The Visitation team took home first place in two of five categories at Foxcroft School’s annual Expedition K2M: The STEM Summit on Saturday, February 24. The “Komodo Dragons” team included seniors Catherine Connell, Katherine Fink, Mary Kolesar, and Kelly Owczarski coached by math teacher Barbara Elliott.
The Summit, specifically designed as a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) competition for girls, included five problem-solving challenges in biology, chemistry, decoding, physics, and math, all centered around the theme of the day: animal conservation, endangered species, and poaching.
Tested by the first two problems in biology and chemistry, the team regrouped at lunch and returned to competition with a renewed sense of confidence. For the decoding challenge, they took a different approach than their peers, with three of the team members each decoding a separate message while the third took the results of the decryptions and used them to answer the questions posed by the moderators. The approach paid off with the Visitation team answering more questions than any other team and winning the challenge.
The momentum of this success would carry them through the afternoon, during which they landed a drone on a target in the physics challenge and solved complex equations to build an animal habitat in the math challenge. They completed the math challenge just two minutes before time expired and were offered the chance to solve a bonus problem in that time. They quickly divided the elements of the problem among themselves, solved them individually, and then put the pieces back together to answer the question in a minute flat, seizing another victory for the day!
Catherine was energized by the experience and noted that, “At Visitation we do a lot of solo work, so to be a thrown in this new environment and work flawlessly as a team was exciting. We all worked together, knowing each other’s strengths, and helping each other when we were struggling, which is what enabled us to succeed.”