Metea teens win STEM grant for tornado chamber

Three Metea Valley High School girls are celebrating earning a grant for creating a chamber that can be used to study the dynamics of tornadoes.

Kalpa Anjur, Kavya Anjur and Lori Kipp last week won a STEM-in-Action grant at the 12th annual eCYBERMISSION competition in Washington, D.C. The three girls will start their sophomore year at Metea Valley in the fall.

The contest is sponsored by the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command on behalf of the Army Educational Outreach Program. The online collaborative learning competition, administered by the National Science Teachers Association, cultivates student interest in science, technology, engineering and math by encouraging sixth- through ninth-graders to develop solutions to real-world challenges in their communities

The grants, up to $5,000, were awarded to four national finalist teams whose implementation plans prove that their projects provide the greatest possible impact within their communities.

The Metea team known as the Ravenclaws designed a tornado simulation chamber to identify how air and wind patterns impact the strength, speed, and duration of tornadoes. The information gathered from the chamber could help predict tornado size and strength.

The team adviser was Metea science teacher Jonathan Ogrodnik

“It’s exciting to see these young students so enthusiastic about science and engineering,” U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command Deputy Director Jyuji Hewitt said. “In order to ensure our soldiers get the best technology, you have to have scientists and engineers that work to bring that technology forward. To get those scientists and engineers for the future, we need programs like this to get that passion for STEM back into our young children. This program does that.”

The winning teams were chosen from among 20 finalist teams, which were selected from more than 4,400 teams that entered the free competition this year. Since the program’s inception in 2002, eCYBERMISSION has awarded state, regional and national competition winners with more than $8 million in U.S. Savings bonds.

“One of the most important aspects of eCYBERMISSION is its emphasis on teamwork and the collaborative process to accomplish a mission and achieve results,” said Mary Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology. “These capabilities are fundamental to an effective military, as well as many American industries, and we want to foster their development in our next generation.”

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