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Academy students wrap up spending their summer at MIT

NASHUA – The Academy for Science and Design Charter School (ASD), the state’s top-performing public school and largest science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)-specialty school serving students in grades 6-12, announces that after spending the summer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, high school juniors Maria Azcona-Baez and Alison Ryckman and seniors Christian Baduria and Justin Ruiz concluded their four weeks at the 2019 MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute.

Azcona-Baez, Baduria, Ruiz, and Ryckman were among 250 students selected from more than 130 schools around the nation to participate in the program.

The institute is a summer engineering program for talented rising high-school seniors. From July 8 to Aug. 4, students worked on hands-on projects, took online courses, and attended lectures presented by leading researchers from the MIT, MIT Lincoln Laboratory, and the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The institute is a rigorous, world-class STEM program for talented rising high school seniors.

Baduaria worked with a team in the Autonomous Cognitive Assistant course, a program designed to guide students in learning and applying the foundational technologies of artificial intelligence for building cognitive assistants.

“Our project was a Fridge Cop, which is a fridge that would be shared among a group of people, like college roommates or coworkers. In a nutshell, the Fridge Cop uses face and voice recognition software to determine who is accessing the fridge and adding/removing food, meaning that it will know whose food belongs to whom,” Baduria said. “A camera inside the fridge and the food recognition software would help determine which foods are being added and removed by the identified user. With these capabilities, Fridge Cop can track whenever a user removes a food that’s not theirs (i.e., one that they didn’t add) and tell the food owner about the theft the next time they access the fridge. All in all, the practicality of this technology is it decreases the incentive to steal someone’s food, which I believe is pretty cool.”

Baduria concluded with a final statement about the program: “I speak from personal experience when I say this: the MIT BWSI program as a whole was created to bring out the best in all of its students and cultivate not only their greatest passions and interests, but important life skills such as teamwork, confidence, and leadership through interactive learning and research-based group projects.”

“It’s amazing to see these students who are ready to participate and who really become engaged in these projects” said Andrew Fishberg, the Outreach Coordinator for Beaver Works. “I’m inspired by the solutions to real problems the student teams show off on the final day. These students received a transformational experience that’s life changing for many of them.”

Serving as both a public, open-enrollment middle/high school with a STEM-specialty focus, the success of the Academy for Science and Design is based on its commitment to engage a diversity of student learners at both of these levels through an exemplary structure for broadening student access to STEM-focused learning opportunities.

More information can be found on ASD’s website at www.asdnh.org, or email Marketing and Communications Coordinator Amy.Bewley@asdnh.org. For more information about the MIT Beaver Works Summer Institute, please visit https://beaverworks.ll.mit.edu.