A team of Kamiakin High School students were runners up in a national science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, competition, after winning the top state-level award for sixth year in a row.
The four-student “Columbia Flyers” team of Paul Pierson, Derek Benham, Oumar Sidibe and Yaye Sidibe designed a small unmanned flying drone for agricultural uses for the Real World Design Challenge. The students also had to provide business and marketing plans for the project.
The competition is part of a public-private partnership aimed at encouraging students to go into STEM careers. Kamiakin High won the annual Governor’s Challenge, earning the right to compete at the national level, in March.
Teams from more than 40 states competed at the national event in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 14. Kamiakin High’s second-place finish at nationals matches the previous best performance by a team from the school in 2011.
Paul was the only member of this year’s team that also worked on the 2013 team.
Richard Pierson, radiation protection programs manager at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, advised the students during the project.
Architect and past adviser Terrance Casey, past student member Joe Luey, PNNL senior remote sensing analyst Jerry Tagestad and aerospace engineer Clarence Burns were mentors to the group.