A Race to the Finish Line: Middle and High School Teams From Across the Nation Set To Compete Racing Challenge at Rensselaer

Troy, N.Y. — Nearly 400 middle and high school students from across the nation will be competing in the 10th annual National STEM League (NSL) finals competition April 29-30. The Student Racing Challenge is the flagship series in the National STEM League, a program of Ten80 Education. Through it, students own a motorsports business. The ultimate goal is to engineer performance: personal performance, team performance, and, of course, race performance. Teams with the fastest, most stable, and efficient car with a sound fuel strategy will win races. This year, the event, sponsored by the Dean of Students Office at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, will be held in the Alumni Sports and Recreation Center (Armory).

During the two-day event, more than 30 middle and high school teams will come to compete for the Grand Championship. Students will put their innovation skills to the test in Student Racing and Student Rover Challenge competitions. The finals are the culmination of yearlong programs in which students were challenged to think innovatively about how engineering performance and emerging technologies can improve personal, academic, and professional pursuits. The program for April 29 will begin at 1 p.m., and the program for April 30 will begin at 7:30 a.m.

“We are excited to host this year’s 10th annual National STEM League finals event,” said Cynthia Smith ’96, assistant dean of students and director of pipeline initiatives and partnerships, who worked to coordinate hosting the event on the Rensselaer campus. “As America’s first technological research university, we continue to offer students an interactive, interdisciplinary education — and a chance to be among the forces shaping the 21st century. Ten80 is a team of education and STEM professionals who saw the need for a more integrated, interactive way of teaching science and mathematics back in the 1990s. By sponsoring this year’s event, we are creating an opportunity to excite the next generation of students to pursue a career in STEM.”

“We are extremely excited to hold the National STEM League Finals here in upstate New York,” said Terri Stripling, CEO and president of Ten80 Education. “STEM competencies and skills are key to helping students prepare to lead and thrive in our global economy. In preparing for events such as this one, students are encouraged to experiment with concepts learned in the classroom. Through working as a team and applying those concepts in different ways, seemingly disconnected ‘dots’ of knowledge connect to one another, ultimately creating a mosaic that is true discovery and deep understanding about how things work and how to work together.”

While at Rensselaer, students will have an opportunity to tour the campus, engage in a skills workshop, and attend an opening banquet ceremony planned for April 29. The following day is a fast-paced series of competitions. During the competitions, students are judged for their work in numerous categories including: project management, business plan presentations, race engineering, aerodynamic design, alternative energy, creative engineering, and graphic design. Following the competition, teams will be recognized in an awards ceremony to celebrate their achievements.

Students who are involved in competitive Racing and Rover Challenges develop skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), according to Ten80 organizers. They also practice communicating and collaborating as a team while using creativity and critical thinking to problem solve. Since its inception, the NSL engages the imagination to pursue the STEM disciplines and the innovative spirit to turn ideas into realities.

The upcoming STEM competition exemplifies The New Polytechnic, an emerging paradigm for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer. The New Polytechnic emphasizes and supports collaboration across disciplines, sectors, and regions to address the great global challenges of our day, using the most advanced tools and technologies, many of which are developed at Rensselaer.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, founded in 1824, is America’s first technological research university. For nearly 200 years, Rensselaer has been defining the scientific and technological advances of our world. Rensselaer faculty and alumni represent 85 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 17 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 25 members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 8 members of the National Academy of Medicine, 8 members of the National Academy of Inventors, and 5 members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, as well as a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With 7,000 students and nearly 100,000 living alumni, Rensselaer is addressing the global challenges facing the 21st century—to change lives, to advance society, and to change the world. To learn more, go to www.rpi.edu.