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Students Beat the World in the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge

28.4.2016

We are proud to announce that a team of St John’s Year 11 students and senior teacher, Mr Nathan King have beaten the world in one of the four divisions at the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge at NASA in Florida USA. This is especially exciting because students Kelsey Matushcka, Olivia Hutley, Shibaah Azam and Hamza Khan are the first Australians ever to win one of the four categories and St John’s is the only school Australia to make the semi-finals two years in a row.

The competition included four divisions, Aerospace and Aviation, Energy and the Environment, Cyber Technologies and Security, and Health and Nutrition.

The winning team proposed the idea to develop a mobile application to control the colours of mobile devices to eliminate anxiety, poor sleeping patterns and stress. Their ‘Lumos App’ idea is based on studies that show extensive amounts of exposure to lighting patterns on various devices can lead to physical and mental issues.

To the student’s excitement, it was announced that they would be offered help in establishing patents for their app and also private entrepreneurial and marketing support which will assist in taking their idea to the market.

During the semi- final and final round of the competition, each team was required to present to a panel of judges, including chair Nancy Conrad, wife to the late Pete Conrad, captain of several NASA missions and third man on the moon, plus three astronauts and representatives of Boeing, the US Navy and the famed Mayo Clinic.  

To add to the excitement, coach and teacher, Mr Nathan King was awarded the prestigious Teacher of the Year award. Mr King is the first teacher from outside of the US to win this award.

Mr King and fellow teacher Stavros Ikonomakis and College Deputy Glenn Johnson have been teaching the Future Thinkers program at the College for the past three years.

All 20 students who attended the Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge took the opportunity to tour the Kennedy Space Station, the Atlantis Shuttle Exhibition and the Saturn V Rocket during their time in Florida. The competition also allowed students to network with astronauts Captain Kathryn Hire, Jon McBride and Bob Cabana, Director of NASA.

Through networking, many students from St John’s are also looking at partnering with other schools from Asia and North America to further develop their ideas.

St John’s is very proud of the 26 students who worked together to build their ideas and presentations. We look forward to hearing about all of the wonderful experiences the students encountered during their time at NASA.

St John’s would like to thank the University of Queensland, the Hon Ms Leeanne Enoch MP, our College families and staff and lastly to the wider community for supporting this great program. We are extremely grateful.

If you would like to watch the interview with 9 News please click here.



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