University of Central Florida 
College of Engineering and Computer Science 
Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF) News Release 
Pre-College
Student Team Winners Announced

May 5, 2006 

During fall of 2005, a record 278 elementary, middle and high school student teams from 10 states enrolled to participate in the 2005-2006 ISTF Program.  220 student teams completed their final project websites in at the end of February 2006, participated in the preliminary round of judging and 63 teams advanced to the final round of judging.  Seven student teams from schools in New Jersey, Michigan and Florida emerged from the final round of judging to capture top awards in the 9th annual Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF). The program challenges students to use National Critical Technology (NCT) applications to solve real-world problems using information technology tools. Students develop critical thinking skills as they work on-line with practicing professionals and publish their final research findings in a webpage format. 

The seven teams that won the highest honors - Meritorious Achievement Awards from the National Medal of Technology Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce are from: 

  • Bergen County Academies, Hackensack, New Jersey, (for two teams):
    • the first team researched the development of a " bionic eye, completely biocompatible and with all the traits of the inborn eye."
    • the second team researched skin cancer and development of a "futuristic microprobe to inject all cancerous cells with a poison that destroys spindle fibers."
  • Dearborn Center for March, Science and Technology, Dearborn Heights, Michigan where a team that researched development of a dietary gum that "will create a more comfortable and enjoyable weight loss experience for people diagnosed with obesity". 
  • Sterling Park Elementary, Casselberry, Florida, where the student team researched the use of hydrogen fuel cells that would enable vehicles to operate without petroleum.
  • Lakewood High School, St. Petersburg, Florida, (for two teams):
    • the first team researched a device that would, "help people keep track of their blood sugar levels and treat them with insulin when needed".
    • the second team researched the replacement of "gasoline in transportation with the high-tech, low-temp, pollution-free and inexpensive Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell".
  • Mainland High School, Daytona, Florida, where a student team researched the navigation of barge traffic on inland waterways and development of a "retractable centerboard, which can be raised and lowered autonomously via a sonar system, (and) can be easily transferred between separate barge fleets".

In addition, eight other teams earned Honorable Mention Certificates from the University of Central Florida's (UCF) College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS), host institution for the ISTF. All finalists, award recipients, and winning projects of this program year and years past are viewable on the Winners page. 

The ISTF teaches students how to team, communicate and manage electronic information sources. It helps them learn to focus on a problem and begin the process of researching a solution.  The members of one student team cited what they had learned about research and innovation.  "Our team has learned that a lot of research must be done in order to solve a serious problem in the world such as harmful bacteria and chemicals in food. Research must be done on the causes and effects of this problem, especially who is affected and how. Research must be done on what is already being done to solve the problem and if they worked. Decisions must be made on how these problems will be solved and then research must be done to ensure that these problems will actually be solved with the innovation. Our team has learned that there is a lot of thought and research that goes into innovating a solution to world problems."

 Practicing professionals (such as scientists and engineers) participated on-line as subject matter experts, other reviewed the technical content of student teams' proposed innovations and others were judges.  As some of the technical reviewers remarked:

"Your proposal is an important first step in realizing what we call an "artificial pancreas." In this regard, you have caught onto an idea that several pump companies are already exploring, though there is no way you could have known this, as there are no such prototypes as yours on the market today. Thus, you should be congratulated for coming up with this very innovative idea!

I congratulate you on your creative problem solving approach to a disease which we at Roche believe has serious implications for society: obesity. I agree with your hypothesis that a formulation of chewing gum might be more attractive to patients and therefore encourage greater patient compliance. Unfortunately, there are several technical and regulatory challenges that stand in the way."

Wow, I am very impressed with your level of sophistication in air pollution control technologies! There are established air pollution control companies that would not dare tackle this problem."

Yet in the final analysis, it is the teacher who is the team leader, supporting the students throughout the four-month project duration. And most teachers recognize the program as a learning experience that combines both theory and practice in a way that complements classroom activities. This year, ALL (the teachers) who responded to the final evaluation will be returning next year and would recommend the ISTF to other new teachers.

The 10th annual ISTF competition officially starts in September 2006. Interested teachers, practicing professionals, parents and others are encouraged to provide contact and general information at the "My ISTF" page to receive program updates via e-mail.

ISTF Director 
Office of Special Programs 
College of Engineering and Computer Science 
University of Central Florida 
E-mail: director@istf.ucf.edu