Placing 1st and 2nd place in the state in the U.S. Army-sponsored eCYBERMISSION Science Competition are (from left) Ainsley Rexford, Hannah Knox, Anne Harrower, Maya Gerlach (2nd place team); Maya Hardy, Gabrielle Morewood, and Lenny Lorenz (1st place team).

Placing 1st and 2nd place in the state in the U.S. Army-sponsored eCYBERMISSION Science Competition are (from left) Ainsley Rexford, Hannah Knox, Anne Harrower, Maya Gerlach (2nd place team); Maya Hardy, Gabrielle Morewood, and Lenny Lorenz (1st place team).

The U.S. Army has announced that two 7th grade teams from Springside Chestnut Hill Academy as 1st and 2nd place state winners in the 14th annual eCYBERMISSION competition – one of several science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) initiatives offered by the Army Educational Outreach Program (AEOP).

Sponsored by the Army and administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), eCYBERMISSION, is a web-based STEM competition free to students. Designed to inspire student interest in STEM, eCYBERMISSION challenges students in grades six through nine to develop solutions to real-world problems in their local communities.

Students compete on state, regional, and national levels for up to $9,000 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, valued at maturity.

The SCH first place team, self-named SCH KST, was made up of 7th grade students Maya Hardy, Lenny Lorenz and Gabrielle Morewood. Working together with team advisor, SCH Middle School for Girls science teacher Erik Dreisbach, team SCH KST researched the problem of e-coli and other pathogens being present on kitchen sink surfaces. They then designed and tested a way to create a sink that uses a disinfecting flushing method to reduce the amount of kitchen sink bacteria.

The second place team, named MRSAfighters, included 7th grade students Maya Gerlach, Ainsley Rexford, Anne Harrower and Hannah Knox. Working with team advisor Ellen Koenig, also an SCH Middle School for Girls science teacher, team MRSAfighters investigated the presence of MRSA (an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria) on basketballs and other sports equipment. The team then devised and tested affordable ways to reduce the amount of bacteria on sports equipment.

Student teams submit their official project through the eCYBERMISSION website to be evaluated and scored by a panel of volunteer virtual judges. States winning 1st place teams receive $1,000 per student in U.S. EE Savings Bonds. Second-place teams receive $500 per student in U.S. EE Savings Bonds.

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