STEM Smart: A Gathering of Food, Technology, and Competition

Written by Eva Lopez

Competition! Food Wars! Robot Battles! Art and Games! All of these different and unique topics could be found at the 2020 STEM Smart Student Summit! Schools including Pineview, Venice High, Sarasota High School and Suncoast Polytechnical Highschool gathered within Suncoast Technical College on January 31st . Within the college walls there were fierce competitions, drones, culinary demonstrations, scientific presentations, and various forms of Vex robotics. This summit was a coagulation of people who spent their time having fun and enjoying a day full of science, art, and greatest of all food. Most of the demonstrations occurred out in the cafeteria of the college as well as on the second-floor lobby. Any person involved was free to roam around and enjoy the experience of inventiveness and creativity. There were also competitions that were being held within separate rooms of the college. Some competitions included the Technology Web Design Competition, the Technology Logo Design Competition, the Mathematic Spreadsheet Application Competition, the Mathematics Multimedia Math Challenge Competition, and many more. Many of our students participated in these competitions, but two of the most notable competitions were the Technology Logo Design Competition and the Mathematics Multimedia Math Challenge Competition.  

The Technology Logo Design Competition was all about creating a logo for a food truck. There was no specific type of food truck that was required as a theme, but the most commonly used idea was a taco truck. While the idea of a taco truck might be common, there are many creative ideas that can be incorporated with tacos to make it the incredible unique and interesting. However, Maelin and Kayla, two Suncoast Polytechnical Highschool students, choose to use a bold and daring idea. An idea that most people would never think of when it is related to a food truck. Despite this, these two girls went against the odds and created a logo centered around kabobs. In fact, in an interview with Maelin and Kayla the two girls held total confidence and stated, “I think we have a very good chance” in response to the question “do you think you will win?” The irony of the declaration was that their prediction came true. The two girls won 1st place in the Technology Logo Design Competition against several other schools with their now famous idea of a kabob logo design. Hopefully their idea of kabob food trucks will sneak its way into reality and enlighten us with kabobs that anyone can enjoy on the streets.   

The Mathematics Multimedia Math Challenge Competition had a group of four people use algebra 1 and geometry skills in order to solve a real-life math problem. Once the group had discovered a solution, they had to create a creative presentation of the problem and their solution. The group of Suncoast Polytechnical Highschool students included Emily, Marcos, Nate, and Katherine. The question that this group received involved the tallest building in the world; known as Burj Khalifa. In this problem two phones were dropped from two different heights, one on the 94th floor and the other on the 55th floor. The question was “which phone would hit the ground first and how many seconds would it take”, as well as “if one phone hits the ground first what height is the other object at”. After closely examining the competition one might note that the truly amazing aspect of this competition was the fact that beside Emily and Marcos, the group did not know each other in any way. Despite this, the group was able to come together and work as a team in order to find a solution to a problem. In other words, every member of the group was alert and actively ready to participate. According to Emily, a member of the Suncoast Polytechnical Highschool team, this atmosphere of engagement was thick enough for their host to say, “the group as a whole was probably the most interactive, he has seen in a while”.   

In just one day several competitions, demonstrations, and presentations of various topics occurred. Hundreds of students of varying ages came together to share, show off, and present their abilities and minds. It was an entire day dedicated to academics and creativity, but this would have never happened unless students came from all over the state to participate in a festival like environment. It was thanks to this that hundreds of students were able to come together to not only enjoy each other’s company, but to do so in a stimulating and fun way. Though the day could not continue on forever, it is nice to know that gatherings like the 2020 STEM Smart Student Summit are able to bring about this intellectual environment at least for one day.