2020-2021 News Archive

Congratulations to the NCSSM Zebracorns on their Finalist Status in the FIRST Robotics Global Innovation Challenge!

Congratulations to the NCSSM Zebracorns Robotics Team for being selected as one of the 20 global finalists for the FIRST's Global Innovation Challenge for their AI-powered running shoe insole ! The Zebracorns - FRC Team 900 mission is to inspire and empower students across North Carolina to be exceptional innovators and leaders.

Their insoles use anomaly detection to analyze patterns in foot pressure data to improve form and prevent injuries in runners and seniors. We are so proud of their accomplishment.

Vote for the Zebracorns before June 30: https://zebracorn.link/VoteTheZebracorns

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

Congratulations to the NCSSM Zebracorns on their Finalist Status in the FIRST Robotics Game Design Competition!

The NCSSM Zebracorns robotics team is in the running to have a challenge of their own design, called Farming Frenzy, as part of future FIRST competitions. The team was just named one of 20 global finalists in FIRST’s Game Design Challenge. Winners will be announced on June 26.

Read this story about their game design, and vote for the Zebracorns (Team 900: Farming Frenzy) to win the Community Choice award!

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

Congratulations to our 2020-2021 Competition Award Winners!

A big round of applause for our ECS competition award winners during the 2020-2021 school year! We are proud of your tenacity and dedication!

FIRST Robotics Competition

This year, NCSSM students competed several FIRST Robotics competitions and received the following awards:

FIRST at Home Automation Award Winners, State Winners: Aditya Bhatia, Afzaa Rahman, Akshat Kumar, Alin Gupta, Gabe Hart, Harper deAndrade, Jonah Ravi, Luke Pollard, Mark Muchane, Sahil Bhatia, Sherry Liu, Theo Reeves, Trey Widemann, Yashas Ambati

Game Design Challenge, Designers Awards, State Winners: Afzaa Rahman, Akshat Kumar, Camryn Byrum, Connor Mitchell, Delali Dodor, Dominic Lemen, Elijah Parish, Harper de Andrade, Jabri Garcia-Jimenez, Kristin Dungan, Linden James, Luke Pollard, Sahil Bhatia, Theo Reeves

FIRST Innovation Challenge Event Semi-Finalists: Diya Nerurkar, Halle Pearce, Josiah Neal, Kristin Dungan, Linden James, Sherry Liu, Theo Reeves

National Center for Women in Information Technology

An NCSSM computer science student was awarded an Aspirations in Computing Award:

Aspirations in Computing, Honorable Mention: Sarah Motteler

National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE Jr.) Chapter

This spring, NCSSM students competed in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE Jr.) Try-Math-a-Lon competition and received the following awards:

Try-Math-a-Lon Upper Division, 3rd Place: Lorelei Linkel, Abel Getachew, Marissa Maynard, Sophia Milliam, Delali Dodor

Technology Student Association (TSA)

NCSSM students competed in the North Carolina Technology Student Association (NCTSA) state competition and as a team won the Chapter of the Year Award (Small Chapter). In addition, the following students placed at individual events:

Biotechnology Design, 3rd place: Prabuddha Ghosh Dastidar, Connor Mitchell

Coding, 1st place: Sherry Liu, Benjamin Gordon

CAD-3D, 1st place: Connor Mitchell

Cybersecurity, 2nd place: Dhruv Ranganath, Aniruddh Doki

Data Science & Analytics, 3rd place: Shishira Somashekar, Hrishika Roychoudhury, Sherry Liu

Extemporaneous Speech, 1st place: Alan Ma

Music Production, 1st Place: Vishakh Sandwar, Akshay Gududuru, Aniruddh Doki

Prepared Speech, 3rd place: Hrishika Roychoudhury

Tech Bowl, 1st place: Aniruddh Doki, Vishakh Sandwar, Dhyey Shah

USA Computing Olympiad

NCSSM students participated in the USA Computing Olympiad and received the following award designations:

Platinum: Siddhant Dubey

Gold: Alvin Chen, Sherry Liu, Dhruv Yalamanchi, Evan Zhang

Silver: Timothy Laskoski

NCSSM Students present at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development 2021 Online Summit

On March 24, 2021, seniors Sid Dubey, Michael Steele, and Nina Nair presented at the Council for Entrepreneurial Development (CED)’s Venture Connect 2021 Online Summit. During the summit’s “The Future Is Bright” session, Sid and Michael presented their project on “using AI to distinguish recyclable and non-recyclable materials and its potential impact to the eco-movement,” while Nina presented her senior project on “the computational development of an anticancer drug.” Carl Ryden ’89, CEO and Co-Founder of PrecisionLender, introduced the students and NCSSM.

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

Dr. Garrett Love contributes to publications on science teaching and computational thinking

Chair of Engineering and Computer Science Garrett Love has been published as a contributing author in three publications this spring, stemming from his participation as computational modeler and teacher trainer with the CompHydro consortium project. The project features computational models created by Dr. Love for classroom modeling of groundwater and surface water flow and the associated propagation of pollutants. Some lessons from the project are used in the NCSSM Environmental Engineering class and are published on the NCSSM Youtube Channel (eg. Thiessen Polygon method).

Source: NCSSM Communications

ECS/AI Welcomes Dr. Larry Hodges at Chair of Engineering and Computer Science for the Morganton Campus

Larry Hodges has joined the team as Chair of Engineering and Computer Science for the Morganton campus. During his career he has served as the C. Tycho Howle Endowed Chair and Director of the Clemson School of Computing, Chair of the Computer Science Department at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and was a founding faculty member of both the College of Computing and the GVU Center at Georgia Tech.

His research and leadership have been recognized with numerous awards, including the IEEE Virtual Reality Career Award in 2006. In 2017 he was inducted into the NCSU Computer Science Alumni Hall of Fame. In 2018 Elon University honored him with a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award.

  • PhD and MS in Computer Science at North Carolina State University

  • MA in Religion at Lancaster Theological Seminary

  • BA with a double major in mathematics and physics at Elon University.

Mr. Kleiner named a 2021 NCWIT Aspirations Award Recipient

Congratulations to Keethan Kleiner '09, #NCSSM Instructor of #computerscience, who has been named a 2021 Aspirations in Computing Educator Award Honorable Mention by the @NCWIT! The award recognizes educators for their efforts to promote gender equity in computing. #IamCS

Source: NCSSM Communications

Kidzu and NCSSM are joining forces to share AI and robotics with the world through a new exhibit at KidZu. In celebration of National Robotics week this year, they combined with the NC Science Festival on April 11 to sponsor a Robot Prototype session and a Robo-Rave hosted by DJ Sparkles AKA Jammin’ Baby’s Erica Berry!

Watch a replay of the fun and festivities here!

Dr. Hubbard Wins EdTech 2021 Trendsetter Award

The EdTech Awards from EdTech Digest is the largest recognition program in all of education technology and recognizes people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere.

Dr. Hubbard is recognized for a variety of accomplishments. Her Biomedical Engineering courses are a unique opportunity for high school students to get exposure to a wide range of STEM applications by studying advanced topics such as Honors Biomedical Engineering, Biomechanics of Injury, and Biomedical Instrumentation. In these courses, students learn in-depth anatomy and physiology of the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems and use practical hands-on activities to probe the relationship between the structure and function of biomedical systems and fundamental engineering concepts such as circuits and simple machines. Students apply their course knowledge by implementing projects and case studies based on peer-reviewed research in subspecialties of biomedical engineering such as bioelectricity and sports biomechanics.

In 2018, Dr. Hubbard developed curriculum to introduce students to additional topics in biomedical engineering. In the tissue engineering module, the class mimicked state-of-the-art decellularization protocols to create “ghost” piglet hearts that could then serve as a scaffold to grow replacement tissue. Students were also introduced to modern medical imaging technology by learning how to read basic CT scans, segmented the data using the 3D modeling software 3D Slicer, and then 3D printed skulls and hearts. Students explored the next frontier of human/machine interfaces by using EMG signals obtained from commercial muscle sensors and an Arduino microcontroller to power a robotic arm. This neuroprosthetics module is now regularly taught in the Bioinstrumentation course.

In 2019/2020 Dr. Hubbard led our school's entry in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Competition, bringing together sustainability and artificial intelligence, to address the problem of recycling cross-contamination. Dr. Hubbard's team was one of 5 winning teams out of almost 3,000 from around the nation.

ECS/AI Welcomes Lisa Palmisano as New Program Associate

The Department of Engineering and Computer Science/AI is excited to announce that Lisa Palmisano is joining us in the role of program associate. Lisa began working at NCSSM in the summer of 2017, providing administrative support first with Distance Education and Extended Programs, and later with Development and the NCSSM Foundation. She is now the Administrative Assistant for Engineering and Computer Science.

Lisa has worked in an administrative role in a variety of fields over the years, including the oriental carpet wholesale industry and the beverage distribution industry. Lisa was born in Fayetteville, NC, and grew up in a military family, traveling around the country throughout her childhood. She now calls Durham home. When she is not working, Lisa enjoys reading and sewing.

Text Credit: Communications via ECS/AI

The Congressional App Challenge is the most prestigious prize in student computer science. Participation in the challenge has grown exponentially and has reached underserved, diverse, and rural student populations. We celebrate all the winning students and note that two of the six North Carolina winners have connections to NCSSM.

Rep. Dan Bishop has named Akshra Paimagam from North Carolina School Of Science And Mathematics as the winner of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge in (NC-09).

Rep. Mark Walker has named Jayden Sansom from Chatham School Of Science And Engineering as the winners of the 2020 Congressional App Challenge in (NC-06). Jayden was a student in NCSSM's Open Enrollment STEM Scholars program.

ECS Faculty Engage NCSSM students in First Ever Virtual J-Term

January 2021 marked the first January Term (J-Term) at NCSSM. J-Term is an opportunity for students to take short 2-4 week courses in topics that may be outside the scope covered during the traditional semester or courses that prepare them for advanced study during the upcoming semester. J-term was held in a virtual format this year in response to COVID-19. ECS Faculty stepped up to the challenge by creating and redesigning a range of engaging course options for students.

  • Creating 3-D Puzzles with Dr. Shannon Namboodri

    • Students learned Fusion 360 (CAD) and 3-D printing to create designs for 3-D interlocking puzzles.

  • Digital Audio Engineering and Production with Mr. Larry Myers and Mr. Scott Laird

    • Students surveyed interdisciplinary concepts in acoustics, music and engineering with a focus on hands-on discovery.

  • Engineering Design for Competition with Dr. Garrett Love

    • Students applied the Engineering Design Process to structural engineering (bridge/truss design) including multiple builds, testing and analysis.

  • Engineering the Human with Mr. John Kirk

    • Students explored the history of what we call the robot, how it was first developed, the problems that it was intended to solve and those that it created.

  • Java Programming with Mr. Keethan Kleiner

    • Students experienced with programming were prepared for the spring Advanced Java course

  • Managing Data with Unix Tools with Dr. John Morrison:

    • Students learned how to use a toolset available on any UNIX computer that could be used to process, clean, transform, and visualize data.

  • 3-D Printing and Medical Device Design with Dr. Rex Jeffries

    • Students created bioinspired CAD designs using a library of available templates and 3-D printed anatomical structures

  • Visualization, Perception, and Your Presentation with Dr. Letitia Hubbard

    • Students explored the practice and power of data visualization through the lens of experts such as Edward Tufte and Colin Ware.

NCSSM Awarded 100K Cybersecurity Grant from Cisco

NCSSM has been awarded a $100K grant in partnership with Cisco to develop and pilot engagement activities in cybersecurity, computer science, and artificial intelligence for K12 teachers and students. The grant will foster relationships with collaborators and researchers at Cisco, the largest cybersecurity company in the world, with a targeted focus on underrepresented groups.

"To have the support, expertise, and partnership of Cisco, which has such a major presence right here in Research Triangle Park, really validates and energizes our efforts to bring this field of learning to elementary and secondary students and teachers," says Charlotte Dungan, the AI Program Architect with AI for Teachers, a project of NCSSM's Ryden Program for Innovation and Leadership in Artificial Intelligence.

"This gift from Cisco is an enormous boost to this vital effort that allows us to expand our reach into K-12 cybersecurity #education, and we look forward to partnering with them closely for many years to come," Dungan says.

Check out the following links to learn more:

NCSSM developing cybersecurity curriculum with support of $100K Cisco grant

Growing the next generation of cybersecurity talent - Cisco Blog

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

Charlotte Dungan and Garrett Love recognized as Finalist EdTech "Educator Setting a Trend"

We are proud to announce that two members of our Engineering and Computer Science/Artificial Intelligence group were recognized as finalists in the "Educator Setting a Trend" category of the 2020 EdTech awards. The EdTech awards, sponsored by edtechdigest.com, are "the largest recognition program in all of education technology" and "recognize people in and around education for outstanding contributions in transforming education through technology to enrich the lives of learners everywhere."

Charlotte Dungan is recognized for having taught and developed innovative and highly-valued interactive video computer science courses as part of the STEM Scholars program. She has been recognized as the Educator Award Winner for NCWIT and has presented at a variety of computer science and teaching conferences. Charlotte was recently selected as an INSPIRE CS-AI (Innovative New Spaces for Practice and Rehearsal in Teacher Education, Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence) fellowship recipient, which includes a yearlong partnership with the MIT Teaching Systems Lab and the Carnegie Mellon Eberly Center for Innovative Teaching to develop AI-based support programs to help new CS teachers navigate the complexities of teaching CS and AI courses. Her unique combination of curriculum writing experience, educational background, and AI content knowledge, as well as her continuing work in equity and diversity, are major assets in developing innovative AI programming.

Garrett Love’s primary “trendsetting” contribution is the ongoing creation of computational models specifically designed for classroom use and of associated physical lessons that help reinforce concepts in computational thinking and modeling. Online contributions include a suite of java applets for engineering applications, ESRI SpatiaLabs lessons in GIS, and NetLogo user community models. His groundwater simulation and Floorlandia flood models have been presented (ASTE, NARST) as centerpiece elements of the NSF-MSP CompHydro project. His current classroom models analyze 2-dimensional trusses, algorithmically generate contour plots, simulate water filtration, plot rocket trajectories and visualize flow over an airfoil. He has developed and taught courses and summer workshops that introduce agent-based modeling.

Thank you to our ECS Faculty and Staff for your service!

A hearty congratulations and thanks to those in Engineering and Computer Science being recognized by service awards in November 2020. The wonderful programs in our department and school would not be possible without your amazing contributions! Thank you!

Dr. Letitia Hubbard

5 Years of Service

Dr. Garrett Love

5 Years of Service

Mr. John Kirk

15 Years of Service

Dr. John Morrison

20 Years of Service

Charlotte Dungan and team author paper selected for AERA annual meeting

Charlotte Dungan is the primary author on one part of a paper selected for the 2021 AERA (American Educational Research Association) Virtual Annual Meeting, from more than 10,000 submissions. Dungan worked on the submission, "Critical Perspectives on using Simulations to Broaden Participation in Computer Science through K-12 Teacher Education" along with, as she says, an "awesome team of researchers from a consortium of other schools who authored the other sections as part of the team's work with INSPIRE CS-AI." The educational simulations are being used in the Ryden AI Program's AIforTeachers.org Professional Development initiative.

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

Charlotte Dungan elected NCSSS Board Member

Charlotte Dungan, AI Program Architect in the Ryden Program for AI at NCSSM, has been elected to the Board of Directors of the National Consortium of Specialized STEM Schools (NCSSS) and will begin her term of service in November. Dungan goes into the role focused on working toward equity in STEM schools nationwide as well as implementing more teacher-to-teacher sharing between schools. She says, "I look forward to representing NCSSM and advancing the cause of secondary STEM schools nationwide through this opportunity." Dungan was also recently nominated to the national K-12 Cybersecurity Learning Standards Initiative team on the high school gradeband.

Text Credit: NCSSM Communications

NCSSM Team Named National WINNERS in Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest

A team of NCSSM students led by Instructor of Engineering Dr. Letitia Hubbard has been named one of five NATIONAL WINNERS in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. As a National Winner, the NCSSM Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Sustainable Recycling Team has been awarded $100,000 in Samsung technology for the school.

The students created an app that uses image processing and machine learning algorithms to help people separate recyclables and non-recyclables. An estimated 25% of recycling is contaminated by waste, making cross-contamination a tremendous problem for recycling centers across the country.

Dr. Hubbard says, "This award is only a small glimpse of what happens at NCSSM and definitely could not have happened without all of the support from the entire NCSSM community."