Dean MS students place in engineering competition

December 9, 2016

Dean Middle School students celebrate their first-place awards at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference on Dec. 3. Pictured, front row from left, are: Elijah Daigle, Katherine Rios, Maleny Rojas, Jacquelyn Pham and Melanie Acosta; and (back row) Kendrick Dugar, Abastion Caballero, George Kamau, Jacob DeGeorge, Jackie Sanchez.
Dean Middle School students celebrate their first-place awards at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference on Dec. 3. Pictured, front row from left, are: Elijah Daigle, Katherine Rios, Maleny Rojas, Jacquelyn Pham and Melanie Acosta; and (back row) Kendrick Dugar, Abastion Caballero, George Kamau, Jacob DeGeorge, Jackie Sanchez.

Dec. 9, 2016—In their first year competing at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference, the students of Dean Middle School rose to the challenge by winning multiple first-place designations in individual and group projects among hundreds of students competing from districts across Texas on Dec. 3.

Dean Middle School student Maleny Rojas creates the best filter design to clean dirty water during the Texas A&M Spark Conference, facilitated by the TAMU student organization, Engineers Without Borders.
Dean Middle School student Maleny Rojas creates the best filter design to clean dirty water during the Texas A&M Spark Conference, facilitated by the TAMU student organization, Engineers Without Borders.

The Spark Conference is an engineering design competition with a strict focus on inspiring K-12 students to explore the field of engineering, increase student awareness and provide exposure to Texas A&M University’s culture and tradition.

The conference was held in the TAMU Memorial Student Center and hosted several impromptu design competitions on-site for each age group, with competitions for elementary, middle and high school students. In the middle school category, the competitions included:

  • BristleBots (a robotics competition using a toothbrush, motors and batteries to build the fastest robo-bug);
  • ReservWars (an oil industry competition that challenged competitors to design the best reservoir for oil production, achieve the best flow rate for a virtual oil company and how to manage and separate the oil and fresh water to protect the environment after a spill);
  • Balloon Car Competition (a competition using Newton’s third law to design and build a race car powered by balloons);
  • Clean Water Competition (a competition to create the best design to clean dirty water); and
  • Filtered Blood Challenge (a competition to design a filter that could help perform dialysis to remove toxins from blood).

Dean student Vanessa Castillo uses Newton’s third law to design and build a race car powered by balloons during a Spark Conference event facilitated by the TAMU student organizations, Society of Women Engineers.
Dean student Vanessa Castillo uses Newton’s third law to design and build a race car powered by balloons during a Spark Conference event facilitated by the TAMU student organizations, Society of Women Engineers.

Each competition was divided into rounds and rotations. Dean students won first place in four out of nine rotations, bringing home 10 total first-place designations in both individual and team categories.

The students who were awarded first place in their events are as followed:

  • BristleBots Rotation 1 – Jacob DeGeorge, Abastion Caballero, Kendrick Dugar and Elijah Daigle;
  • BristleBots Rotation 2 – Jacquelyn Pham, Katherine Rios and George Kamau;
  • Balloon Car Race Rotation 3 – Maleny Rojas and Jackie Sanchez; and
  • Reserve War Rotation 4 – Melanie Acosta.

Other students who attended the conference from Dean included:

  • Dana Santana, Jaylin Valdez, Vanessa Castillo and Francisco Hernandez.

 

Teachers and staff members who attended included:

  • Chad Gogan, sixth-grade science; Loretha Daymon, seventh-grade science; Stephanie Castro, eighth-grade science; Ahmad Branch, men’s athletic coordinator; Derrick Crowder, assistant principal; and Clint Vick, director of instruction.

Dean students enjoy their experience at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference on Dec. 3.
Dean students enjoy their experience at the third annual Texas A&M Spark Conference on Dec. 3.  

“I’m extremely proud of our students and grateful to have had the opportunity to accompany them to this event,” said Derrick Crowder, Dean assistant principal. “The day was filled with fun activities, team building experiences, rigor and relevancy. No matter how challenging the competitions appeared to be, they remained tenacious and persevered! These young men and women can do, will do and will be the new leaders of tomorrow’s world. This conference not only provided awareness of engineering, but also unimpeded visions of endless opportunities for students who may have never had exposure beyond their neighborhoods. I foresee them doing extraordinary things in the future as we continue to attend events that will cultivate students to their fullest potential mentally, academically and socially.”

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