Students, Sorrentino Shine at Digital Rochester’s Women in Technology Breakfast

Posted on April 27th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia 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.

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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

AC CodeX Club Teams Compete at Lockheed-Martin Code Quest

Posted on April 27th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

by Elizabeth “Liza” Cotter ’20

On Saturday April 21st, six Allendale Columbia Upper School CodeX club members traveled to sunny Owego, NY, to compete in the 6th Annual Lockheed Martin Code Quest competition.  Code Quest is a 2.5 hour computer programming event where teams of up to three students are challenged to solve a collection of 15-20 questions.

Here’s a question from the 2017 competition:

The home keys on a keyboard are imperative to quick typing if you are a touch typist, but what if you are off just one key? Imagine you accidentally placed your left index finger at D instead of F and your right index finger at H instead of J. 

Translate the following messages as if you were retyping it with the wrong home key finger placement.

Example:
Hickory dickory dock    Guxjiet suxjiet sixjm

(If you find problems like this interesting, ask Mrs. Crosby or me for more information about Code Quest and other programming competitions!)

The day started with the competition, which included some difficult problems that required teamwork, persistence, and attention to detail. The most significant item I learned that day was the importance of asking a well-thought-out question when clarification is needed.

We also went on a great tour of the Lockheed Martin plant, including an up-close look at US Navy Seahawk helicopters. While inside the hangar, we learned about the stages of production that each helicopter goes through. The best part was standing in the soundproof chamber of the hangar. We all got to ask questions about the helicopters and about Lockheed Martin and have a closer look at a possible future career path!

AC’s “hACkers” Aditi Seshadri ’18, Anjana Seshadri ’18, and Liza Cotter ’20 competed in the “Advanced” Division. AC’s “Aces” Luke Dioguardi ’20, Matt Duver ’20, and Cameron Perry ’20 competed in the “Novice” category where they won 3rd place and an excellent trophy to add to the AC STEM trophy case!  Even though all six of us are members of the CodeX club, we were all relatively new to programming competitions. This made the competition all the more challenging, and a little scary, but everyone agreed that it was a fun event and that we should return next year.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Elizabeth Cotter

Liza is a sophomore at Allendale Columbia School. She enjoys being on the Cross Country, Swimming, and Track teams at AC, as well as participating on the Robotics team, Math team, and TEAMS (engineering) team. She spends her (minimal) free time cooking, petting her cats, and watching Emma Chamberlain videos with her sister Mary.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School, US Birches

Parent/Student Conversation Night Reflections

Posted on April 20th, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

Last week, in conjunction with our Upper School Parents of Allendale Columbia Kids (PACK) parents, we hosted our first ever parent/student conversation night at AC.  About fifteen US students and about twenty parents from grades 8-12 attended. The simple yet powerful objective of the night was to create conversation between teenagers and parents about important topics. Topics like:

  • Academic Pressure
  • Technology, Social Media, Gaming and Parent Monitoring or Regulation
  • Sex, Dating, Relationships
  • Drugs and Alcohol

Parents usually only talk about these things with their own children, and when they do, it is often in an argument or reactively addressing something that has gone wrong. Teenagers come away from those conversations feeling lectured, and parents often come away feeling a mix of confusion and frustration.

When I asked our US students for volunteers for this event, I had more than 30 students reach out to me wanting to participate. They don’t get anything for helping me, and they give up valuable free time in an already busy schedule of school, work, drama, an/or sports. This amount of student interest speaks for itself. Teenagers want to be heard, and they want to be better understood. Here are some examples of the prompts that were used, and if you would like to see the full list, please click here:

  • How can a parent motivate a young person that isn’t taking advantage of all of the opportunities that they have?
  • We don’t know much about you because you don’t share much. How can we know you better and have a better and closer relationship with you without compromising your independence?
  • What if my beliefs, values, sexuality, or religion are not the same as what my parents want it to be?  What do I do? How can I be honest with them without hurting them?

By using two rounds of conversation with clear guidelines and structure, we were able to tackle some of these rich and important prompts in mixed groups of students and parents. As usual, my student leaders who were responsible for keeping the conversation on point were phenomenal, and parents and students both reported learning a lot. Some of the feedback we heard:

Parent: “I was surprised at the depth the students had. They really do think about this stuff deeply, and I was also reminded of how much it hurts when parents are critical or judgmental towards young people.”

Student: “Parents know a lot more than I thought.”   

After the event,  two juniors were very interested in continuing this tradition and holding more regular opportunities for students and parents to tackle vital topics, and I look forward to helping them lay the groundwork to make that happen.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Ryan Burke

Ryan began his 16-year career in the field of education as a teacher with areas of expertise in literacy and special education. He earned a Master of Science Degree in Applied Behavior Science with a focus on family therapy, and he has done some work as a therapist. Ryan's primary focus in the field of education has been and always will be working in schools with students and their families. In addition to his role at Allendale Columbia as the Head of Upper School, Ryan is the co-founder of Leadership+Design (http://www.leadershipanddesign.org/), a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the work of school leaders through professional development experiences.
 

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Posted in: The Birches, US Birches

AC Teams Take 1st Place in TEAM+S Competition

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

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…)

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Uncategorized, Upper School

AC Senior’s Medical Neural Network Research Wins Regional and State Science Fair Awards

Posted on March 23rd, 2018 by Allendale Columbia 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.

 

Kristin Cocquyt

Rui Zhou

Rui, 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.
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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Global Engagement, Highlights, Invent, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, Twelfth Grade, Upper School

Allendale Columbia School Hosts Sixth TEDx Event

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by Allendale Columbia School

The TEDx stage is being prepared for Saturday’s event.

Allendale Columbia students present their sixth-annual TEDx event on Saturday, February 3rd, organized by youth for youth. The independently organized event, licensed by TED, is built around the theme of CTRL + ALT + DEL, leading to the question of “How and what do you reset, or reboot?”

This year’s event has nine speakers scheduled to take the stage, including:  (more…)

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Posted in: Centers for Impact, Eleventh Grade, Entrepreneurship, Highlights, Invent, LS Birches, MS Birches, Ninth Grade, Tenth Grade, The Birches, Twelfth Grade, Upper School, US Birches