A team of students at West Hempstead High School have been selected as semi-finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2020-2021 Education Contest. Solve for Tomorrow addresses the countrywide academic challenge of increasing students’ pursuit of science, technology, engineering and math education. Students are tasked with showing how STEM can be applied to help improve their communities.
Ninth grade students Steven Poirot and Alicia Maria and 10th grade students Tenoch Jaramillio, Glenda Garcia, Victoria Guerrier and Glorida Guerrier, with the guidance of science research teacher Sal Trupia, brainstormed a few ideas for how to meet the challenge. They eventually decided on a very topical and ecofriendly idea: biodegradable masks. After ample research and planning, they submitted the concept in December 2020.
“We had a few other ideas, but when we came up with the biodegradable masks, we thought it was definitely the best one because of what’s going on in the world,” Tenoch said.
As semifinalists, they are required to create a short video exhibiting their process, from the initial idea to creating a prototype. The team has constructed a dark room in one of the school’s science labs, which they will use to test out the effectiveness of their prototypes using highlighter fluid and a black light. If they are selected, they will be among 10 other national finalists. Samsung will announce three national winners in May.
Through Solve for Tomorrow, Samsung is hoping to foster interest in STEM among students and illustrate the practical impact these subjects can have. Samsung will give away more than $2,000,000 in technology, classroom supplies, and other contest prizes to schools this year through Solve for Tomorrow.
“STEM is such an important part of the curriculum and culture here at West Hempstead,” Principal James DeTommaso said. “We are very proud of their ingenuity and innovation.”