Campus News

Mavericks Making Waves: November 2020
Nueva Communications

Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.

Dalton Lobo Dias Develops Useful Science App
By Antonia Ehlers, director of communications

Middle school science teacher Dalton Lobo Dias might be known for his “electromagnetic personality,” and now he can share his science knowledge through a brand new science app called Elloveo.

Dave Colleran is the app designer for Elloveo, which was funded by a National Science Foundation grant. Dave, a friend of Nueva parent Mar Hershenson, saw the need for a hands-on app to learn the principles of electromagnetism in a fun, engaging and accessible way. He sought innovative teachers to test and give feedback to the prototyping process, and found Dalton through his Nueva connection. 

“The game provides an innovative way to learn about electromagnetism,” Dalton said. “With electromagnetism, there are invisible electrical and magnetic fields, so it can be challenging to demonstrate for students even in live demonstrations. The app teaches electromagnetism by making things visible and giving the user tasks to complete, such as charging a battery or lighting a lightbulb. It goes with our “learn by doing” motto. We worked hard to make the app challenging and visually appealing. The graphics are absolutely stunning. It was such a thrill to see digital electromagnetic fields, charges, and quantum effects brought to life. The biggest thing I love about the app is that it pertains to sustainability.”

The app empowers students to learn how electricity can be made and stored, especially through renewable energy sources including wind and hydroelectric power. Once they have that knowledge, students can make ethical choices about how to create electricity, such as reducing carbon emissions through sustainable energy sources. Dalton also created a guide to go along with the app with quizzes and lesson plans for teachers who are new to teaching electromagnetism.  

“I love that Nueva is super open to innovation and bringing in apps and simulations—even the ones that are in development stages,” he said. “Plus, Nueva kids love puzzles and challenges. There’s something about the gifted brain—Nueva kids want to tinker and wrestle with complex ideas. They think outside the box. Our students love coming up with novel ways to solve problems, and they are super creative. This app gives students a new insight into the world of electromagnetism, and a chance to discover and play.” 

Elloveo is available on the iOS platform for the iPad and iPhone.


Brandon Cho Selected as Japan Day Honoree
By Antonia Ehlers, director of communications

Junior Brandon Cho is one of three students selected as a Japan Day Honoree by the 2020 Stanford Reischauer Scholars Program (RSP). Brandon was honored for his excellent contributions to the RSP last spring, including his independent research essay on Koreans in Japan. The awards ceremony will be held at Stanford in March 2021, pending COVID-19 regulations.

“My research project focused on Koreans in Japan during the immediate post-war period, between 1945 and 1952,” Brandon said. “I wanted to delve into the societal, political, and legal trends that resulted in the development of a new Korean-Japanese identity separate from mainstream Japanese society.”

As a third-generation Korean-American, Brandon was interested in exploring the intersection between Korean and Japanese history. 

“I found it fascinating to study the history of Koreans in Japan, not just from a pre-war perspective, but from a more nuanced post-war angle that signaled the beginning of a significant divergence in social identity,” he explained. 

Brandon heard about RSP from Nueva Japanese teacher Chris Scott. 

“This is a huge honor for Brandon and for Nueva,” Chris said. “We are very proud of him. Brandon is the third Nueva student to be recognized by the RSP, following Meera Santhanam ‘17 and Toby Frank ‘19. Since [Nueva Japanese teacher] Yoko-sensei and I came to Nueva in 2014, we have had many of our students accepted into this prestigious and rigorous program. Two of our upper school Japanese students—Brandon and Brian Penchina—participated last spring, and we hope to have more students accepted into the program this year.”  

Congratulations, Brandon! 


Renowned Children’s Podcast Features Story Written by Nueva First-grade Student
By Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

Nueva first-grader Alistair H. has been listening to the award-winning podcast Story Pirates for the last three years. This kid-centered podcast, which is one of the top three most downloaded podcasts for kids and families, adapts stories written by children. After writing his own story about a Komodo dragon in his pre-kindergarten class, Alistair submitted his story to Story Pirates this past spring. In honor of National Reptile Day, his story was selected for adaptation. Because of the pandemic, the Story Pirates troupe of improv actors adapted from live-studio audience storytelling to video content (similar to Saturday Night Live’s shift). So, using Alistair’s story as inspiration, Story Pirate Andrew Barbato brought the story to life—in his Brooklyn apartment! 

“I wrote the story for myself,” Alistair said, “but I loved seeing that my story went somewhere else beside me. I also really like that it is a video, so I can go back and watch it whenever I want.” 

Click here to watch Alistair’s story come to life! 


Mavericks Make a Difference for Zoo Animals
By Antonia Ehlers, director of communications

We might be in a pandemic, but that hasn’t stopped Nueva students from making a difference for zoo animals. Fifth- and sixth-grade students in Chris Braun’s Animal Enrichment class recently designed animal-enrichment toys for critters at the Oakland Zoo. 

Working with a software program called Figma, students presented their innovative ideas to zoo educator Nate Landers, faculty members from MIT, and folks from California Invention Convention. There were prototypes for a majestic giraffe and a slithery python, which were made from cardboard. Nate answered questions about the animals’ habitats. 

“It was innovative,” said fifth-grader Ryan Y. “I liked the flexibility of what we could do—making anything from a hanging bucket to a small maze.” 

“My goal was to get them through invention education,” said. “They looked at everything through a design lens and captured their thoughts in their inventors’ logs. They learned that they had to have information that backed their designs. Also, we made sure that everything had a second life. For example, the Macaw got puzzle boxes, which it shredded! That material then was given to animals that burrow and hide.”

Chris and Nate have a plan for their students post-pandemic—they plan to visit the zoo when it is safe. For now, Chris will continue to promote the Oakland Zoo, as well as Nate’s program, as it’s been hit hard by the pandemic. If other Nuevans are interested in supporting the Oakland Zoo, click here for more information. 


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