A team of four students from Rogers Ranch competed in the national MESA (Math, Science, Engineering, and Science Achievement) competition in Philadelphia June 21- 22.

Students Thomas Beltran, Ana Fritts, Isabel Cardenas, and Brenan Wesolek were 5th graders last school year when they won the state competition for the middle school division in Arizona. The challenge was to engineer a project that would solve a real-world problem using an Arduino (micro-computer). Based on an experience by Isabel’s father running a night marathon, the team designed a wristband that could send out an SOS sequence of lights through LED lights for lost hikers and outdoor adventurers to summon help if they were lost or stranded in the desert.

At the national competition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania eleven states were represented. The teams were judged on 4 areas — a 10-page report, a detailed poster, a technical interview with the judges, and a “pitch” presentation.

The Rogers Ranch team came in 2nd place in the poster category for the middle school division. The team also scored 4th place overall when the scores were averaged for all categories.

Most of all, the students had a great time in Philadelphia, learned a lot about engineering, and loved the experience of competing. They have already started planning for next year’s competition.