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Local High School Teams Awarded Scholarships at 2022 AFRL Challenge Competition

2022 AFRL Challenge CompetitionROME, NY — The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s (AFRL/RI) STEM Outreach Program, powered by Griffiss Institute (GI) and Innovare Advancement Center, is proud to announce the four local high school teams that won the 2022 AFRL Challenge Competition that took place April 11-15,2022, during the week of Spring Break.

While all six teams were recognized for their hard work and dedication throughout the week, four teams stood out and were awarded 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place titles.

The winners of the 2022 AFRL Challenge Competition are:

First Place Team: Central Valley Academy; students Eamon Miller, Seth Brownrigg and advisor Kelly Long. (Photo courtesy of Griffiss Institute)

1st Place: Central Valley Academy; Eamon Miller, Seth Brownrigg, and advisor Kelly Long. Advisor Wes Laurion not pictured.

 

Second Place Team: Rome Free Academy; students Kenneth Davis, Colyn Seeley and advisor Albert Bangs. (Photo courtesy of Griffiss Institute)

2nd Place: Rome Free Academy; Kenneth Davis, Colyn Seeley, and advisor Albert Bangs.

 

Third Place Team: Westmoreland High School; students Sean Hyde, Joshua Suber and advisor Nicholas Darrah. (Photo courtesy of Griffiss Institute)

3rd Place: Westmoreland High School, Sean Hyde, Joshua Suber, and advisor Nicholas Darrah.

 

Fourth Place Team: Oneida High School; students Jonathan Litwak, Kaleb Lanz and advisor Pete Gillander. (Photo courtesy of Griffiss Institute)

4th Place: Oneida High School; Jonathan Litwak, Kaleb Lanz, and advisor Pete Gillander.

Once again, the students competed for college scholarships. The first-place team each received a$3,000 scholarship, the second-place team members each received a $2,000 scholarship, the third-place team received a $1,000 scholarship each, and the fourth-place team each received a $500 scholarship.

Honorable Mentions went to:

Madison Oneida BOCES
Students: Dylan Snow
Advisor: Michael Briggs

Thomas R. Proctor High School
Students: Jonathan Howard and Hsa Moo Paw
Advisor: Jessica Dubois

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”.

“What an incredible week of learning and growth for all the students who showed up each day, ready to take on this challenge! It was wonderful to have them here, in-person, at the Innovare Advancement Center. We are so happy to be able to support these students in their quest to further their knowledge in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and we look forward to following their careers and future achievements,” said Kelly Poynter, Griffiss Institute STEM Lead and Community Events Coordinator.

The 2022 challenge problem was developed by the Information Systems Division of ARFL/RI, concentrating on Artificial Intelligence (AI). The challenge this year focused on a common technological need and application of AI in the military – image classification. An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), or drone, was set to be deployed overseas to an area of the world currently experiencing a humanitarian crisis. With human life taking priority, the challenge was to make the UAV capable of identifying human faces from an area heavily populated with cats and horses.

The teams received the challenge problem upon arrival Monday morning and had the next three days to solve it. AFRL/RI engineers and scientists were on hand to answer questions regarding the challenge problem throughout the week. On Friday, judging took place in the morning, followed by a luncheon and awards ceremony where Congresswoman Elise Stefanik provided the keynote address and local leaders and dignitaries including Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo; Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, Acting Chief Scientist at AFRL/RI, Dr. Sarah Muccio, and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney, were on hand to support, congratulate, and recognize these technology leaders of tomorrow.

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.

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