May 13, 2022
Fort Couch team advances to Future Problem Solving Internationals
A team of eighth graders from Fort Couch Middle School placed first in the Future Problem Solving State Finals – qualifying to compete at the international competition June 8-12, 2022, at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Team members include Sofia Alfredson-Themudo, Anoushka Barve, Sara Gillespie and Kaia Petrick.
At the state finals, held March 25-26, teams were given just two hours to use a six-step think tank method to brainstorm possible problems and solutions for a scenario on the topic of mining, set in the year 2045. In addition, they were required to create an action plan presentation for their solution. Students compete within three divisions: Junior (grades 4-6), Middle (grades 7-9), and Senior (grades 10-12).
“Upper St. Clair students had an outstanding showing at the Future Problem-Solving State Finals,” Connie Gibson, gifted education coordinator, said.
In addition to the first-place team from Fort Couch, a team of Upper St. Clair High School ninth graders placed second in the Middle division. Team members include Jamie Barrett, Eva Dubreil, Anna Engelman and Sydney Montgomery.
In the Senior division, the USCHS team of juniors Carter Chui, Matthew Earley and Phillip Markovitz as well as sophomore Caroline Murphy, earned second place for its action plan presentation.
To qualify to compete at the Future Problem Solving State Finals, teams had to perform well at the regional competition.
“Upper St. Clair had unprecedented success in the preliminary round of the Future Problem-Solving competition, with four teams qualifying to continue on to the state-level competition; two from the middle level division and two from the senior division,” Ms. Gibson said.
The Senior division team comprised of USCHS seniors Shivani Jajoo, Aubrey Lang, Erin Payne and Nivedha Suresh qualified to compete at the state finals but declined the opportunity. The dates of international competition conflict with Upper St. Clair’s graduation ceremonies.
According to the organization’s website, the “Future Problem Solving Program International stimulates critical and creative thinking skills, encourages students to develop a vision for the future, and prepares students for leadership roles.”