Students win awards for boat design at NPS Discovery Day

Santa Catalina School students took home awards and cash prizes in the Naval Postgraduate School’s first-ever Rapid Innovation Design Challenge. The contest was held as part of NPS’s Discovery Day, an annual event that aims to develop students’ interest in STEM fields by highlighting the university’s own research.

The design challenge invited local students to come up with solutions for ongoing naval challenges in four categories. Competing in the additive manufacturing challenge, Catalina students were tasked with creating a boat to deliver humanitarian aid. The 3D-printed boat had to carry two people and cargo across a body of water with a designated wave swell.

A team of seniors led by math and computer science teacher Amy Azevedo Mulgrew ’02 earned an award and $500 for Best Use of Iteration. A team of sophomores in the Marine Ecology Research Program, led by teacher Christian Reilly, earned an award and $500 for Best Design Pitch. Two additional teams of seniors and sophomores earned honorable mention and $250. The awards were presented in a ceremony at the end of the event.

“We feel very fortunate to participate in Discovery Day at NPS to show these girls what’s out there as far as opportunities for them,” Mulgrew told an NPS reporter. “The Design Challenge Championship really gave them an opportunity to work as a team in practice using the iterative process.”

Earlier in the day, after a short walk from Catalina to the NPS campus, students had the opportunity to hear from a NASA astronaut, Navy Capt. Victor Glover Jr., who spent nearly six months aboard the International Space Station as a member of the SpaceX Crew-1 mission. He talked about his path to space and encouraged students to be resilient, to be lifelong learners, and to be good teammates. The students had a chance to meet Capt. Glover and ask him questions after the awards ceremony.

Students also piloted battle bots, went on a scavenger hunt through the library, heard about NPS’s studies of East Asia, and learned about federal internship and scholarship opportunities.

NASA astronaut Victor Glover speaks to a small group of Santa Catalina School girls.

NASA astronaut Victor Glover Jr. speaks to students after the awards ceremony.

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