2019 was another successful year for the STEAM Tank Challenge, sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association (NJSBA) and the U.S. Army.

More than 550 student teams entered the fourth annual STEAM Tank Challenge, which culminated in final presentations by 90 student teams at NJSBA’s Workshop 2019 in Atlantic City.

The application deadline for the upcoming 2020 STEAM Tank Challenge has been extended to Jan. 24, 2020. The applications are available here.

The 2019 winning teams—nine in all—were introduced during a ceremony at the annual NJEA Convention, with education leaders from across the state honoring the students for their creativity and achievement.

“The 2019 STEAM Tank Challenge engaged approximately 2,000 students, parents and teachers in a valuable education experience,” said Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod, NJSBA executive director. “By working as a team, conducting research and solving problems as they arise, students learn how to create, innovate and meet challenges.”

The continued growth of the STEAM Tank Challenge has been phenomenal.

In the first year of the contest, in 2016, there were 32 submissions with 17 teams selected to present their ideas and inventions at NJSBA’s Workshop conference in Atlantic City. This year, more than 550 teams applied, and 90 teams made it to the finals.

Dozens of judges, including New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet and Assistant Commissioner Cary Booker volunteered their time to score the student presentations. The PSEG Foundation donated prize money that will go to the winning teams in each grade level. Dale Rosselet, vice president for education for New Jersey Audubon, provided invaluable support.

Teams were asked to identify a real world problem or situation that needs resolution, or modify an existing product to make it better, or invent something that does not exist yet.

Photos of the student winners appear below:

Elementary School Division, First PlaceElementary School Division, First Place

Casey, Madison, and Reese invented an expandable dress shoe for children, called “Stretchers.” They worked with the shoe company, Skechers, to create their prototype.

Winning first place for their project “Stretchers,” from left to right, are Casey Reinknecht, Madison Vigliotti, and Reese Ertel of the Aldrich Elementary School in Howell, Monmouth County.


Elementary School Division, Third PlaceElementary School Division, Second Place

The invention — “The Writer Lighter,” a pen with a light, could help a soldier without access to electricity or a person whose home lost power.

Placing second for their project “Writer Lighter,” Payton Fleming (blue shirt) and Madison Burgos of the Raritan Valley Elementary School in Hazlet, Monmouth County, discuss their project with Ray Pinney of the NJSBA. Not pictured are “Writer Lighter” team members Jeannette Therien, Caden Craig-Wedmore, and Ella Herman.


Elementary Division, Third PlaceElementary School Division, Third Place

The team invented “Smart Collar 3000” to help bring home lost pets. They are being congratulated for their work  by New Jersey Education Commissioner Lamont Repollet.

Taking third place, from Memorial Elementary School in Howell, are (left to right) Ashley Hansen, Nicholas Djoulia and Aiden Velez.   

Middle School Division, Third Place

Middle School Division, First Place

The winning project, called “Cell Cycle” was a mobile game innovation that provides an incentive to recycle.

Left to right, Kira Zimmer, Cassidy Brennan, Samantha Ngo and Caitlyn Zito of Howell Middle School South describe their project, “Cell Cycle.”  

Middle School Division, Second PlaceMiddle School Division, Second Place  

The team created a prototype for an x-ray machine to conduct locker checks for possible active threat situations. Their project was called “Locker Safety.”

Second-place winners Alicia Bradley, Rebecca Mazzola, and Alyson Geyer, of Pitman Middle School in Gloucester County. 

Middle School Division, First PlaceMiddle School Division, Third Place

The Howell Middle School South team pose with “Smarty T,” a trash can which uses sensory technology to improve recycling.

Third-place winners (left to right) Kayley Hassett, Allison Zurey, Skyler Starr, Emma Diroff and Jami Van Orden, of Howell Middle School South in Monmouth County.

High School Division, First PlaceHigh School Division, First Place

The Henry Hudson Regional High School team captured first place for their project called “Puppyable.” They made edible dog toys to prevent dogs from getting ill and needing surgery after swallowing indigestible products.

Left to right, Samantha Akers, Zoe Brodbeck and Rebecca Betekap, of the Henry Hudson Regional High School in Monmouth County.


High School Division, Second PlaceHigh School Division, Second Place

Manasquan High School seniors, RaLee Wall and Jane Hamilton won second place for their “EcoCast Chilling System.”

The “EcoCast Chilling System” is an extension of the team’s earlier second-place invention, EcoCast.  EcoCast was a biodegradable, 3Dprinted, multilayered cast for compound fractures. However, one aspect of post-surgical care that EcoCast did not address was the change in swelling of an injured limb post-surgery.  Current methods of stabilizing broken limbs, post-surgery, restrict the application of ice or cold compresses to the site. The team’s solution to this problem extended the design of the 3D-printed EcoCast to include an integrated fluid chilling system via a unique manifold control system. This allows for compensation in limb swelling, application of cold compresses where they are needed most, and decreased patient pain, all of which will help people return to daily activities sooner.

Pictured here are  RaLee Wall and Jane Hamilton with Amy Edwards, (left) Manasquan High School Academy of Engineering Director, and John Henry (right), NJSBA iSTEAM and sustainability specialist. (Missing from picture: Claire Kozic, Manasquan High School Academy of Health Careers Director.)


High School Division, Third PlaceHigh School Division, Third Place

Third place was claimed by five senior students in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology (ECET) program.  Poor video quality of street cameras makes it more difficult for law enforcement in criminal investigations to process the recorded video when analyzing a crime. While law enforcement personnel are provided with the latest in video-analyzing software, extracted data is often inadmissible in court due to inconsistencies in camera frame rates. Frame rate is imperative in gauging the time it takes for a vehicle to travel a certain distance between frames in a recorded video. Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies was approached by a mobile forensics detective from the Middlesex County Prosecutor Office, detective Brandon Epstein, to implement a solution. The students designedthe product with the help of their instructor. This innovation has been named the Frame Rate Authenticating Tool, (FRAT). Detective Epstein successfully field-tested the FRAT innovation in three official cases. One of the cases resulted in a trial.

Pictured, from left to right, are Varsini Dhinakaran, Manas Harbola, Thomas  Weatherbee, Mehraaj Tawa and Aditya Vidyadharan with instructor/engineer Enzo Paterno.

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