HARRISBURG, Pa., May 31, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera met with student teams from around Pennsylvania on Friday at The Governor's Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Competition, held at Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster.
"A growing number of today's good paying careers are in the STEM fields," Rivera said. "In Pennsylvania we're aiming to educate an increasing number of students in these subjects to meet the growing demand for STEM-trained professionals in the commonwealth, around the country, and globally."
Rivera added that increasing the number of full-time students enrolled in STEM specific majors at state-supported institutions of higher education is one of Governor Tom Wolf's goals for postsecondary education.
The STEM Competition included 24 student teams from around the state that qualified for the competition by winning a regional competition last winter. This year the competition had 180 teams register, and 700 students participated in a regional competition. Teams began designing and building their projects at the beginning of the school year, and were able to make improvements after the regional competition.
Rivera and other officials from the Department of Education (PDE), and Stevens President Dr. William Griscom were able to see demonstrations of the student projects.
"This competition gives students an opportunity to work on every aspect of creating something new, whether it is inventing a new product or devising a new process," Rivera said. "It gives students a chance to have a vision, develop a concept, and design and construct the project over several months."
A team from Fort Cherry High School in Washington County won the competition with a device that would improve the lives of people with disabilities. The team designed a joystick with attachments that would allow a person with motor skill challenges to be able to type. The key design was based on the most used keys in the English language. The joystick was color coded to allow for all the letters to be used, and could be used desk top or mounted to a wheel chair. The team did product tests with people with disabilities in their region to determine functionality and improvements from regional to state competition.
Moon Area High School in Allegheny County took second place, and Williamsport Area High School in Lycoming County finished third.
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Education