the best school to visit for its “bottom-up” approach to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), which formally begins in Kindergarten. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, First Grade, Fourth Grade, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Kindergarten, Lower School, Middle School, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Second Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, Third Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Women are increasingly studying technology and moving into technology careers. Local organization Digital Rochester and their Women in Technology Special Interest Group (SIG) recognized several local women at a breakfast on April 26th, including Allendale Columbia’s Director of Lower School Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Sue Sorrentino as a nominee for their 20th annual Technology Woman of the Year award.
At the event, five young women from AC also received a lot of attention. Fifth graders Victoria Timpani, Ella Herberger, and Maya Sams and talked about their all-girl VEX-IQ Robotics team Girls With Gears, while Liza ’20 and Mary ’22 Cotter showcased robots used in FIRST LEGO League and FTC Robotics competitions and discussed their technology learning and experiences. Their tables were crowded with attendees from large and small businesses in the Rochester area interested in their technological savviness.
Sue Sorrentino left a career in corporate engineering to address the urgency of building STEM fluency in early elementary age children to build and sustain interest in STEM through middle and high school. She and her team at Vista Teach Instructional Services, a company she founded and serves as Executive Director, have developed comprehensive programs in engineering education and optics for grades K-8, both in school and in after-school and summer programs, primarily at AC but also available to other schools. She has trained hundreds of robotics coaches throughout the Greater Rochester Area.
Sorrentino is in great company, as other nominees for the Technology Woman of the Year and Emerging Technology Professional Woman of the Year included women from such organizations as Rochester Regional Health, ITX, Harris Corporation, Datto, Constellation Brands, CloudCheckr, Luminate, KLDiscovery, University of Rochester, RIT, MCC, and Girl Discover It.
Digital Rochester provides events and community services to strengthen and grow the region’s technology community through education and relationship development.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eighth Grade, Eleventh Grade, Fifth Grade, Fourth Grade, Highlights, Invent, Lower School, LS Birches, Middle School, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Seventh Grade, Sixth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches
by Danielle Fuller, Aditi Seshadri, and Anjana Seshadri
A total of 17 students from Allendale competed in the annual TEAM+S (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science) competition on March 3rd. The 9/10 team and the senior 11/12 team both won first place at this regional competition. For the senior 11/12 team, this win was particularly significant because they toppled 3-year champion McQuaid. (more…)
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School
by Rui “Tony” Zhou
I participated in the Terra Rochester-Finger Lakes Regional Science & Engineering Fair last Sunday and the New York State Science and Engineering Fair at New York Hall of Science last Monday. It was an extremely rewarding experience not just because I won many awards.
My project involves creating a Deep Convolutional Neural Network that detects and analyzes lung nodules in CT scans, that is, using the lasted Artificial Intelligence techniques for Computer-Aided Diagnosis. I started this project last summer, at a lab in Tsinghua University, the top-ranked university in China. Then I continued with this project though AC’s Science Writing and Research Class. Currently, I’m still adjusting and optimizing the neural network structure in an effort to create a system that can better assist doctors and radiologists. The fundamental motivation for me in doing this research lies in its hope to fight against regionalized healthcare because this is a system that is applicable to most CT scanners throughout the world. We hope to bring more accurate diagnosis, and, thus, reduce the misdiagnosis rates while increase the earliness of lung cancer diagnosis.
Despite the excitement of doing two science fairs in 48 hours, it was an eye-opening experience to meet and talk with other young researchers, and I was kindled by their passions and how they are striving to improve the world we live in though their own efforts.
Rui ZhouRui, or Tony, as he is known around school, is a senior from Jiangsu, China, who has enjoyed the numerous STEM opportunities at AC. While he's waiting for his college decisions, he's sure he will be majoring in computer science next year.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School
Learning occurred on multiple levels at TEDxAllendaleColumbiaSchool on February 3rd. You may already be familiar with TED talks, and TEDx events are local versions of those talks. What makes this TEDx event different from most is that it was planned and produced from start to finish by AC students.
Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Partnerships, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School