12th Annual AFRL Challenge Competition Goes Virtual for 2021
ROME, NY — The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate (AFRL/RI), in partnership with the Griffiss Institute (GI) and Innovare Advancement Center, is proud to virtually host the 12th Annual AFRL Challenge Competition, as one of their joint STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) initiatives.
The 2021 AFRL Challenge Competition will be held virtually via Zoom this year and begins Monday, April 5, and will end on Friday, April 9, 2021.
The Challenge Competition is an annual competitive STEM initiative for local high school students. It is held during a week when students are on a school break and its intent is to provide a more realistic view into the types of high-tech problems the nation is facing today, and how engineers and researchers go about dissecting and solving these problems. The best explanation to describe the competition is “mental marathon”.
The teams will receive the challenge problem upon arrival Monday morning, and have the next three days to solve it. AFRL/RI engineers and scientists will be on hand to answer questions regarding the challenge problem throughout the week. On Friday, virtual judging will take place in the morning, followed by a virtual awards ceremony to support, congratulate, and recognize the technology leaders of tomorrow.
For many of the participants, being able to spend a week bouncing ideas off local engineers will be an incredible benefit and opportunity.
The AFRL Challenge Competition gives many of the participants a new perspective on the field of engineering and they get to learn more about the work that takes place at both, the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, the Griffiss Institute and the Innovare Advancement Center.
This year, the students are competing for college scholarships. Both first place students will receive a $3,000 scholarship, both second place students will receive a $2,000 scholarship, and both third place students will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Each remaining student will receive a $500 scholarship.
“This challenge combines elements of game theory, robotics, and reinforcement learning. We are hopeful that the students get the best out of this exciting challenge despite the fact that it is being held virtually this year. We plan on having the competition in person again next year,” says Jeff DeMatteis, AFRL/RI STEM Outreach Coordinator.
The seven area high schools participating in the 2021 Challenge are:
Holland Patent High School
Students: Glen Gaige and James Gillett
Teacher: Richard Zacek
Oneida High School
Students: Trajen Masner and Webster Potter
Teacher: Pete Gillander
Oriskany High School
Students: Eric Noga and Jason Reid
Teacher: Teresa Mann
Rome Free Academy
Students: Dominick Cangialosi and Stone Mercurio
Teacher: Albert Bangs
Thomas R. Proctor High School
Students: Louis Robinson and Jonathan Rush
Teacher: Samantha Dewan
Westmoreland High School
Students: Sean Firsching and Brandon Massett
Teacher: Nick Darrah
Whitesboro High School
Students: Alexandria Celia and Leah Tracy
Teacher: Stephen Costanza