Nashua South Innovations Club advances in STEM competition

NASHUA – For a second consecutive year, members of the Innovations Club at Nashua High School South have earned a spot as one of five state finalists in New Hampshire for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition.

This nationwide competition challenges public school teachers and students in grades 6-12 to show how Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) can be applied to improve their local communities.

Biology and Forensic Science teacher Alexandra Simon serves as club adviser. She said her class submitted a proposal to address school shootings by creating a mobile app that would allow students to notify school administration or security if they needed to report suspicious activity. Simon said the students saw this as an extension of the school’s “See Something; Say Something” program.

“The kids wanted to take on the challenge of school safety. It’s something that we talk about a lot at the school district level and national level as well,” Simon said.

By Dec. 10, the club will have to submit an activity plan detailing further how they will improve their community with STEM.

“It will make them think about what resources they need for assistance and to help them think about the process more,” Simon said. “If we make it to round three, that’s when the kids would go into the process of creating the prototype.”

Simon added, “We are hoping to make it past round two. I think their idea hits home with a lot of people. It’s something important. The kids care deeply about their school, their teachers and their peers.”

The club advanced to the second round of the competition last year as well.

The first step of the competition was to have teachers draw up a lesson plan on how their students would solve complicated issues impacting their communities by using STEM learning. All 250 teachers selected as state finalists, Simon included, received one Samsung tablet for their classrooms and have the opportunity to advance in the competition for additional prizes. After Dec. 10, one group chosen from each state will be selected to submit a video of their project in action. Students in 40 of those schools will receive a $20,000 Samsung technology package, which includes a Samsung video kit to produce their video. The other 10 will move on as national finalists. Those 10 national finalists will be selected to attend a Pitch Event and present their project to a panel of judges.

For achieving national finalist status, seven schools will receive a $50,000 Samsung technology package, and the other three will progress to the national winner stage. Each of the three national winners will receive $100,000 in classroom Samsung technology and supplies.

The students involved in the club include: President Adyant Shankar, Vice President Jeffrey Lam, Asma Akbar, Suhaas Katikaneni, Srinath Rangan, Brandon Yan, Sahil Mahendrakar, Owen Long, Raaid Kabir, Rubin Zou, Timothy Yang, Sibi Ravi, Jai Kulkarni, Praneet Nadella, Promit Sinha, Ishan Keezhakada, Shounak Mukherjee, Sid Dutta, Leandra Bryant, Srisahith Korandla, Rikhav Shah, Joshua Gao, Siddharth Shah, Ram Prajapati, Shubh Dubey, Silas Fier, Bharat Choudhury, Rhett Medling, Akhil Kammila, Diya Nair and Keshav Rangan.

The five state finalists schools for New Hampshire are Gorham Middle High School, Merrimack Valley High School, Pembroke Academy, Windham High School and Nashua High School South.

The final three national winners will be selected in April.

Grace Pecci can be reached at 594-1243, or at gpecci@nashuatelegraph.com.

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