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Grey Nun students feted for industrial engineering design


Several Grey Nun Academy eighth-grade students have been awarded the P. Robert Siebeneicher Industrial Engineering Award by the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers, South Jersey/Delaware Valley Chapter for superior industrial design at the region’s annual Future City competition.

Held recently at Archbishop Carroll High School, the competition attracted hundreds of students from more than 40 schools in the Greater Philadelphia region. The winning design by Grey Nun Academy’s team La Fuerza included a water desalination process and the processing and exporting of tidal, wind, and solar energy.

Students from Grey Nun Academy began work in September on the multi-faceted project in preparation for the Jan. 19 competition. The goal of Future City is to imagine, research, design, and build a city of the future. This year’s challenge was to build an innovative city that can withstand and quickly recover from the impacts of a natural disaster. Participants complete five deliverables: a virtual city design (using “SimCity”), a 1,500-word city essay, a scale model built from recycled materials, a project plan and a presentation to judges at the regional competition.

Students began by designing virtual cities on SIM City software. Through the software design phase, they explored the components of city planning and management, including zoning, finance, and maintaining happy citizens. Research and writing a narrative to describe their concept city of La Fuerza followed, which was founded as the result of rebuilding of Punta Cana, in the Dominican Republic, after a devastating hurricane and earthquake.

After months of planning, designing, and building, students assembled a to-scale 3D model of their city representing its key components. Students then went to competition where they prepared a seven-minute presentation – led by students Lana Beck, Colin Larkin, and Michael Lange. Fellow teammates Neayla Jones and Sarah Duncan then presented at a two-hour session, showcasing their model and answering questions from visitors and judges. In total, 38 schools from around the region competed.

“Overall, the Future City competition was a great experience for our students,” said David Rad, eighth-grade science teacher at Grey Nun Academy. “Our students were able to learn first hand the engineering design process and gain experience in collaborative project management. I’m very proud of the work they put into this challenging competition. A special thanks also goes to our parent volunteer Mr. Mike McAtee, who acted as GNA’s engineering mentor.”

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