Students' storm data device wins prize in NPS Design Challenge

Sophomores in Santa Catalina School’s Marine Ecology Research Program won an award for their solution to a real-world issue: how to gather important meteorological data from the ocean during a storm.

Their creation earned them the Best Storm Tracker Solution award in the third annual Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) Rapid Innovation Design Challenge. The award came with a $500 prize.

The challenge, which ran from February 1 to April 16, called on local high school students to create two types of autonomous platforms: one for making ocean and atmospheric measurements during storms, and the other for monitoring coastal water quality. The challenge was inspired in part by flooding in Monterey County during last winter’s storms.

According to NPS, judges were impressed by Catalina’s autonomous open-water platform, “whose spherical design allowed for more stability and durability in varying wave and storm states.”

The team was honored during an awards ceremony on May 14. Afterwards, they enjoyed a tour of the Western Flyer, a historic fishing boat made famous by John Steinbeck that has been newly outfitted for STEM education and scientific research.

Read more about the design challenge from NPS.

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