Front row (left to right): Katelyn Jackson, Anna Kuo, Devon McAllister, Mia Gold, Katie Phillips, Justin Bender, Cole Hoffman; Back row (left to right): Lee Nagy, Sydney Young, Elliot Plotkin, Alex Farley; Not shown: Mac Concannon, Emily Eisler

Five teams of oceanography students at Springside Chestnut Hill Academy have been selected as semi-finalists in the 2012-2013 Spirit of Innovation Challenge. They are among 130 innovative teams selected from over 235 entries from around the world to qualify.

Sponsored by the Conrad Foundation, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to 21st century immersive learning, The Spirit of Innovation Challenge provides an opportunity for teams of students to create commercially viable products or services to address issues of global sustainability.

SCH oceanography students used design thinking strategies and generated ideas to improve the ocean environment. Included among their ideas were an app to measure mercury in fish, a self-sustaining fish farm, a device to prevent underwater collisions between manatees and boats, and high tech oil spill and plastic recycling facilities to clean up pollution on the surface of the ocean.

“These teams exceeded our expectations in their innovation and creativity when applying STEM principles to their product and service concepts,” said Jennifer Fotherby, Spirit of Innovation Challenge executive director. “The quality of these diverse products reaffirms our belief that young people working together can bring about significant and vital change for our global community.”

The five SCH teams are preparing detailed proposals for the second round of the competition, including a technology report, a business plan, technical drawings, and a promotional video. Each group’s proposal will be submitted online to the Conrad Foundation in January.

In March the finalists will be announced; they will be invited to the Finalist round which involves a trip to meet NASA scientists and a possible $10,000 prize.

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