WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2022 – Sixty-five middle school students from around the country converged at the nation’s capital where winners were announced during the 20th annual eCYBERMISSION National Judging and Educational Event. eCYBERMISSION is a U.S. Army sponsored, science, technology, engineering and mathematics competition.
The annual event challenges students in grades six through nine across America to advance their education in STEM. More than 8,400 students from the U.S. and Department of Defense Educational Activity schools throughout the world registered to compete in the national competition.
Representatives from the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command, or DEVCOM, a major subordinate command of Army Futures Command, participated in the week-long event, including a meet and greet with Maj. Gen. Miles Brown, DEVCOM commanding general. DEVCOM supports programs, including eCYBERMISSION, as part of its STEM outreach. Cultivating an enduring, high-caliber workforce to provide tomorrow’s Soldiers with the capabilities they need to protect our national interests across the globe starts with fostering student interest in STEM, from elementary school through higher education.
During the national awards ceremony, Maj. Gen. Brown congratulated the students on their determination and hard work, while also challenging the students to stay in STEM fields to find meaningful career opportunities.
“Lots of careers can be exciting, many careers can be rewarding—financially and personally. But a smaller number of careers give you the chance to do something meaningful,” Brown said. “To launch a first of its kind product, secure a patent, or produce something that changes our way of life for the better is meaningful. Supporting our mutual defense and doing something that brings a Soldier home alive is meaningful in a way that few other things are.”
Twenty-one National Finalist and STEM-in-Action Grant winning teams attended the event in D.C., which was hosted by eCYBERMISSION and Army Educational Outreach Program. AEOP is an Army-wide STEM outreach initiative, which operates through a Cooperative Agreement. DEVCOM executes the AEOP COA on behalf of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Research & Technology and the Army S&T community.
The students participated in STEM-related activities including a Department of Defense Career Workshop Day, which began with remarks from Jeff Thomas, DEVCOM Science and Technology Integration acting director. Other events included tours through D.C. and a national showcase event highlighting student projects.
Representatives from DEVCOM Headquarters participated in the week-long event, as well as representatives from DEVCOM: Army Research Laboratory; Armaments Center; Aviation & Missile Center; Data Analysis Center; Ground Vehicle Systems Center; Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center; and Soldier Center. Other organizations that participated include: U.S Army Public Health Center; U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command; U.S. Military Academy West Point: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; National Security Agency; U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command; and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Engineer Research and Development Center.
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. During NJ&EE, students gave four-minute oral presentations to the National Judges followed by a question and answer session. National Judges consisted of U.S. Army scientists and engineers who work at Army laboratories and centers across the country.
Dr. Elizabeth Mulkerrin, president, National Science Teaching Association, which is the organization that administers eCYBERMISSION on behalf of the U.S. Army, experienced the competition for the first time this year and was surprised by what she gained from her involvement.
“As I was flying in to DC, I knew that I was going to see some incredible science and engineering projects,” Mulkerrin said. “But I was not prepared to see the passion within each one of you. I was not prepared to see the innovation, the creativity, and the commitment to solve a problem within your community. To me, as a scientist and a conservationist, that brought a lot of hope and joy. And it gave me all kinds of ideas to bring back to my community.”
The National first place winning teams for each grade level won $6,000 per student, bringing their total competition prize to $10,000 in U.S. series E.E. savings bonds at maturity.
The sixth grade team winning team is Oh, Deer! from St. Richard Catholic School in Jackson, Mississippi. The team created a device, the Steer Deer Clear, to prevent deer-vehicle accidents by producing variable light and sound signals that deter deer from approaching the road. Oh, Deer! team members include Benjamin Manhein, Neel Boteler, Maley Thornhill and Lily Frances Garner and led by Team Advisor Ashley Klein.
The seventh grade winning team is Plastic Patrol from Southcrest Christian School in Lubbock, Texas. The team studied using marine and freshwater algae as bioaccumulators of microplastics and discovered four species that were successful in doing so. The team is comprised of students Jett Hurstand Annerson Dooley and led by Team Advisor Laura Stary.
The eighth grade winning team is OMg from Granger Middle School in Aurora, Illinois. The team studied the impact of different soil additives on increasing the magnesium content in food crops and determined a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution. The team is comprised of students NidhiSagaram, Samil Sharma, and Viraj Vyas and led by Team Advisor Aruna Rao.
The ninth grade winning team is Busy Bee Tech, High Tech High School in Secaucus, New Jersey. The team studied and determined the necessary components of a smart beehive system to optimize colony health. Busy Bee Tech is comprised of students Ambika Rao and Romayssae Saidi and led by Team Advisor Shelly Witham.
The People’s Choice award winning team is The River Revivers from North Carolina. NTSA sponsors this award, which is an opportunity for students’ friends and families to vote for their favorite team. Each student on the winning team received an iPad mini, which was donated by the NTSA.
Team Vision of Utah received the Army Values award, which recognizes the team exemplifying the Army Values of loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage throughout NJ&EE.
Five STEM-in-Action teams received a grant, which can be used to develop their eCYBERMISSION projects into mature, scalable solutions in their communities. Four of the teams were also national finalists. The teams include: Cloudy with a chance of Robotics (Eagle, Idaho); Myco-Risers (Herndon, Virginia); River Revivers (Charlotte, North Carolina); StopFire Brigade (Andover, Massachusetts); and The Resourceful Rookies (Manchester, Missouri).
The national finalists represented 17 states, with three teams from Texas and two from Virginia. Other states represented were: Arizona, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois,
For more information regarding eCYBERMISSION, visit https://www.ecybermission.com.
Visit the AEOP website at https://www.usaeop.com/ to learn about other Army programs that promote STEM literacy and awareness.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command — DEVCOM — is home to the Army’s largest pool of civilian scientists, engineers, analysts and technicians who are the bedrock for discovering and developing the capabilities Soldiers need to deter, and when necessary, defeat current and future adversaries.
DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of Army Futures Command, and together the Team of Teams provides the scientific and engineering expertise necessary to better integrate modernization priorities and give the Army, as part of the Joint Force, the ability to act faster and more effectively than the adversary.
Supporting events like eCYBERMISSION fosters student interest in STEM and helps shape the next generation of STEM professionals