Fishers High School students showed their determination in finishing energy competition even after the school went to a virtual format in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) competition was funded by a grant from Duke Energy and a donation from consulting firm POWER Engineers in an effort to get high school students thinking about careers in energy—and not just in traditional engineering jobs.
“There were originally three teams of seven people each (21 total), but a bunch of people quit so at the end one team had five or six people, another team had only one, and my team had three,” senior Reagan Frank said. “The closure of school made the project significantly more difficult. It was harder to communicate with my teammates as well as the project mentors. There weren’t as many benchmarks for the project after school closed, so my teammates and I had to be more intrinsically motivated. Many of my teammates were unable to continue with the project as a result of the school closure.”
FHS math teacher Kasandra Dickman, coach of the winning Team Ducks, said some of the graduating seniors had to leave the team early because they were tied up with Advanced Placement tests once the competition was delayed
Frank was one of three remaining members or the winning team. Her remaining teammates were senior Jonied Khan and 2020 graduate Emma Chase.
The teams worked together to find the best and most creative solutions for a mock scenario in which a transmission line needed to be built across the high school’s campus.
Team Ducks presented a route, which ran along the outer edge of the campus, minimizing road crossings and avoiding wetlands and floodplains. The line featured transmission structures that depicted a stylized tiger running along the route, from tail to stripes to ears.
“I think my team did an amazing job of setting up for success even if students ended up dropping out,” Dickman said. “Their use of technology was really helpful. They had all their information in one place. Even if someone dropped out, you still had all the materials from those students from the beginning. Reagan compiled the presentation from all the information people did previously as well as she did a lot of her own research.”
Dickman said the planning started in October 2019 with the competition beginning in February. Each team had a engineer as a mentor.
“It helped our engineer was able to meet with the team in person just before the school closed,” Dickman said.