EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Art made from trash, a safety sleeve for auto mechanics, a smartphone “app” to aid musicians, emergency lighting for car breakdowns, and light therapy for Alzheimer’s patients were among the projects showcased during the annual Career and Tech Expos on the five campuses of the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools.
With the theme “Own Today, Celebrate Tomorrow,” students were challenged to focus on innovative ideas, modified products or processes, or innovative projects in their career majors. More than 200 students participated in teams of two to four, with trophies awarded to the first-, second- and third-place presentations in each school.
“We’re looking for innovation – is there a Wow! factor,” the participants were told by Sean McDonald, MCVTS director of career and technical education, who coordinated the expo. The event celebrated Technical Education Month in February.
The presentations were judged by district administrators and guest judges from academia, industry and community groups. Points were awarded for overall technical performance, explanation of ideas and level of innovation.
The award winners were: East Brunswick Vo-Tech, first, Performing Arts/Dance, “Art from Trash, Environmental Awareness”; second, Multimedia Technology, “Principal Jeffrey Bicsko Doll”; third, Digital Filmmaking, “Video Camera Evolution.” East Brunswick School of Career Development, first, Building Services, “Concrete Learning”; second, Culinary Arts, “Sous Vide Cooking”; third, Basic Business Technology, “Resume on the Go.” Perth Amboy Vo-Tech, first, Automotive Technology, “Mechanic’s Kevlar Sleeve”; second, Electrical trades, “Advanced Safety Helmet”; third, Computer-Aided Drafting, “Co2 Race Car Technology.” Piscataway Vo-Tech, first, Health Technology, “Medical Learning System”; second, Computer Systems Technology, “Robotics Programming”; third, Cosmetology, “Helping Others Express Their Beauty.” Piscataway School of Career Development, first, Automotive Technology, “Emergency Nighttime Engine Lighting System”; second, Basic Business Technology, “The BBT Print Shop”; third, Supermarket Careers, “Cubed Tea.”
Also, Academy for Science, Mathematics and Engineering Technologies in Edison, first, Leaders of Tomorrow, “Interactive Phone Ap for Musicians”; second, Making Engineering Great Again, “Exoskeleton Training and Strengthening System”; third, Digital Distance, “Distance-Measuring Smartphone Ap.” Academy for Allied Health and Biomedical Sciences in Woodbridge, first, Alcuria Labs, “Saline Injection to Dissolve Arterial Plaque”; second, Four LIANce, “Light Therapy to Treat Alzheimer’s Patients”; third (tie), PATHS, “Surgical Lighting System Using Advanced Radar Technology,” and Mad Scientists for Safety, “Cool Cap to Prevent Hair Loss for Cancer Patients.”
“This year's Tech Expo was very interesting,” McDonald said. “Across the district, students presented professional, competitive presentations on new ideas and innovative projects. I was pleased and very proud of all our student presenters.
“I believe our guest judges from the community really appreciated a look at some of the amazing things that happen in our programs daily.”
The winners are being encouraged to enter the “Steam Tank Challenge,” modeled after the “Shark Tank” TV program. Sponsored by the New Jersey School Boards Association, the regional competition will be held May 12 in Trenton.
More information on the Middlesex County Vocational and Technical Schools is available at www.mcvts.net.