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Senior showcase goes virtual at MCVTS Edison Academy

Senior showcase goes virtual at MCVTS Edison Academy

 A timing device to help people manage their medicine, an app to keep track of what groceries you have and what you need, a soccer-ball shooter to make team practices more efficient, and a bubble-tea dispenser were among the projects presented virtually by seniors at the Middlesex County Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies. 

 With the Edison campus shut down by the pandemic, it was necessary to conduct the two days of presentations on Google Meet. Principal John Jeffries explained that the time available for the students to work on their projects also was cut short by three months due to the lockdown.

 “I am continually amazed by the innovative projects our senior students design to help improve the world,” Jeffries said. “Based on the circumstances, they did an excellent job explaining the problem they were addressing, their design process, the engineering beneath their project, a demonstration of the device or product and the changes or limitations due to COVID-19." 

 In addition to not being able to meet face to face, the senior showcase teams also faced pandemic-related problems such as delays in delivery of equipment.

 “The students were unable to build their projects for testing and demonstration as originally planned,” said Dr. Marc Weinstein, mechanical and civil engineering teacher. Instead, he explained, the students focused on the design process, how their designs changed as they gained more knowledge and faced roadblocks, and what they would change if they had more time.

 Both Weinstein and Enzo Paterno, electrical and computer engineering teacher, praised the students for persevering despite obstacles.

 The presentations June 8 and 9 were attended my more than 50 people, including MCVTS faculty and administrators, outside advisors including some college professors, alumni, and Edison Academy juniors, who will be required to work on showcase projects next school year.

 Four of the teams worked on upgrading an educational robot at the request of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority. With the help of an additional teams of advanced manufacturing students on the East Brunswick Campus, they were tasked with making MC Green – a robot that delivers lessons on sustainability to school children – more mobile, safer to operate, and more interactive.

Manas Harbola of Iselin and Varsini Dhunakaran of Edison developed interactive games aimed at a grade K-5 audience, including one that asks what needs to be changed in a room to make it more sustainable, such as fixing a leak from a kitchen faucet.

 Tick Tock the Medicinal Clock, a project of Jason Li of Sayreville and Danielle Cui of East Brunswick, would dispense medicine from multiple compartments timed to meet the prescription’s requirements.

 The Soccer Shooter was developed by Catherine Mathews of North Brunswick, Aashita Grover of South Plainfield, Pramod Mitikiri of North Brunswick and Sean Wang of Edison at the request of the school’s soccer coaches.

 And the Bubble Tea Dispenser was the project of Janice Seo of East Brunswick and Sharanya Pogaku of Piscataway.

Seniors Serena Zeng of Piscataway and Adhya Khare of Monroe presented their My Bus app, which won Rep. Frank Pallone’s Congressional App Challenge. The app would allow students, parents, school administrators and bus company personnel to know where a particular bus is located in real time.

The Edison Academy has been named a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence and has been singled out as New Jersey’s top public high school by U.S. News & World Report.