Winners of 2013 Health Engineering Essay Contest Announced


Wed, July 31, 2013

Washington, DC, July 31, 2013 —

On its EngineerGirl website, the National Academy of Engineering today announced the winners of EngineerGirl's 2013 essay competition. This year’s national contest asked students in grades three to 12 to explain how engineering is essential to the treatment or prevention of five diseases outlined by the World Health Organization as leading causes of death throughout the globe. Older students were also asked to identify the different types of engineers who have contributed to technological advancement in health care and suggest ways that engineering may change the future prevention or treatment of the disease. Prizes were awarded to students in three categories based upon grade level.

“This year’s essay participants not only provided wonderful explanations about the special contributions of engineering to human health, but a wealth of relief and inspiration for tomorrow as well,” said NAE President Dan Mote. “It is so inspiring and reassuring to see the enthusiasm of young people for the importance of engineering to human health and people that I feel confident the innovators of our future are among us.”

Sydney Ricks, a fifth-grader from Nansemond Parkway Elementary School in Suffolk, Va., placed first among third- to fifth-grade students for her explanation of how the engineering behind the robotic glove has advanced rehabilitation for stroke victims in her essay “Stroke Survivors Get a New Grip on Life.” Stacey Edmonsond, an eighth-grader at Bernard Campbell Middle School in Lee's Summit, Mo., won first place among entries from sixth- to eighth-grade students for her essay titled “Robots: Therapy of the Future,” which described the different types of robotic therapy that have been made available with the help of engineers. Among ninth- to 12th-graders, Samira Bandaru, an 11th-grade student from Hopkins School in New Haven, Conn., placed first for her essay called “The Mechanical Heart,” which explained the roles of engineers in the development of the mechanical heart.

Read all of the essays.

Awards ranged from $500 for first place, $250 for second place, and $100 for third place. Certificates were given for honorable mentions. Additional winners are listed below:

Grades three to five:

  • Second Place: Taryn Welch, in fifth grade at Cielo Vista Elementary School in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., for “Engineers – Providing Hope for the Future of Heart Disease”
  • Third Place: Tvisha Patel, in fourth grade at Barringer Academic Center in Charlotte, N.C., for “Life-Saving Engineering Invention: The Berlin Heart”
  • Honorable Mention: C.J. Black, in fourth grade at Hawthorne Elementary in San Diego, for “Prevent with a Stent”
  • Honorable Mention: William Reinberger, in fifth grade at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy Middle School in Lebanon, Ohio, for “Artificial Hearts”

Grades six to eight:

  • Second Place: Saisha Agrawal, in eighth grade at Thornton Junior High School in Lee's Summit, Mo., for “Look, I Can Breathe!”
  • Third Place: Kira Woods, in eighth grade at Deer Creek Middle School in Littleton, Colo., for “Let the Blood Flow”
  • Honorable Mention: Katie Spangler, in sixth grade at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy in Loveland, Ohio, for “Heart Disease”

Grades nine to 12:

  • Second Place: Jessica Dutton, in 11th grade at Billings West High School in Billings, Mont., for “Coronary Stent Development”
  • Third Place: Julia Reed-Betts, in 10th grade at Palmetto Ridge High School in Naples, Fla., for “Oxygen Tanks Are Not Only a Tool for Scuba Divers”
  • Honorable Mention: Ravina Hingorani, in 11th grade at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Conn., for “Engineers Help Us Breathe”
  • Honorable Mention: Gi Na Lee, in 11th grade at Korean Minjok Leadership Academy in Gangwon-do, South Korea, for “Engineers Fight Back Against Influenza”

EngineerGirl is designed for middle school girls and offers information about various engineering fields and careers, questions and answers, interviews, and other resources on engineering. A survey of contest participants indicated that 63 percent of girls were more likely to consider an engineering career after writing their essay. EngineerGirl and Engineer Your Life, a website for academically prepared high school girls, are part of the NAE's ongoing efforts to increase the diversity of the engineering work force.

The mission of the NAE is to advance the well-being of the nation by promoting a vibrant engineering profession and by marshalling the expertise and insights of eminent engineers to provide independent advice to the federal government on matters involving engineering and technology. The NAE is part of the National Academies (along with the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council), an independent, nonprofit organization chartered by Congress to provide objective analysis and advice to the nation on matters of science, technology, and health.

Randy Atkins
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