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HSMC STEM awards East Amwell School District funds to purchase Green Car kit 3/24/2023 Linda O’Brien,

The Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer Counties (HSMC) STEM Ecosystem Consortium awarded East Amwell School District $6,048 to purchase a Green Car kit. The award was presented to Jason Shuler, a computer teacher and technology coach at East Amwell School, during a ceremony hosted by the Flemington-Raritan School District at J.P. Case Middle School on March 23.

“East Amwell Township School is excited for the opportunity to participate in the GreenPowerUSA Car STEM program, where our middle school students will build and operate a green-powered, single-passenger car,” Shuler said. “The students will design, problem-solve, and create a product with real-world applications. In addition, this program promotes valuable collaboration with the local community and other area schools.”

Funded through a grant from Kentfields Foundation, the HSMC STEM Ecosystem award affords East Amwell School the ability to purchase a green car kit through the Siemens Green Car program. This initiative encourages students to design and build their own fuel-efficient vehicles. The kit includes a hydrogen fuel cell, electric motor, battery, and access to online curriculum resources, training, and support.

“Special thanks to the Hunterdon Somerset Mercer County STEM cohort for their support,” Shuler said. “We look forward to what the future holds with this new endeavor.”

Flemington-Raritan School District students in the J.P. Case Middle School Green Car Club helped present the check to East Amwell as the club built the first all-electric green car in New Jersey. Along with club advisers Matthew Kosenky, a J.P. Case Middle School science teacher, and Lisa Coster, a math and science teacher at Reading-Fleming Intermediate School, the students shared their thoughts about the green car program.

Ayaan Jain and Carsen Friedrich, both 7th-grade students, and Finn Gorsline, an 8th-grader, all spoke during the ceremony. They were among nine students at J.P. Case Middle School who have worked weekly to design and build their car, using hands-on engineering and problem-solving skills. The students are eager to spread the word about their work and look forward to a chance to race J.P. Case’s car one day.

“Our club has been researching and trying to reach out to local electric vehicle businesses, so we can get more information on how electric cars work and how we can incorporate the research into our own car,” said Jain. “We have been trying to reach out to businesses who would be interested in sponsoring our club.”

The students shared insights about the process of building their car and the challenges they faced, including improvising when supplies and materials were limited, collaborating together on one project, and relying on each other’s knowledge and skills.

The Green Car program aims to inspire students to pursue careers in STEM fields and fosters the development of innovative, sustainable transportation solutions. The program challenges students to use their creativity, problem-solving skills, and knowledge of engineering and sustainability to design and build a vehicle that can travel the farthest distance possible on the least amount of energy.

Dr. Kari McGann, Superintendent of Schools in the Flemington-Raritan School District, along with Technology Supervisor Ralph Losanno, heads the HSMC STEM Ecosystem.

Established in 2018, the consortium is a national Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Ecosystem focused on providing equitable opportunities for all in STEM. It is comprised of organizations throughout Hunterdon, Somerset, and Mercer counties, business industries, higher education institutions, private and public preschools, local arts organizations, environmental education centers, after-school and before-school providers, school districts, and municipal leaders.

“I am so proud of the work we started here in the Flemington-Raritan School District and that our efforts are branching out to benefit other schools in Hunterdon, Somerset and Mercer Counties,” said Dr. Kari McGann. “A challenge for public schools is to prepare science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-capable students to keep up with demand both in traditional STEM occupations and other sectors across the economy that demand similar competencies. The Green Car Initiative provides a solution to meet this challenge.”

Greenpower Education Trust is a UK-based charity with a focus on student discovery of careers in engineering through the excitement of motorsport. Teams of students age 9 to 25 from around the globe compete at Greenpower events in the UK and other countries, including USA, Poland and China. The annual International Final takes place at venues such as the UK’s Silverstone National Circuit and Goodwood Motor Circuit.

“We need support to help us power up the Greenpower student-built car initiative in New Jersey,” said McGann. “New Jersey lags behind states such as Pennsylvania, Utah, Texas, and Alabama in a Greenpower Electric Car Challenge. The Greenpower Electric Car Challenge has the ability to bring together communities and involve students in opportunities to engage in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics activities in real-world situations. What better way to unite a community than by giving them the chance to cheer on young people who designed and built a racecar with their Greenpower Racecar team?”

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