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Wabash Valley High School Students Use Science, Math Skills to Solve Health Care Challenges

April 3, 2012

The future of medicine is in good hands after Wabash Valley high school students used their physics, science, and math skills to earn top state honors while confronting challenges facing the medical and health care industries.  This came in the Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science (TEAMS), an unique academic competition that had students solving real-world problems.

     TH South Varsity

Indiana TEAMS Champions: Terre Haute South High School once again captured top overall honors in the Indiana TEAMS academic competition, taken in February at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.  Team members were (front row, from left) Michael Mardini, Andrew Keiser, Mark Botros and Neelay Purohit.  In the back row (from left) are Ian Francis, Alex Barksdale, Nick Posey, Krishan Kumar and Coach Dan Wunderlich.

Eight-member teams were asked to consider how drugs can be designed to be effective in treating disease, have minimal side effects and improve patient quality of life; how prostheses and medical devices should be designed to be long lasting and provide full functionality to patients; and how clinical trials can be designed and managed to obtain maximum information about the effects of the treatment in a fair and ethical way.

The competition conducted at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology featured two 90-minute parts: Eighty multiple-choice questions, requiring team members to apply math and science knowledge to novel situations; and eight tasks answered in a short essay format, expanding students' ideas as they explained their ideas for engineering solutions.   

Terre Haute South High School students were once again up to the challenge, posting the top score among all Indiana varsity teams participating in this year's competition.  Meanwhile, Northview, North Central and Robinson earned state titles in their enrollment divisions.

TH-South JV  
Junior Varsity Champions: Earning top Wabash Valley honors in the junior varsity (9-10 grades) TEAMS academic competition were (front row, from left) Shavani Purohit, Brooke Stephanian, Kush Patel and Ben Brubaker.  In the back row (from left) are Chris Dalloul, Anthea Weng, Bradley Rowe, Deven Dong and Coach Dan Wunderlich.

Success is nothing new for Terre Haute South.  The school's varsity team tied for first place nationally last year after posting a near-perfect test score.  Six members from that team returned to make up this year's squad.

"This year's test was more challenging," acknowledged South senior Mark Botros, a veteran TEAMS competitor.  "They threw us some curves this year that required a lot of thought."

Joining Botros on South's winning varsity team were fellow senior classmates Ian Francis, Andrew Keiser, Michael Mardini, Nick Posey and Neelay Purohit; junior Alex Barksdale; and sophomore Krishan Kumar.  The team was coached by chenmistry teacher Dan Wunderlich.  Besides having top overall Indiana honors, the team placed first among schools with 376-475 seniors.

Northview's team had the best score among schools with 176-275 seniors.  The squad featured Ben Buckley, Brogan Lucas, Carson Manke, Evan Pierce, Aaron Pratt, Zepheniah Smith, Kris Snow and Garrett Wiss.  The coach was Kirsten Snow. 

   State Division Champions: Northview High School's A team swept top honors among Indiana Division 5 schools in this year's TEAMS academic competition.  Members of the team were (front row, from left) Kris Snow, Carson Manke, Ben Beckley, Brogan Lucas and Zepheniah Smith.  In the back row (from left) are Coach Kirsten Snow, Garrett Wiss, Evan Pierce and Aaron Pratt.

North Central's first-place team in the division with 4-75 seniors included Trevor Burch, Seth Clark, Jeremy Hunt, Cole Johnson, Tori Leturgez, Tyler Strain, Nicole Swank and Clayton Tincher.  The coach was Chris Siscoe.

Robinson's all-senior varsity team earned top honors among Illinois teams with 76-175 seniors.  Team members were Heather Murphy, Ben Sandiford, Bryant Scott, Jonathan Titsworth, Warren Whithaus, Faith Williams, Eli Wright and Morgan Zellers.  The team was coached by Laurie Vaughn.

Meanwhile, West Vigo took home first-place regional honors in ts division.  Members of the squad were seniors Travis Lewzader, Leslee Walters and Abby Williams; and juniors Taylor Davis and Andy Velazquez.  The team was coached by Alusta Tapy.

Terre Haute South also took home first-place regional honors in the junior varsity competition with an all-freshman team that included Ben Brubaker, Chris Dalloul, Deven Dong, Kush Patel, Shavani Purohit, Bradley Rowe, Brooke Stephanian and Anthea Weng.  This team was also coached by Wunderlich.        

North Central  
Top Division I Team: North Central High School had the top score about small-school teams competing in this year's Indiana TEAMS academic competition.  Team members were (front row, from left) Trevor Burch, Seth Clark, Tori Leturgez and Nicole Swank.  In the back row (from left) Cole Johnson, Clayton Tincher, Tyler Strain, Jeremy Hunt and Coach Chris Siscoe.

Other schools participating in the Wabash Valley regional were Terre Haute North, Clay City, Casey-Westfield and Vincennes Rivet.

Each state championship team is now eligible for state and national recognition.

Medicine is increasingly turning to engineers for solutions to some of its challenges.  Drug design, medical device design and clinical research are all areas where engineering skills are necessary to keep pace with the increasing knowledge base provided by primary research.

TEAMS is organized by the Technology Student Association, a national organization devoted exclusively to the needs of students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).