Two recent graduates of the Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology were named national third place winners for their proposed spy gadget in the USA Network's "Burn Notice" Science Challenge.
Former Magnet students Mark Meyers and Paul Yates devised a photo surveillance system that creates a wireless alert when triggered by an intruder stepping on a pressure plate (disguised as a doormat). For their proposal, they won $3,000 in the challenge.
High school students were asked to design a safe, yet exciting, spy challenge that the characters of the hit series "Burn Notice" might face - such as covertly communicating with other operatives, gathering intelligence on adversaries or conducting surveillance of enemy territory. Following initial essay submissions, 25 finalists were selected to create a video demonstrating their proposed solutions to the challenge. Each entry was judged based on its scientific merits, as well as the quality and execution of the demonstration, by the panel of teachers and "Burn Notice" writers and producers. The Challenge was created to encourage learning in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) among America's high school students.
"I was blown away by all the creative, clever entries we received - these are some seriously brilliant kids," said Matt Nix, the show's creator and executive producer. "STEM has always been a passion of mine, and I'm thrilled we were able to give these students a chance to demonstrate their talents in this area."
"Thank you to each and every student and mentor who helped make the Burn Notice Science Challenge such a success," said Eric Crossley, Science Education Advisor. "We received so many well-prepared and thoughtful entries from kids who clearly have a promising future in the science and technology fields."
The winners of the Burn Notice Science Challenge are:
GRAND PRIZE, $10,000 scholarship, on-air and online recognition in a spot featuring actor Bruce Campbell and a "Burn Notice" set visit to meet cast members and creators: Craig Owenby, a graduate of North Gwinnett High School, Suwanee, for creating a laser communications device that utilizes fluctuating brightness and electrical pulses to audibly transmit messages from more than 100 feet away and around a wall
SECOND PRIZE, $5,000 scholarship: Drew Tomback, James and Hugh Savoldelli, rising sophomores at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School, New York, NY, for developing a portable, two-way, closed-line Morse code radio transmitter using two garage door openers
THIRD PRIZE, $3,000 scholarship: Mark Meyers and Paul Yates, graduates of Rockdale Magnet School for Science and Technology, Conyers, for devising a photo surveillance system that creates a wireless alert when triggered by an intruder stepping on a pressure plate (disguised as a doormat)
FOURTH PRIZE, $2,000 scholarship: Sophie Blackburn, Sarah Heady and Sanjidah Ahmed, rising juniors at Wichita Collegiate School, Wichita, KS, for generating a flame signaling system that reacts concentrated chemicals with heat to produce color-coded torches, which can be corresponded with pre-arranged messages
FIFTH PRIZE, $1,000 scholarship: William Trevillyan, a rising junior at Brandon Valley High School, Brandon, SD, for constructing an overhead surveillance kite equipped with a camera that can be controlled by a user up to 65 feet away on the ground
The advisors to the winning entries also receive grants to support their professional development.
In addition to the prize winners, "Burn Notice" Science Challenge recognizes outstanding contributions from finalists from the following high schools: Andrew Hanna and Brandon Punturo, Garden City High School, Garden City, NY; Stephanie Shi and Shawon Huang, University High School, Los Angeles, CA; Lexie Krehbiel, Sam Dornbusch and Sydney Balgo, West Shore Junior/Senior High School, Melbourne, FL; Andrew Wong and Kevin Amoy, Kalani High School, Honolulu, HI; Jake Camara, Kalani High School, Honolulu, HI; Callie Heuser, Kaylee McCormack and Naomi Sommer, West Shore Junior/Senior High School, Melbourne, FL; Charles Grody, Winston Churchill High School, Potomac, MD; Kristen Brough, John Feistner and Ashley Gaston, Rains High School, Emory, TX; Christian Ray, Archbishop McNicholas High School, Cincinnati, OH; Aaron Weber, South Hunterdon Central Regional High School, Flemington, NJ; Jenny Kim, Loch Raven High School, Baltimore, MD; Stanley Mugo and Paul Choi, Kent-Meridian High School, Kent, WA; Isaiah Padget, Austin Clark and Sam Bryant, Highway Homeschoolers, Fredericksburg, VA; Sean O'Bryant, Alta High School, Sandy, UT; Riley Turk, Klahowya Secondary School, Silverdale, WA; Morgan Hill, Hannah Stallings and Giang Nguyen, Sarasota High School, Sarasota, FL; Anton Schuster and Luke Goertzen, West Salem High School, Salem, OR; Matthew Robinson, Episcopal Academy, Newtown Square, PA and Eric Frank, Charles McKenzie-Smith and Christopher Fulton, Harriton High School, Rosemont, PA.