St. Theresa Students Named Regional Winners in ExploraVision Competition

(above) St. Theresa’s School 6th-grade students Kassandra Pombo and Sophia Salgueiro have been selected as one of the 24 Regional Winning projects for the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition for 2020-2021.

St. Theresa Students Named Regional Winners

Submitted by Doreen Sacco

Toshiba and the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) established the ExploraVision program in 1992. Since its inception, it has become one of the largest and most widely known science awards for kindergarten through twelfth grade. The competition is sponsored by Toshiba Corporation, the Toshiba America Group Companies, and the Toshiba America Foundation. The program is administered by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). The competition encourages students to think critically about current technology and imagine what it might be like twenty years into the future. Students are required to critique both the positives and negatives of technological advancement and state breakthroughs that are needed to make the updated technology possible. Students work in teams with their teachers and mentors to develop their ideas and prototypes. 

At St. Theresa’s School in Kenilworth, NJ science teacher, Crystal R. Kacerek, MSES, MA, implemented the Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision competition. Mrs. Kacerek has her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from Stockton University with a certification in Gerontology and Wildlife and Forestry Conservation. She has both a Masters of Science in Environmental Studies in Writing and Communication from Green Mountain College/Prescott College and a Masters of Arts in Education from Kean University. Mrs. Kacerek has been working with students in grades fifth through eighth grade to develop innovative concepts to submit to Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision competition. Interested students have been working since Fall 2020 to focus their creativity on expanding upon a current technology to advance it into the future. 

Projects are judged by six regional areas of the United States and Canada. There are approximately 50 NSTA district judges and approximately 12 Ph.D. scientists from NASA, NIH, NSF, FDA, and Toshiba. Students’ projects include descriptions of the present technology, history, future technology, breakthroughs, design process, consequences, bibliography, web pages, and eventually prototypes. In addition to the academic requirements, the projects are also judged on creativity, scientific accuracy, communication, and feasibility of vision, 

Some of the submissions to the Toshiba/NSTA Exploravision competition have been the advancement of gaming system consoles, microchips in humans, nuclear power plants, alternative energy, and hydroponic gardening. St. Theresa’s School is pleased to announce that out of thousands of students, 6th-grade students Kassandra Pombo and Sophia Salgueiro have been selected as one of the 24 Regional Winning projects for the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition for 2020-2021. There will be a virtual student award ceremony with Toshiba and NSTA representatives. They are invited to attend the Virtual Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision Awards Celebration in June. 

Kassandra and Sophia focused their technology on alternative energy. With the ongoing global warming problem and the usage of nonrenewable resources such as fossil fuels, the need and demand for creating a sustainable energy source are of vital importance. Electric cars and solar cars are costly, therefore making them unattainable for the majority of people. Algaelectricity is a sustainable bio-based coating composed of algae that converts solar energy into electricity. This concept would harness the electric current to charge batteries and power cars. 

While we are ecstatic for Kassandra and Sophia, their hard work is not complete yet. They will be working on developing functional websites to display their technology, a video presentation of their project, and creating a prototype of the proposed future technology. The students will submit their work in April for another round of review; afterward (fingers crossed), they will move on to the finals. 

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