S.T.E.A.M. Club of DMS joins competition

Submitted Photo Pictured are members of the Dunkirk Middle School S.T.E.A.M Club. Team members include: Amilcar Centeno, Norkis Barreto Rosario, Jaziel Correa, Isabella Kurek, Jackson Laurie, Sonia Agosto, Gabriela Villanueva, Kevian Rivera, Tamia Johnson, Julieaidanit Rivera Ruiz.

The Dunkirk Middle School S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) Club recently submitted their proposal for the 2018 Lexus Eco Challenge. The Lexus Eco Challenge is a national STEM competition for grades 6-12 that awards $500,000 in grants and scholarships to eligible teachers, students, and schools each year. In order to potentially win, the DMS S.T.E.A.M. Club had to generate an action plan to successfully solve an environmental problem. The students thought it would be important to focus on the climatic threats affecting the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt due to the fact that so many of our parents work on the vineyards.

The DMS S.T.E.A.M. team leader, Ashley Nicole DeJohn helped the students involved by organizing field trips for the participants to gather insight of the climatic effects on the Lake Erie Concord Grape Belt. The first field trip students went on was to the Grape Discovery Center where they established their first partnership with Andy Dufresne, a retired Agriculture Extension Educator of 33 years. On the field trip students learned about the process taken to grow the concord grapes, the changes in climate that are occurring in our region, the impact climate is having on our annual harvest, and much more. The second field trip was an all girls outing to the Cummins Engine Plant in Jamestown. On this field trip students participated in a tour of the facility to learn how science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics can be used in the workforce. This experience helped the ladies to understand the relevance behind their S.T.E.A.M. club in the real world and how women can use their math, science, engineering and technology education in a future career.

After visiting the Grape Discovery Center in Westfield, being a part of a data analysis presentation with Dr. Jabot of Fredonia State, compiling data from 10 surveys students created and sent out to local vineyards, and comparing these results to the data of our NOAA correspondent, Dave McCormick, the DMS S.T.E.A.M. Club has decided to recommend an alternative grape variety to the Concord that is more resilient to our changing climate, increasing insect infestation, and disease.

Be sure to check out our public service announcements by accessing the STEAM Club’s webpage at www.dunkirkcsd.org/Page/4644.