December 28, 2016

ACIT team wins first annual NJSBA/US Army STEAM TANK Challenge

By Michael Halloran
Chief of Advertising and Public Affairs
U.S. Army Mid-Atlantic Recruiting BN

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New Jersey school board members, superintendents and business administrators judging the first annual STEAM TANK Challenge at the New Jersey School Boards Association 2016 workshop

Congratulations to the team of students from Atlantic County Institute of Technology (ACIT), who won first place in grade 9-12 division at the inaugural New Jersey School Boards Association/US Army STEAM TANK challenge, held at NJSBA’s annual workshop and conference in Atlantic City.

Based on the popular television show Shark Tank, STEAM TANK challenged students throughout New Jersey to invent something new, modify an existing product, or identify a situation or problem that needs resolution using ideas that incorporate science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM).

The ACIT team – Michael Moore and Tommy Liang, both of Buena Vista Township, and Jacob Weber, of Mays Landing, all 17 – created a turbine that can harness the power of water to generate electricity.

“What sets our turbine apart is the design, which is around a vertical access so it can capture water from all directions,” Liang said.

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The ACIT STEAM TANK Challenge team, along with their teachers and advisors, receiving the 2016 first place award in the grade 9-12 division

Watch the video of the ACIT students presenting their project and receiving their award.

Forty-one student projects from student teams throughout New Jersey were submitted to the competition, and 17 were chosen to be presented at the NJSBA workshop.

Projects were judged in a format similar to that used on Shark Tank.  NJSBA board members, superintendents, business administrators and other conference attendees had the opportunity to be a judge by picking-up a clicker upon arrival.

“These students are innovative, bright, enthusiastic and coming up here with confidence,” said judge Lisa Ascolese, of the Association of Women Inventors and Entrepreneurs, and founder and CEO of The Inventress. “I see myself in them, but I didn’t have the same opportunities at their age.”

The event, designed by Sergeant First Class (SFC) George Johnson, was one of the highlights of the NJSBA workshop, generating great interest in Army STEAM opportunities and raising awareness of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) principles among educators.

SFC Johnson works full-time at NJSBA as a fellow, at no cost to the association.

This has given him the opportunity to interact directly with school boards and school districts throughout the state, addressing any misconceptions that some educators may have about military service and highlighting the many education and STEAM opportunities the US Army has to offer.

NJSBA plans to expand the STEAM TANK program next year, holding regional competitions. The regional winners will then compete at the workshop for larger prizes.

The Mid-Atlantic Army Recruiting Battalion is the only service providing support to the NJSBA and the only service attending their annual event.  The opportunity to hold the STEAM TANK Challenge was due to the unique relationship between these two organizations.