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Congresswoman Esty Announces Winners of National STEM Competition

Winners announced at awards ceremony at NVCC, May 18, 2014.

Waterbury, Conn. – Naugatuck Valley Community College partnered with Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (CT-5) in the local launch of the first annual House Student App Challenge, a national competition promoting high school STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) student engagement and innovation in mobile programming. The competition was open to all high school students who live in or are eligible to attend public schools located in the 5th District. 

On April 5, 2014, the College hosted an App Workshop led by NVCC computer programming instructor Charles Lasky for approximately 50 Waterbury students to learn about app design and actually try their hand at some basic coding. Students were invited to enter the competition individually or in teams of up to four students, by submitting a YouTube video explaining their application.

 “Empowering students to create and acknowledging their hard work and completion is a powerful way to engage critical thinking and problem solving skills, particularly in the STEM field,” said President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D.

The winners of the fifth district were announced on May 18 at NVCC.

This year’s winners are:

1st Place:

Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy team for their app, “Emergency Messenger.”
Team members included Sean McCarthy (New Britain), Kristopher Marques (West Hartford), and Eliot Serrano (East Hartford). Jim Veseskis, Hartford Magnet Trinity College Academy Technology Coordinator, was the team’s advisor. Their app keeps teachers informed when there is a school emergency, providing them with important information and updates. View their YouTube video:

2nd Place:

Joey Bechard from New Britain High School for his app, “Bus Tracker.”
Joey is a member of the CT Pre-Engineering Program in New Britain. Bus Tracker helps students know exactly where their bus is without using an external GPS. View his YouTube video:

3rd Place:

Brookfield High School team for their app, “BHS MApps.”
Team members included Michael Abbondondolo, Zachary Mangold, James Steel, and Ari Elfenbein. Andrew Hill, Brookfield High School math teacher, was the team’s advisor. BHS MApps is an app to help freshman get adjusted to Brookfield High School. It provides users with the school map and features like a homework planner and SAT prep Question of the Day. View their YouTube video:


The judges for the competition included:

  • Dr. Peter Angelastro, NVCC STEM Academic Division Director
  • Joe Pereira, Stanley Black & Decker Healthcare CIO
  • Felix Cowey, Starbase Deputy Director
  • Bruce Dixon, CT Pre-Engineering Program CEO
  • Tom Maloney, CT Center for Advanced Technology (CCAT) Director of Technology, Research, and Applications.
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