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Iolani School from Honolulu, Hawaii Wins U.S. Department of Energy Real World Design Challenge

March 21, 2009 - 12:00am

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that Iolani School from Honolulu, Hawaii is the winner of the DOE's 2009 Real World Design Challenge.  Fifty-four high school students representing 10 states from across the Nation competed in the National Challenge.  The finals were held at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum.

"I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the students who competed in the Real World Design Challenge," U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu said. "Today's competition shows that U.S. students, when challenged to excel, are able to perform at the highest levels in science, math and engineering.  The student team from Iolani School worked together to solve a real-life engineering challenge, with impressive results.  Our goal for the Real World Design Challenge is that it will continue to encourage students to study and pursue careers in engineering."

The Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) is a new annual competition that provides high school students with the opportunity to apply the lessons of the classroom to important energy and environment technical problems currently encountered in the engineering field.  The purpose of the RWDC is to ensure the future of our Nation's economic competitiveness by inspiring today's students to become tomorrow's engineers.  The theme for the 2009 Challenge was "Aviation and Fuel Consumption."

Members of the winning team include Amy Ko, Adeline Li, Anya Liao, Celia Ou, Jessica Lynn Saylors, Julia Zhang, and coach Carey Inouye.  The final competition was judged by seven industry and academic experts:  Dave Brant, Cessna Aircraft Company; Mary Cleave, National Aeronautics and Space Administration; Dr. John D. Evans, Lockheed Martin Corporation; Joyce Malyn-Smith, Ed.D., Education Development Center; Robert E. Mansfield, Jr., USAF, Retired; Dr. Donald Senich, National Science Foundation; and John D. Stuart, Parametric Technology Corporation.

The first place team won a contribution of $3,000 to their school's science/technology department, a Real World Design Challenge Trophy and a model of the Cessna Citation X aircraft, provided by the Cessna Aircraft Company.  Each team member also received an iPod Shuffle, courtesy of Parametric Technology Corporation.

Placing second in the Real World Design Challenge was the Newburyport High School from Newburyport, Massachusetts.  Team members include Thayer Adsit, Philip Arets, Belle Douglass, Irene Jacqz, Molly Picillo, Travis Souther, Tom Svirsky, and coach Sarah Leadbeater.  The team won a contribution of $2,000 to their school's science/technology department, a Real World Design Challenge Trophy and a model of the Cessna CJ4 aircraft, provided by the Cessna Aircraft Company.

The third place team was Cumberland Valley High School from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.  Team members include Cody Ambrose, Kyle Gochenaur, Vladimir Grinevich, Jeffrey Pope, and coach Michael Flowers.  This team won a contribution of $1,000 to their school's science/technology department, a Real World Design Challenge Trophy and a model of the Cessna Mustang aircraft, provided by the Cessna Aircraft Company.

The other seven teams who qualified for the National Challenge received $500 for their school's science/technology department.

"The quality of the projects is an indication to me that these students could go to work today at a major engineering firm and make immediate contributions," said John Stuart, one of the judges.  "I was surprised that high school students were capable of working at this level of engineering expertise, but it does give me confidence that our schools can produce U.S. students who will solve some of our major energy and environmental challenges over the coming decades."

The RWDC first took place at the state level with the Governor's Challenge.  Student teams were asked to redesign an existing aircraft to maximize its fuel efficiency while meeting specific performance capabilities.  Students used professional engineering software, donated at no cost by Parametric Technology Corporation, to develop their solutions.  Each participating state selected its top team to compete at the RWDC National Challenge, held March 20 - 22, 2009 in Washington, DC.  The U.S. Department of Energy provided the 10 winning state teams with expense-paid trips to the national competition.

The National Challenge added several components to the original aviation design challenge.  Teams were asked to develop a marketing presentation explaining how and why they arrived at their proposed solution.  Presentations were made before an expert panel representing professionals from industry, academia and the federal government.  Winners were chosen based on the teams' design solutions, presentations and project journals.

The Real World Design Challenge is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Science, in partnership with Parametric Technology Corporation, Cessna Aircraft Company, the Federal Aviation Administration, and the States of Connecticut, Hawaii, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

Teams may be interviewed by calling the DOE media contacts.

More information, including the winning presentation by Iolani School, can be found on the Real World Design Challenge website.

Media contact(s):

Leslie Catherwood, (202) 586-6549
Jeff Sherwood, (202) 586-5806

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