Governor's School students claim state and national awards in Real World Design Contest
Posted on 05/24/2019
Team Athena from the Governor's School holding their first-place trophy.

Three student teams from the Governor’s School @ Innovation Park competed in this year’s Real World Design Challenge (RWDC) competition, taking on the assignment to develop an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) and bringing home impressive results—first, second, and third place in the state competition. The awards did not end at the state level. In fact, Team Athena, comprised of seniors Ria Garg, Aditi Kishore, Benjamin Simons, Ishan Lamba, Benjamin Kwabi-Addo, and Zachary Nowak and led by coach, Dr. Elizabeth Romano, went on to claim third place in the national competition.

The RWDC challenges students in grades 9–12 to develop a computational prototype using engineering software and analysis to solve a real-world problem. Participants were tasked with developing a UAS to survey urban environments to curb pollution by promoting optimal vegetation growth in select plots. Athena’s inventors performed task analysis, strategy and design development, and budget tracking with projected profits for their engineered drone and hypothetical business. They engineered a drone with accessory cameras and software to determine unhealthy growth trends that could then be used to mitigate steps for improvement. Their design is a cost-effective solution to improve agricultural yield for corn harvest, won first place in Virginia, and third place nationally. 

Two other teams from the Governor’s School, also under the direction of Dr. Elizabeth Romano, placed in the State Challenge. Second place went to The Phoenix Four, comprised of juniors Jessica Truong, Frances Truong, Irene Torosyan, and Srinitya Allam. Third place was captured by Eternal Atake, comprised of juniors Gavin Estrella, Anthony Crupi, Abtin Ghaffari, Ramtin Ghaffari, Alen Jomon, Shiva Manandhar, and Rohaan Altaf.