• March 31, 2023

    2 USC teams earn gold at STEM challenge

    Boyce TeamTeams from Boyce and Fort Couch middle schools placed first in their respective divisions at the regional STEM Design Challenge, sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific. The event, coordinated through the Allegheny Intermediate Unit, was held on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, at the Commonwealth Charter Academy in Homestead. 

    The team of Boyce Middle School fifth graders Michael Clarke, Sarah Staub, Brayden Wong, and Rebecca Zahalsky earned first place in the 4th-5th grade division and the Fort Couch team of seventh graders Felix Chen, Aaron Jiang, John Whitman and Joey Wyse finished first in the 6th-8th grade division. Both teams qualify to advance to the state-level competition set for Friday, May 12, 2023, in Harrisburg.

    The STEM Design Challenge encourages students to apply STEM skills using K’Nex products to design and build a structure that accomplishes the given goal. Teams must create a blueprint and journal that outlines their structure and the engineering design process they went through to create it. At the competition, teams build their structure from their blueprints in a two-hour time period. Once completed, they present their design solution to a team of judges. 

    The 2023 Challenge: “Major environmental issues including climate change and pollution are currently facing our world. Your team is being tasked to research environmental issues, identify one that your team would like to address, and create a solution to that issue. Build a prototype out of K’Nex that supports your solution.”

    In total, four Upper St. Clair middle school teams competed in the STEM challenge. Boyce sixth graders Claire Dietiker, Lindsey Fitzgerald, Sunny Liu and Mira Murthy finished third in the 6th-8th grade division. Fort Couch eighth graders Josh Beitler, Matt Beitler and Anthony Dipiazza earned an honorable mention in the 6th-8th grade division.

    Learn more about the STEM Design Challenge