ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. – Winners were announced June 19 during closing ceremonies of the 18th annual eCYBERMISSION, a U.S. Army sponsored, web-based science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, competition. eCYBERMISSION is an official Army Educational Outreach Program.
The annual event, which was held virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic, challenges students in grades six through nine across America to advance their education in STEM. More than 20,000 students (approximately 3,000 teams) from the U.S. and Department of Defense Educational Activity schools throughout the world registered to compete in the national competition.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, on behalf of the Army, hosted the eCYBERMISSION National Judging and Educational Event, which is the culminating event of the eCYBERMISSION competition. CCDC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. John George, provided remarks during the awards ceremony, and Deputy to the Commanding General, John Willison, provided remarks during the career workshop.
“The world of science, technology, engineering and math offers endless opportunities to make life better and the world safer for all of us. I am thrilled to see so many future researchers, engineers, scientists, and mathematicians participating in the eCYBERMISSION competition,” George said.
The Army-wide event included representatives from across CCDC, including: Chemical Biological Center; Army Research Laboratory; Data Analysis Center; Ground Vehicle Systems Center; and Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center. Other organizations that participated include: U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command; U.S. Army Engineering, Research, and Development Command; and National Aeronautical and Space Administration.
The students on each team chose “mission challenges” in their local communities, which they submitted online to compete virtually at the state and regional levels.
“My favorite part of the event is seeing how the students’ minds work. One of the things that makes eCYBERMISSION so special as a science competition is how students are challenged to find a real-world problem that impacts their day-to-day lives and then find a creative solution. It gives me hope that our future is in the hands of the incredible talent of these students,” said Erica Bertoli, C5ISR Center community outreach program lead. Bertoli also served as emcee during the national showcase event.
The sixth grade winning team is Carbon Keepers, Lubbock Texas. The team discovered that carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored as organic matter in soil. They also measured carbon levels in response to drought, salinity, acidity, wildfire and fertilizer.
“My biggest challenge was building the relationships with students virtually. Normally, we have five days in person to work with our team so you become a trusted ally. The virtual environment was different; we had segmented schedules so it was initially difficult to build those relationships. That being said, the organizers did a great job scheduling dedicated meet and greet sessions to help facilitate bonding with the students,” said Apurva (AP) Shah, an electronics engineer with C5ISR’s Intelligence and Information Warfare Directorate and one of the sixth grade student mentors.
The seventh grade winning team is Code Red, Lubbock, Texas. The team’s goal was to find ways to lower the risk of firefighters getting a positive cancer diagnosis. Research showed there are dangerous elements on firefighters’ gear. After conducting many tests, the team concluded washing gear multiple times instead of only once greatly reduces the level of contaminants.
The eighth grade winning team is Aquatech, Chantilly, Virginia. Aquatech’s goal was to reduce water usage by designing a device that alerts a user to leave the shower after a certain amount of water is used. The team developed a device that is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, hydro-electricity powered with cutting edge technology.
The ninth grade winning team is Psychologigals, Lisle, Illinois. The team explored the correlation between vocal acoustic features and depression and found that phonic patterns can be indicative of a disorder such as depression. Their solution used both a python-based machine learning program and a statistical mode to analyze data from voice samples and classify the voice as depressed or not depressed.
The People’s Choice award winning team is WSMS Gladiators 1, Memphis, Tennessee. The National Science Teaching Association sponsors this award, which is an opportunity for students’ friends and families to vote for their favorite team. The winning team received four iPad minis, donated by the NTSA.
Ten STEM-in-Action teams received a grant, which can be used to develop their eCYBERMISSION projects into mature, scalable solutions in their communities. Six of the teams were also national finalists. These teams include: JANS; Marvelous Mosquito Marauders; Lost and Found; Aquatech; Psychologigals; and Coloopate.
AEOP awarded the C5ISR Center, ARL and ATEC for their volunteer contributions during the 2019-2020 eCYBERMISSION program. These three organizations provided 145 volunteers who served as virtual judges, ambassadors and cyberGuides, scoring more than 900 mission folders. They also provided national judges and workshop presentations during the national event.
“Technology and innovation are the future, and that’s what the newest Army Command – Army Futures Command – is all about. eCYBERMISSION helps our students develop the skills that will make them future leaders and innovators. Hopefully, some of them will consider harnessing their skills through a career with the U.S. Army, which provides opportunities to protect America and help solve the problems we face as a nation,” said C5ISR Center Director Patrick O’Neill.
The national finalists represented 14 states, with four teams from Virginia, two from Texas, two from New Mexico and two from Illinois. Other states represented were: Michigan, Tennessee, Nevada, Ohio, North Carolina, Oregon, Georgia, Utah, Alabama and Arizona.
For more information regarding eCYBERMISSION, visit: https://www.ecybermission.com/About.
Visit the AEOP website at https://www.usaeop.com/ to learn about other Army programs that promote STEM literacy and awareness.
Social media links for eCYBERMISSION: