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Sperreng girls create city of the future; earn engineering award for their efforts


April 27, 2005 - The presentation room at the St. Louis Science Center recently erupted in cheers when the Sperreng Middle School Girls' Computer Club was named the winner of the 2005 Future City Competition, according to a Lindbergh School District news re-lease.

The project was presented by Sperreng pupils Mollie Barnes, Brandi Lawrence and Miriam Murray. Also participating were Edita Ferhatovic, Annmarie Herrick, Abigail Katsoulis, Kayla Larkin and Alyssa Trimble.

The contest culminated a celebration of National Engineers Week.

The Future City Competition is a multidisciplinary program for middle school pupils, the release stated. It fosters interest and excitement in math, science and engineering through hands-on real world application.

In researching future technologies, de-signing a future computer city, creating a model of it, and presenting and promoting it, students exercise critical thinking skills and creativity, gain communication skills, and learn the value of teamwork. Pupils also explore careers in government, city planning, and engineering, and work with an engineer mentor during the project.

The Sperreng Middle School team was mentored by Sara Hyatt, a civil engineer and member of Washington University's Society of Women Engineers.

"Winning first place was quite an accomplishment for the team, especially because it was their first time entering the competition," team sponsor Laurice Badino, Sperreng gifted education teacher, stated in the release.

"The girls worked extremely hard on all of the various aspects of the project," she stated. "Their city, 'Heffrey — Hydrogen Efficiency Through Recycling and Rec-lamation,' impressed the judges with its technologies and quality. Their extensive bibliography highlighted their thorough research. And, the technologies that they in-corporated could actually be done today."

The theme of this year's competition was "Using Aggregates More Effectively in Fu-ture Cities."

"The Sperreng girls conducted experiments on the porosity and strength of different mixtures of aggregates in creating synthetic concretes, and showed how these new concretes could be utilized in a future city," Badino stated. "Their model was bi-level, with a moving underground quarry that does not disrupt the landscape, and an underground mass-transit system."

Besides the science and technology in-volved in the project, city planning and management also were important, the re-lease stated.

The team's mode featured hydrogen fu-sion, fuel cells, hybrid vehicles, bio-fuels, solar and wind energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and land reclamation.

"The computer city had to meet strict criteria, such as being profitable, having a high life expectancy and education level for residents, having low pollution and crime rates, having low tax rates and high property values, etc.," Badino stated.

Professional engineer judges from the St. Louis area listened to presentations and promotions of future cities designed by the participating teams, and then scrutinized and asked questions of team members about the models that were built and the future technologies used.

The Girls' Computer Club is an active organization at Sperreng. The girls collect donations of used computers to refurbish and donate to girls who can't afford a computer of their own. They also film the school's video morning announcements and work with a variety of software applications.

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