Area Students Battle It Out In Annual STEM Wars

More than 900 middle and high school students attended STEM Wars 2017 at the JCC Physical Education Complex on Wednesday. STEM Wars is an educational and technology-based competition for students that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
P-J photo by A.J. Rao

More than 900 middle and high school students attended STEM Wars 2017 at the JCC Physical Education Complex on Wednesday. STEM Wars is an educational and technology-based competition for students that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. P-J photo by A.J. Rao

More than 900 students flooded the JCC Physical Education Complex on Wednesday for a little bit of science –and a little bit of fun.

The fifth annual STEM Wars, an educational and technology-based competition for middle and high school students that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, again had students showcasing brains over brawn.

From catapults and robotic cars to bridge construction and Rube Goldberg machines, students experienced first-hand the thrill of STEM-related projects, and more importantly, got an opportunity to meet those employers keen on hiring future talent.

According to Jehuu Caulcrick, Dream It Do It WNY coordinator, more than 40 businesses participated in STEM Wars 2017, making it the largest STEM Wars to date.

“STEM Wars has definitely grown bigger and bigger,” Caulcrick said. “The schools are excited about it and jumping on board with it … and more importantly, the businesses in the area are supporting this.”

Caulcrick said STEM Wars has clearly been piquing the interest of students over the years, with many of them returning to their schools with positive feedback.

The ultimate goal, according to Caulcrick, is to get students enthusiastic about STEM-related fields and hopefully consider making a career out of them.

“Manufacturing and engineering are important to grow a community … and that’s why we’re pushing it,” he said. “We want to get local kids in the community to stay local and help grow the Chautauqua County region.”

Jeffrey Teluk, director of Engineering, Science and Technologies at JCC, called STEM Wars a fantastic event.

“The students have been responding great,” he said. “A lot of them didn’t know a lot of this existed until they were exposed to it through the STEM Wars concept. We’re getting a lot of people come up and ask ‘what is this?’ and ‘how does that work?’ … and that’s always good.”

Activities included Egg Crash Cars, where students design and construct cars out of various household items, with the intent of keeping the eggs on board intact when put through a “crash test.” Another activity had students design, build and race CO2 cars, which were suited with 8-gram CO2 cartridges.

STEM Wars is hosted by JCC and run by Dream It Do It WNY, NYSTEEA, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce, the Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier, and the Chautauqua County Education Coalition. Additional sponsors include Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation, and Cummins Jamestown Engine Plant.

Participating schools included: Southwestern High School, Chautaqua Lake, Randolph Academy, Gowanda, Panama, Dunkirk, Jamestown High School, Jefferson Middle School, Pine Valley, Silver Creek, Falconer, Persell, Jefferson Middle school, Cassadaga, Dunkirk Middle School, Fredonia PTECH, Forestville, Randolph High School, Southwestern Middle school.

Participating businesses included: Blackstone Advanced Technologies LLC, Chautauqua Institution, Martz Observatory, welders supply, SKF Aeroengine North America, U.S. Marine Corps, Chautauqua Striders, PTECH, SUNY Fredonia, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, Adecco Staffing, Cummins Inc., Nestle Purina Petcare, The Resource Center – Allied Industries, Chautauqua County Health Network, Ring Precision Components, Insyte Consulting, Phantom Computers Replica R2D2, Weber Knapp Company, Allen Industrial Sales, Inc., AAUW Jamestown Branch, Fancher Chair Co, National Grid, Clark Patterson-Lee, and Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.

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