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HCPSS Students Place Third in 2018 National MESA Competition

June 29th, 2018

Howard County Public School System’s (HCPSS) Patapsco Middle School team excelled in the recent Math Education Science Achievement (MESA) National Engineering Design Competition, which took place in Philadelphia. The team placed third in the middle school level for technical interview, prototype pitch and overall for its efforts in developing engineering solutions to a real world problem.

In this year’s competition, an Arduino–a small electronic board–was required as part of the projects. The Patapsco Middle School team built a trash can that prevents recyclable objects from being thrown away. Named R³ for “reduce, reuse, recycle,” the trash can’s lid, with a metal detector, motion sensor and LCD screen, displays a “please recycle” message while remaining shut.

“Recycled items are getting thrown into landfills, which is creating toxic chemicals,” said Patapsco Middle School sixth-grade student Srinidhi Akella. “And that contributes to global warming, so we’re trying to reduce that problem.”

MESA is a nationwide program that advocates for equal access to STEM education. This year, 15 teams of middle and high schoolers competed from across the country, after qualifying at the regional- and state-level MESA competitions.

For more information on MESA, visit