BY KELLY MARIE MANCUSO
Grover Cleveland High School‘s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Academy students have soared with achievements in recent weeks.
Members of the program, competing in two separate teams, earned awards at a recent state competition held in Albany. The academy’s Science, Technology and Engineering Program (STEP) at the Ridgewood school is a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College and operates with the guidance of college instructor Sean Galvin.
Under the guidance of science teacher and team coach Krishna Mahabir, an all-female team comprised of students Samichya Sapkota, Ayushma Panthi, Sumitra GC and Tasnia Rahman won first place in the state for their project on renewable energy sources.
The winning group created a three-part panel presentation exploring three different types of renewable energy sources: wind turbine, hydro turbine and solar panels. They constructed miniature models of homes to illustrate how each type of renewable energy source could power a house while reducing the carbon footprint.
“We were thinking about how the environment has been damaged by all of the non-renewable energy, so we came up with the idea of using renewable energy,” Sapkota said. “We asked, ‘How are we able to protect the environment?'”
A second team comprised of male students Sankalpa Pahari, Alexander Altanian, Fantino Fernandez and Alexander Pena Jr. also competed in the state competition in Albany. They chose to create a nano robot with special 3-D modeling software in an effort to ease and improve cancer treatment.
“We chose it because we didn’t like the way cancer was being treated,” Pena said. “In the nano robot treatment, it would be able to go into the cell and eradicate it from there without all of the side effects.”
Grover Cleveland’s Bridge Building team also garnered awards and praise at the most recent Citywide Science Olympiad competition. According to Bridge Building coach and science instructor Lloyd Kiefer, the students competed against 57 teams of young engineers from all across the city to test their bridge design concepts.
Alexander Altanian garnered a first-place victory for creating a truss bridge that did not break under a certain amount of weight and pressure. Altanian credits learning from past bridge building errors with helping him on the road to victory. Fellow teammate Arafath Hussain earned a fourth-place victory for his truss bridge model.
The Grover Cleveland Science Research Club also earned a first-place victory for the school at the Regional Bridge Building Competition held in March at John Bowne High School in Flushing.
Freshman Tasnia Rahman won the title of 2015 Champion for creating a bridge able to hold a maximum of 96 pounds. Rahman immigrated to the U.S. from Bangladesh just over two years ago. She went on to represent Grover Cleveland at the International Bridge Building Competition in April in Portland, Oregon, and placed among over 56 competitors.
STEM Academy students also took top honors at the annual Envirothon Competition at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, winning first place in Queens and fourth place citywide. As the first-place team in the borough, the students will go on to represent Grover Cleveland at the New York State Envirothon in Geneva, New York, on May 27.