Lauralton Hall's engineering team comprised of 43 students in grades 9-12 recently participated in their sixth Sikorsky STEM Challenge and walked away as winners once again! The competition, which took place over the course of the academic year, required students to develop project plans, present them to Sikorsky engineers, and meet objectives for submitting reports and videos. This year, students were asked to design a lightweight, semi-autonomous cargo transport system with color recognition abilities that would assimilate into the Sikorsky Skyhawk model. The system when activated will drive the Skyhawk rig to the identified colored building top, engage the hoist motor to retrieve the payload with the magnetic hook, and then return the Skyhawk rig to the starting location.
The Lauralton Hall design utilized ergonomic buttons for activation and a 3-pulley system to reduce the strain on the hoist motor. Using an Arduino Uno, they programmed a color sensor to detect the correct rooftops and programmed the movements of the hoist and Skyhawk motors. Much of the mechanical design was created on CAD software and 3D printed at Lauralton Hall; this provided the foundational anchoring of the sensor, hardware, and electrical components of the system. Mrs. Theresa Napolitano, one of two faculty moderators, shared: “The students were insatiable in learning the various facets needed to solve each of these challenges along the way to best represent the idea and bring the working prototype to life. The ability of the students in different grade levels to mix ideas from their different perspectives ensures a deeper understanding of concepts.”
Friday, April 28 the presenting team of Grace Polatsek '23, Amirah Easter '25, Ananya Soleti '23, Margo Katz '23, Emma Hoffman '24, Michaela Day '24, and Julia Fitzgerald '24 traveled to the University of New Haven (UNH) to deliver a ten-minute PowerPoint presentation of the project development to a panel of Sikorsky Engineers, followed by a Q&A segment. Afterward, students made their way to the Engineering Lab of UNH where the Skyhawk driver was housed. The team’s design was tested, and points were assessed based on the effectiveness of the design.
Ms. Danielle Kratter, also faculty moderator, said “The [Sikorsky] STEM Challenge allows our students to learn skills from engineering design and formal presenting to managing deadlines and working together to problem solve […] I am in awe of the dedication and commitment that the girls have to the team and to the challenging tasks at hand.”
In addition to winning the 1st place honors, the team has been invited to present at the Sikorsky Family Day in October.
We commend the entire engineering team for their hard work and dedication this year:
Sage Araujo '26, Hailey Black '23, Sharae Burris '24, Graysen Byrnes '24, Kate Caporrino '25, Emilia Coppola '26, Gabriela Coppola '24, Shannon Crandley '23, Mia Cristodero '23, Michaela Day '24, Amelia Deeds '24, Alessandra Didiano '26, Julia Fitzgerald '24, Caroline Gouley '25, Shannon Green '23, Emma Hoffman '24, Camille Irby '25, Jaiden Johnson '24, Margo Katz '23, Emma Kelly '24, Caitlin Keogh '24, Anna Korchinski '24, Julianna LaMagna '23, Charlotte Michener '24, Aeryn Millott '23, Kelley Monahan '24, Malulani Mountcastle '23, Emma Mueller '25, Abby Newman '23, Hannah Newman '26, Shelia Northrup '24, Caroline Paine '26, Grace Polatsek '23, Ava Sasaki '26, Madelyn Saxer '24, Olivia Seward '23, Ananya Soleti '23, Chelsea St. Cloud '24, Olivia Torre '25, Ella Trudeau '25, Ellery Varholak '25, Maddie Wolfe '25, Jenny Wu '24