Da Vinci Students Invited to Compete against Alabama STEM Students

Da Vinci Students Invited to Compete against Alabama STEM Students

For the second year, junior and senior students from the Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts have  been invited to join the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s InSPIRESS  COMPETITION. Da Vinci School is the only school outside of the State of Alabama  that has been invited to participate.

The Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment  of Emerging STEM Students (InSPIRESS) is an outreach project that provides the  opportunity for high school students to design and develop a scientific payload  to be accommodated on a spacecraft which will be designed by undergraduate engineering  students from University of Alabama, Huntsville. The high school students  collaborate with the undergraduate engineering students to understand the  engineering requirements, the design process, and the role the customer plays  in the design. InSPIRESS teams compete for selection by the college teams.

As its name implies, the objectives of this NASA partnership  is to create more and better engineers for our workforce. The approach includes  the introduction of a spectrum of engineering disciplines, real world  challenge, systems thinking, teamwork and strong communication skills. As a  Distinguished T-STEM Academy in Texas, all Da Vinci students take four years of  engineering. They follow an innovative curriculum developed by the charter  schools’ leadership in partnership with Professor Shamsnoz Virani from Penn  State.  It was this unique program that  interested the University of Alabama Project Leaders, Dr. Michael P.J. Benfield  and Dr. Matthew W. Turner, to include the El Paso students into the competition  for the second straight year.

Last year Da Vinci students represented four teams of  juniors and seniors at the Huntsville competition and took second place in one  of the categories.

According to Superintendent Iris B. Burnham, “When our students  compete, they measure up. Our excellent engineering teachers, lead by Mr.  Alexandro Medina, provide this wonderful incentive that offers our students experience  in teamwork and project management while challenging them to apply the  engineering skills from our Innovative Curriculum for Engineering in High  School (ICE-HS) to real problem solving opportunities.”