Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.
Nueva Math Modeling Team Wins Award at 2021 MS Challenge
On April 26, the Nueva math modeling team of upper school students Elliot C., Joseph K., Nikhil T., Ryan C., and Sebastian D. won the Technical Computing Award at the 2021 M3 Challenge.
The M3 challenge is an annual competition organized by the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM). This year’s challenge was about the digital divide, and included three related questions for teams to answer: predict the cost of bandwidth across the US and the UK over the next ten years; determine the minimum bandwidth required to meet the demand with high reliability; and design a procedure for optimal placement of cellular nodes to support the bandwidth needs of each region.
“Not only is winning such a competitive contest an outstanding honor—the team demonstrated exceptional group work, innovative problem solving with significant real-world relevance, and an extraordinary ability to communicate complex ideas clearly and compellingly,” said Ted Theodosopoulos, team coach and upper school math teacher. “In my assessment, their work was at a level, in many respects, comparable to that of graduate students and professional modelers.”
In a speech accepting the award for the team, senior Elliot C. said, “As much work as we have done and as far we have come, there is always room to learn more. We are all excited to continue this work in college and beyond. The MS competition has sparked something within each of us in terms of being excited about technical computing and wanting to pursue it in the future.
Team MAARS Named Outstanding Journal Award Winner and Video Contest Winner in Tech Challenge
Named after its team members Michael S. ’24, Anna F. ’24, and Amrutha R. ’24, Team MAARS recently participated and earned two awards in the Tech Challenge, a signature program of The Tech Interactive, a science and technology center in San Jose. This year’s theme, “Ultimate Upcycle,” challenged student teams to create a useful model out of cardboard that could be taken apart and transformed into another model.
The challenge unfolds over several months as teams design, build, and test their project. Every step of their process is documented, including testing, brainstorming, and most importantly what they learn through experimentation and failure. The challenge culminates in a final showcase, where teams present their project to judges in front of an audience of family, friends, and community members.
For their project, video, and group efforts, the team received the Outstanding Engineering Journal Award and earned second place in the video contest.
“It was an amazing experience participating in the Tech Challenge this year,” Amrutha said. “It was fun thinking of and building our ideas to help solve problems refugees and homeless people face using the engineering design process!”
Fifth Grader Eliya W. Advances to National Invention Convention
Fifth grader Eliya W. recently competed in the California Invention Convention and her invention, EliFeed, helped her advance to the National Invention Convention. EliFeed is a three-to-four foot ball made from rebar and recycled hose designed to solve the physical and mental health problems of elephants housed in limited zoo spaces. As part of the convention, student-inventors create videos explaining their inventions; these videos are viewed by the judges as part of the judging process. The awards ceremony for the national convention will be held on June 24.
“This is my first year teaching invention education to my students,” said Hillsborough I-Lab engineer and shop manager Christine Braun. “The results have been really beyond what I could have imagined. Eli is the first Nueva student from the middle school to enter the California Invention Convention and therefore is also the first to move forward to the National Convention.”
To continue to pursue this invention, Eli applied for and was granted a Joey Fellowship Grant, which will allow her to manufacture an Elifeed for a zoo trial.
Ben G. ’22 Named National Cyber Scholar
After taking part in the National Cyber Scholarship Competition during the weekend of April 5–7, junior Ben G. was named one of 600 National Cyber Scholars for his accomplishments. The competition was a ‘Capture the Flag’ (CTF) cybersecurity competition, which tasked high school-aged participants with solving a set of computer security puzzles and challenges that test their skills in areas including password cracking, reverse-engineering, memory corruption, and cryptography. When a challenge is solved, it gives the players a flag, a secret string of code that can be exchanged for points. The more points gained, the higher the competitor moves up in rank.
“When I heard that Ben was recognized as a National Cyber Scholar, I was not at all surprised,” said Wes Chao, upper school computer science teacher. “Ben has been actively involved with Capture the Flag hacking competitions for as long as I’ve known him, from his initial explorations of simple web hacks to his current involvement with Nueva’s nationally ranked CTF team. (White) Hats off to Ben on this recognition!”