WASHINGTON D.C. - Eight Governor Livingston students attended the national Technology Students Association (TSA) conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor from June 28th to July 2nd. The attending team, comprised of six juniors and two sophomores, competed in the 11-12 division of the TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science) competition.

At the state level competition held at NJIT on March 14th, students worked together to complete a timed eighty question multiple choice test, a design and build task, and an essay that had to be submitted prior to the competition day. All components of the competition were related to the competition’s theme, “The Engineering Brain.” While there was only one team in attendance at the national conference, there were initially separate junior and sophomore teams at the state level competition. Even though both the sophomore team and the junior team qualified for nationals, the two teams had to be combined into one, since many team members were unavailable to attend the national conference.

About three weeks prior to the national conference, the team had to first complete the digital media presentation portion of the competition. For this particular part of the competition, the team was tasked with creating a two minute video that discussed the implementation of autonomous vehicles in Berkeley Heights. At the conference, the team gave a prepared three minute oral presentation about an innovation in artificial intelligence. In addition to these tasks, the team also had to solve math problems about traffic and create a self-driving car that was capable of pushing over obstacles, all within a time constraint of ninety minutes.

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While they did not advance to the top ten this year, the students used this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow as a team. Junior Danielle Yablonovskiy said, “The nationals’ trip was a really positive experience for us all. Although we didn’t place, it was amazing to be able to work together as a team on the competitive tasks. As a group, we were able to put forth a lot of interesting ideas to create the presentation, solve the mathematical computations, and complete the design and build. It was a really valuable experience to work with a lot of strong minded individuals around the GL community.”

The team hopes to qualify again for the 2020 national conference, which will be held in Nashville, Tennessee.