For the 2015-2016 Butwin Elias Science and Technology Award we awarded $2,875 to the ten different projects that we received. Five projects received unranked participation awards and five received ascending cash prizes for fifth through first place. The Times-Leader covered the contest and their write up of it can be found here.
First Place ($1,500): One String Shovel Guitar
The first place winner for the 2015-2016 BEST award was Alyssa Lane with her one string shovel guitar. The instructable that details her project can be found here.
Second Place ($500): RC Car
Pablo Franco won second place with his RC car project. The instructable that he wrote to document his project can be found here.
Third Place ($250): NES Controller Coffee Table
Matt Yekel won third place with his instructable that documented his build of a NES Controller Coffee Table. The instructable he wrote can be found here.
Fourth Place ($200): Elliptical Pool Table
Forest Nguyen won fourth place with his instructable that documented his build of an Elliptical Pool Table. The instructable he wrote can be found here.
Fifth Place ($125): Ukulele
Phuc Nguyen won fifth place with his instructable that documented his build of wooden Ukulele from scratch. The instructable he wrote can be found here.
Participation Awards ($50):
Earning participation Awards for this years BEST award were Carson Kosloski and Amelia Hammond's Soup Can Stirling Engine, Austin Bynon's Compressed Air Fishing Rod, Cindy Peralta's 3D Hologram, Tim Snyder's Sterling Engine Car and Jake Yurko's Magnetic Lock Box.
Speech Given at the Awards Ceremony:
Adam Iseman presented the BEST award at the E. L. Meyers High School major awards assembly on June 2nd. This is the typed up version of the speech he gave:
I'm here to present the BEST award for the fourth time this year but before I do I'd like to first talk a bit about high school in general. There is this idea in our culture that high school is supposed to be the best time of your life. As I walk these halls as an alumni I remember high school quite a bit differently than that. I remember being stressed out about homework, tests, sports, having to wake up early every day and how high school was just an overall very stressful time. Maybe this is just me though. Lets actually perform an experiment to try and test out whether high school is the best time of your life. We have a group of Alumni in this auditorium that we will run this experiment on. Can I have all of the Alumni of Meyers in the room please raise your hands. Ok and now with your hands still raised I want you to picture the single best time of your life so far. This could be your single happiest or proudest memory. Like your wedding day, the day your child was born, seeing your kid take their first steps anything. So now that you have this memory in your mind I'd like you to put your hand down if this memory didn't happen in high school. As you can see we just semi-unscientifcally proved that the best times in your life are not during high school.
So if high school isn't the best time in your life what is it? Why do you guys spend so much time and effort here? For me I view high school as the start of the rest of your life. Let me say that again, High school is the start of the rest of your life. The interests that you pursue while in high school start you on the journey of the rest of your life. For me specifically high school started me on the journey of exploring science and technology. From seventh grade through twelfth grad I competed on the science olympiad team in the event robot ramble. I designed and built robots that were supposed to compete numerous different tasks outline by rules of the competition. Each year I learned more and improved the robots that I built. Each year was a step on my journey of exploring robotics. For my undergraduate senior project I built an autonomous swarm of robots that I got to present at Walt Disney World as part of the Intel Cornell Cup. Another step on the journey. The latest step on this journey of exploration was when I participated in an opportunities for new experiences project at Boeing where I designed and built a 3D printed robot that autonomously explored a potentially hazardous area. This journey is still ongoing and I'm still extremely interested in robotics. What started with a poorly designed plywood robot in seventh grade has taken me to working on robots at Boeing. What starts at Meyers doesn't end at Meyers. I brought these robots with me and I've donated them to the school and you can see the concrete progression of my journey through robotics. What started here doesn't end here.
All of you are staring your journeys at Meyers. Starting here does have some distinct disadvantages. I went to college with kids whose high schools offered 30+ AP classes. Meyers had six when I graduated. One of my coworkers high school had a 3D printer in every classroom. Meyers is currently dealing with a school board that has their head stuck so far up somewhere they think it is a good idea to cut tech education. (this got a pretty long round of applause) But even with the disadvantages that Meyers has there is one key advantage that going to Meyers has. Meyers has some of the best teachers in the world. Lets take a minute to show our gratitude to these amazing teachers by having a round of applause for them.
Mr Elias has a saying that all of his chess kids know well: "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." If you work hard and you work smart you can achieve great things on your journey through life. The alumni in this room are proof of that. Meyers has produced great lawyers, business men, doctors and even a nobel laureate. The Borlands both started at Meyers and then graduated from prestigious Boston law schools and are now very successful lawyers. My oldest brother Luke started pushing the boundaries of what he was allowed to do at Meyers. For his senior project he hacked into the schools newly installed computer network. The schools IT coordinator then tried to get him expelled but was luckily unsuccessful. He currently works as an entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and is actively pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished with small sustainable house. He hasn't yet been expelled from San Francisco but his journey of pushing boundaries is still ongoing.
So now on to the actual BEST award. We got ten projects this year and are going to be awarding five unranked participation awards and fifth through 1st place with progressively larger cash awards. These projects are all starts in the students journey of life. Some of these projects are almost finished products that I would pay good money for but it is important to keep in mind that they are just starts. I'm really excited to see what the students come up with next. We got two projects this year that explore new ways to interact with computers. It is easy to see how with hard work these students can start with these projects and progress on to working in Virtual Reality and new novel computer human interactions. We also received two projects that explored how waste heat can be converted into useful energy. It is easy to see the same type of engineering that went into these projects to be used on energy harvesters on a mars habitat that has a lot of waste heat. We also got an RC car that used the same motors that I built my science olympiad robots from. Just as my experiments in robots lead to working at Boeing it is easy to see how with hard work this RC car can easily lead to this student working on a self driving car.
(I then called up the students to get their awards and checks)
I'd like to take this time to thank everyone that donated to help support the BEST award. I don't think any of our sponsors are in the room but without them I wouldn't be able to present this award. I'd also like to take this time to announce that next year the Iseman Foundation will be offering a currently unnamed new fine arts award to get students interested and starting projects in the fine arts. It is still in the planning stages but will be in honor of the great liberal and fine arts teachers that we have at Meyers. Specifically the award will be in honor of Mrs Caffery who taught four of the five Iseman children and Mr Welles who was never afraid to show how much he cared about his students. Thank you so much for having me here and I'm looking forward to seeing what awesome projects we get next year!
Donors Who Are Totally Awesome:
The Iseman Foundation is funded by awesome people who give their hard earned money to help encourage kids to start their journeys in science and technology. The amazing donors for this years BEST award were:
- Luke Iseman
- Scott Iseman
- Mia & Terry Jungman (Iseman)
- Kim Gerlach
- Robery Gilboy
- John Ostrum
- Brad Elias
- Katy Watters