Westmoreland duo wins STEM competition
at Griffiss Institute designing best flight path


STEM WINNERS — Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-24, Barneveld, looks over the project by Christopher Stockbridge and Jacob Sears, both of Westmoreland High School, at the Griffiss Institute Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Education Coalition’s fourth annual Challenge Competition. They took first place for their ideas on how to design a flight path for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft that detects and locates a moving ground vehicle. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

Ten high schools from throughout the area participated in the Science Technology Engineering Mathematics Education Coalition’s fourth annual Challenge Competition hosted by the Air Force Research Laboratory at the Griffiss Institute over spring break.

The winning teams of the 2012 competition not only received award certificates, but also a summer internship by partnering companies/organizations: ITT Exelis, CACI and the Air Force Research Laboratory Directorate. Participating teachers received a stipend for mentoring their students.

The challenge this year was to design a fight path for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft that detects and locates a moving ground vehicle. Today, the U.S. Air Force uses remotely piloted aircraft for this purpose.

"What we requested our students to do this year, using their sense of the problem and some mathematical analysis, was to select the best flight path that one of these vehicles might take to ultimately find what might be an enemy target," said Helen M. Rico, STEM coordinator. "The problem has further application for other agencies such as a police department chasing a stolen vehicle or missing person, a geophysicist looking for resources or possibly a homeland security expert who might be looking for items of interest."

The winners were: Westmoreland High School — Jacob Sears and Christopher Stockbridge, first place; Whitesboro High School — Kyle Cox and Stephanie Williams, second place; New Hartford High School — Xinyuan Chen and Sohaib Shaikh, third place; and Ilion High School — Daniel Hughes and Xavier Schafer, fourth place.

Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-24, Barneveld, and Assemblyman Anthony J. Brindisi, D-116, Utica, attended the finale of the event Friday and awarded certificates to fifth and sixth grade students from Staley Upper Elementary School’s DimensionU math video game from their March Math Madness competition. Also recognized were two Cyber Patriot teams, one from the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps at Rome Free Academy and the other form Frankfurt-Schuyler in Herkimer County. Cyber Patriot is a national high school cyber defense competition which motivates students toward careers in cyber defense and other STEM disciplines, while instilling national cyber security awareness.

The event was co-sponsored by local area companies and organizations: AFCEA, BAE, the Workforce Investment Board, CUBRC, AIS, ALION, CACI, EVERIS, Quanterion Solutions, Mohawk Valley Community College, Herkimer County Community College, SUNY-IT in Marcy, Mohawk Valley EDGE, PJ Green, ITT Exelis, Capraro Technologies Inc, Advanced Tool Inc, Black Owl Consulting, SERco, AmeriCU credit union, Delta Lake Inn, Capraro Technologies, Ruth and Gene Blackburn, Agliex LLC, Creative Chef Catering, Lake Delta Inn and the Savoy.