VIDEO: Capital District students take part in Future City Competition at Hudson Valley Community College
Students from Troy’s W.K. Doyle Middle School talk with Leo Fioravanti, a structural design engineer, about their project during the Future Cities Competition Saturday at Hudson Valley Community College. (Jeff Couch/The Record)
TROY — Envisioning life 150 years into the future, middle school students from all over the capital region constructed 3-D models for the 10th Annual National Engineers Week Future City Competition held at Hudson Valley Community College Saturday.“there are many benefits for the students that participate,” said Sharon Raber, public relations chairperson for the event. “In the education curriculum, students learn out of books about mathematics, science and engineering, but this gives them a chance to experience a real world application. They also get to work in a team atmosphere to solve problems.”Student groups begin preparing for the competition as early as August, said Regional Coordinator Jennifer Smith. In addition to building the physical models, students must write an essay and make a presentation centered on a specific theme. this year, teams were asked to provide an effective health care product which would improve the quality of life for either a senior citizen or someone with a specific disease, injury or physical disability.“many start working the first week of school,” said Smith. “some even have summer camps to get acquainted with the concepts used in these types of projects.”Four eighth graders from New Lebanon Jr. High School used those concepts to create “Islandia,” a floating city in the Atlantic Ocean which uses fuel cells, solar and wind energy, along with algae farms and a desalination plant to bring basic needs of life to developing countries along the Atlantic Ocean.“our mission is to provide food and water to developing countries,” said Lindsay VanDeusen, joined by teammates Lauren Stone, Christine Biene and Stephen Mancin. the team was aided by an engineering mentor from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “it was a lot of fun,” added Stone, who one day wants to be an anesthesiologist or a biomedical engineer.another team, from St. Mary’s Institute in Amsterdam, created the world of “Sierra,” located in the Netherlands. Complete with flashing lights, moving parts and a functioning pulley gondola system, the city addresses issues related to the elderly and old age. the team of eighth graders developed a central nervous robotic system that linked the vital health statistics of the city’s residents to a central network that would alert emergency health services of any problems.Preparing for the competition is an extra-curricular activity, with students spending hours designing, researching and building.“Last night we worked for 12 hours straight to get it finished,” said Michael Capovani. he and teammate Annie Riley explained the many features of the intricately-constructed model, including a geothermal heating system and tunnels connecting schools to residential areas.W.K. Doyle Middle School seventh grader Swetha Thiagarajan said she got involved with the club because she is interested in math, science and engineering. she said her team worked for five months to create “Volakna,” a city located on an island in Alaska which addresses the needs of those with paralysis. In addition to a monorail system and an “Imobile” system that helps residents move around, the city also boasts a hotel inside a dormant volcano which uses the its natural heat for energy.A total of 22 teams representing 19 schools from Albany, Columbia, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Schenectady Counties participated in Saturday’s competition. the winning team will join the winners of 38 other regional competitions throughout the country in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 18. Winners also receive awards provided by local sponsors, which last year totaled more than $7,000. For more information, visit www.capitaldistrictfuturecity.org.Cecelia Martinez can be contacted at 270-1294 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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