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Frankfort-Schuyler students Roman Shikula and John Tofani were one of 10 pairs of high school students who spent their spring recess at Griffiss Institute in Rome participating in the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s 10th annual AFRL Challenge Competition.
The week-long STEM initiative aimed to provide a realistic view into the types of high-tech problems the world is currently facing and how engineers and researchers analyze and solve them. The competition is meant to show students what the AFRL does, encourage collaboration in problem solving and build the students’ public speaking and computer science skills.
This year’s challenge focused on the flow of consumers and products for a mock store chain. The groups were tasked with using a computer simulation to predict why a particular store chain was struggling in a new market quarter. The groups used mathematics and computer science to model what they thought went wrong and simulate the results of the course of action they would recommend for the store chain.
The 20 students worked throughout the week, learning about the problem, practicing with the software they needed to use and developing a solution to the challenge. On Friday, each group presented their findings to a panel of judges for the chance to win a paid summer internship and new tablets.
Whitesboro Central School students Maheen Qureshi and Reid Burkdorf took first place in the competition.
Although Roman and John did not take home the grand prize, they learned a lot throughout the process and made many networking connections with other students and professionals involved in the competition.