Smart City STEAM Challenge: Ukuleles for Kids

Congratulations to Vernon Verona Sherrill High Schoolers Nathan Angell and Eric Surprenant, 2nd place winners of the Smart City of STEAM challenge!

About the competition:

EPICS in IEEE partnered with Project Fibonacci to organize the Smart City of STEAM Challenge, a competition designed to encourage collaboration between non-profit organizations and engineers in high schools throughout central New York. Participants were invited to create a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) project for a chance to earn up to $10,000 in project development funding and college scholarships. 

Although the competition began to expand innovation in Rome, New York, a city located in the central Mohawk Valley Region, it hopes to eventually include the entire state.

About the project:

Over 15 teams of students competed, but one project struck a chord with us: developing an automatic tuning system for ukuleles to be used by people with hearing disabilities and mobility issues. Nathan Angell and Eric Surprenant, alongside their mentor Deb Guarneiri, were awarded $3,200 dollars in April 2019 to continue developing their project in collaboration with the non-profit organization Ukuleles for Kids. 

The project was so successful that the renowned musician and Hawaiian ambassador of the ukulele, Kimo Hussey, attended the award ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments and demonstrate the tuner. 

Making art and music accessible for all encourages students to explore the “art” component of STEAM curriculum. The project will hopefully open doors for students in central New York and beyond.