Georgia Tech Helps Tucker Middle School Students Win National Award for Anti-human Trafficking Device

<p>Tucker Middle School in Tucker, Georgia.</p>

Tucker Middle School in Tucker, Georgia.

With technical assistance from a team of Georgia Tech faculty, students at Tucker Middle School in Tucker, Georgia, have won a combined $80,000 for their efforts to fight against human trafficking. The middle school students were recently named the Community Choice Award Winners in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest—a national competition that challenges public school students in grades 6-12 to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to address real-world change in their communities.

Winning the Community Choice Award garnered the school $15,000 in prize money. As a national finalist, Tucker Middle also won $65,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies for their project to combat human trafficking at the Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.

“This opportunity to support STEM at Tucker Middle School is a fantastic demonstration of how STEM@GTRI’s sustained collaborations with K12 educators enhance our mission to engage, impact, and inspire Georgia’s students and teachers in STEM,” said Tyler Kinner, research scientist at the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI).

“Without Andrea Wright, DeKalb county’s STEM coordinator, and Nathan Williams, Tucker Middle’s STEM coordinator, not only would STEM@GTRI have missed the opportunity to support these students – but the students themselves may never have engaged in the Solve for Tomorrow Challenge. We are grateful for educators across the state who connect with STEM@GTRI to go beyond the classroom walls and connect students with the real-world science and engineering here at GTRI and Georgia Tech.”

STEM@GTRI is the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s K12 outreach program. Funded by the State of Georgia, the mission of STEM@GTRI is to inspire, engage, and impact Georgia educators and students by providing access to experts in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

For their STEM project submission, the students proposed creating a silent alarm unit located inside each airplane bathroom to combat human trafficking. Once engaged, a silent alarm would trigger, immediately notifying on-site authorities. Information regarding the unit, including instructions and a warning of consequences if misused, would accompany each unit in multiple languages. Engaging the unit required precise actions, as to avoid unintentional engagement by curious children, an accidental bump, or the custodial staff while cleaning. The school plans to use the prize money by setting up an innovation lab at Tucker Middle.

To provide ongoing technical guidance on the technology design and continued feedback on the overall design of the solution, Clint Zeagler, senior research scientist with the Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) and GVU Center at Georgia Tech, met with the Tucker Middle School team frequently.

The team and their teachers also received a special invitation to sit in on a teacher professional learning session through GTRI’s Explorer’s Guild program, where they learned 3D modelling concepts and skills. As the Tucker team advanced through the competition, eventually to the Samsung top ten national finalist stage, STEM@GTRI and IPaT continued to support the team by providing technical guidance, mock judging, and pitch coaching. Georgia Tech faculty support was provided by Therese Boston (GTRI), Clint Zeagler (IPaT), Kevin Berman (GTRI), and Tyler Kinner (GTRI).

Since its inception in 2010, the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest has awarded $18 million in Samsung technology and classroom materials to more than 2,500 public schools in the United States.

About the Georgia Tech Research Institute
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) is the nonprofit, applied research division of the Georgia Institute of Technology. Founded in 1934 as the Engineering Experiment Station, GTRI has grown to more than 2,700 employees supporting eight laboratories in over 20 locations around the country, and performs more than $600 million of problem-solving research annually for government and industry.

Each day, GTRI's science and engineering expertise is used to turn ideas into workable solutions for our customers. We take the best ideas, often co-developed with our Georgia Tech academic partners, and turn them into systems applications that provide a significant technological advantage over other approaches.

About the Institute for People and Technology
The Institute for People and Technology (IPaT) brings together researchers from across Georgia Tech to support world-class research, engage students, and collaborate with industry, government, and nonprofit partners. Our goal is to maximize Georgia Tech’s societal impact through people-centered innovation. IPaT supports and connects faculty and students across the entire Georgia Tech campus by blurring the lines between academic disciplines and partnering to translate research results into real-world use.


Media Contact:
Walter Rich
Research Communications, Georgia Tech

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