Meagan Hanna, an eighth-grade member of the William Paca Middle School Stony Brook STEP (Science and Technology Entry Program) club advised by Paula Kluse, recently took home first place in the 28th annual Middle School Maglev Contest at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory. Meagan, who along with fellow members of the STEP Club, entered the competition which is based on research by two Brookhaven engineers, the late Gordon Danby and James Powell, who invented and patented maglev technology — the suspension, guidance, and propulsion of vehicles by magnetic forces. Meagan won first place in the Futuristic Design category.
“This is our second time in this competition and I could not be prouder of all the students,” said Ms. Kluse. “Their motivation and perseverance in troubleshooting vehicles they’ve already worked on for months was astounding. It has been an amazing hands-on, STEM learning experience for everyone involved. We hope to compete in a greater variety of categories next year and hopefully take home more awards.”
Nearly 200 students from Long Island middle schools entered the contest, in which they were required to design and construct model maglev vehicles according to engineering specifications in a choice of seven categories: electrified track, futuristic, wind power, gravity, self-propelled balloon, self-propelled-other, and scale-model design. Judging was based on speed, efficiency, appearance, and the students’ written design process.