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Youth team wins first in state for eCybermission

MADISON – Seventh-graders Neha Chopade, Puja Chopade and Pranav Somu earned first-place honors for the state of Alabama in the 2018 eCybermission STEM Competition.

U.S. Army Educational Outreach sponsors the annual contest that focuses on material related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The Chopade sisters attend Discovery Middle School. Somu attends Liberty Middle School. With their team “Ecstatic Statics,” the trio ranked among the top three teams from nine states in the Southeast region.

National Science Teachers Association administers eCYBERMISSION. The web-based competition targets students in grades 6-9. Students in three- or four-member teams identify a problem in their community and use scientific practices or the engineering design process to develop a solution.

The Madison team “intends to give back to our community by working on STEM-related projects and brainstorming problems faced today,” Puja said. “In Madison, people tend to be active — running, jogging or hiking. They may find themselves in a situation where electricity is unavailable to charge their cell phones.”

Their prototype uses ‘movement’ of the human body to generate electricity. The prototype is earth-friendly and promotes exercise. “A device might originate from our prototype that has a basis in the concept of Triboelectricity and Nanotechnology,” Puja said.

“The project stretched over 10 months. My team took several field trips to meet with various subject matter experts in Nanotechnology to get their viewpoint,” Neha said. “We also ran our experiments in multiples to account for any errors, human or not, and optimize the grain size and components used in our model.”

The trio worked on their prototype primarily during weekends after they completed school homework.

Beena Chopade served as eCybermission Team Advisor. Dr. Shubham Chopade was Technical Lead.

Several people shared encouragement and invaluable feedback with the team: Dr. Yu Lei and Dr.Yongbin Lin, subject matter experts from University of Alabama in Huntsville’s Engineering Department; Tom Nguyen, U.S. Army engineer; and Mayor Paul Finley.

Neha, Pranav and Puja now are waiting to learn if they will represent Alabama in national competition this summer. Officials are reviewing their project mission folder and results of online regional rounds.

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