December 27, 2013: Following our tradition of ending the year celebrating children and young people who distinguished themselves over the past twelve months by their contributions to our communities, today we feature:
Kristyn Dexter, Katrina Fitzpatrick, and Kiana Engle, at left, presenters; and Madison Whisenand, Rebecca Colby, Caroline Copin, Kenna Vandemark, Olivia Valasques, Kaitlyn Mutchler, and Brianna Boston: Girl Scout Troop 2225, Modesto, who in February 2013 won the "Most Innovative Design of Infrastructure Systems" awrd at the National Engineers Week Future City competition in Virginia. The competition has been held for 20 years; in 2013, 35,000 middle school students in 2, 220 teams from around the U.S. entered. Working in teams of at least three students, a teacher, and an engineer mentor, together plan cities of the future by first researching and then writing an essay explaining their solution of an engineering problem. This year’s topic was rethinking runoff, where students were asked to design clean solutions to manage storm-water pollution.
The girls from Modesto, under the guidance of teacher Lori Dexter and engineering mentor John Paoluccio, designed and built a scale model of a city where they successfully recycled water, wastewater, and waste into reusable products that serve their community.
“What we saw from [the Troop 2225] was the development of a whole different kind of transportation system where they did not use cars anymore but something called orbs, which I believe was on a Maglev system that would allow them to go between their various houses and village and so forth,” said [American Society of Civil Engineers] President Gregory E. DiLoreto, who judged the award. “They clearly embraced the idea of an entire water cycle for their community where water was not wasted but every drop was used. In terms of trash, these young ladies turned their solid waste into heat, into another recycled product that could be reused as a valuable resource by the community.”
“We were very excited to win this award,” says Fitzpatrick. “...We learned a lot about city planning, but in the end, what we really learned is how to work as a team...Originally we got involved in Future City for fun. but after this [experience] many girls [became] interested in engineering, inventing, and designing different things.”
The finals for th 2014 competition ("Tomorrow's Transit," in which teams were challenged to build a system "to move people around your city") will be in Washington, D.C. in late February 2014; for information on entering the 2015 competition, read here.