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2012 GSTCA

posted Jun 30, 2012, 3:47 PM by Thabit Pulak   [ updated Jul 2, 2012, 9:49 PM ]

I just came back from the 2012 Governor's Science and Technology Champions Academy, which took place from June 24th till the 30th. This year's academy theme was to explore extreme environments, and to learn about resource extraction of basic human resources like petroleum. The top ranking contestants in the Exxon Mobil State Science fair were invited to attend the academy. Since I ranked 1st with my Bio-sand Arsenic Water Filter project, I was able to attend the academy. My experience at GSTCA was overall quite positive. I learned a little bit about every environment, such as the freezing Arctic scenarios, and the blazing hot desert. I also had the opportunity to go to NASA's Space Center, and ride in their proprietary Mars Rover Vehicle on the 6th day of my trip. Later that day, we had a robotics challenge in which we built robots to fend of balls to the respective territories of each team to gain points. GSTCA was comparable to my experience at TTUSUMAC last year. Both camps focused their roots on Math and Sciences, and both took place in college campuses for a week, entirely paid for. GSTCA is a new camp established by the Governor's Work Force Commission less than 4 years ago. For a new camp, I'd say GSTCA is a great camp. However, like anything, there is room for improvement. In TTUSUMAC last year, we had a project assigned to us that had to be completed by the last day of camp. We were assigned professors per group, who would help assist us with such projects. At the end of the week, my team was able to present a brand new engineered bridge which could withstand hard winds and shocks. We ended up winning the overall best research award. GSTCA, although had several small assignments, and a "project" so to speak, was not able to follow up on anyone's progress in doing the assignments, and by the end of the week, there was no mention of whether the assignments were properly done or not. The lack of incentives for such a task could be a cause, but I believe next time, staff members should more intently focus on the appropriate completion of such tasks. Aside from these small quibbles, my time at GSTCA was great. I visited many museums, and our days were often filled with places to go and learn from. And spending time with members of the GSTCA was truly enjoyable. These kids are the best of the state, so having many intelligent minds in one area to talk, discuss, and live together for a week is a phenomenal experience to have.  For pictures, click here: Photos ABC News came to briefly broadcast our activities as well. You can see the broadcast @  http://abclocal.go.com/ktrk/video?id=8719739&syndicate=syndicate&section

Below, I have added the detailed schedule for the 2012 GSTCA.