AFRL challenge competition to test spring break high schoolers – Natural Self Esteem

ROME — The Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate’s STEM Outreach program, operated by the Griffiss Institute and the Innovare Advancement Center, will host the 13th AFRL Challenge competition held in-person for high school teams during Spring Break week .

The 2022 AFRL Challenge Competition will be held at the Innovare Advancement Center and will begin on Monday April 11th and end on Friday April 15th.

The Challenge competition is an annual STEM competition initiative for local high school students. Taking place during a week when students are on school vacation, it aims to provide a more realistic look at the types of high-tech problems facing the nation today and how engineers and researchers are analyzing and solving those problems. The best explanation to describe the competition is – “mental marathon”.

Teams will receive the challenge issue when they arrive on Monday morning and will have the next three days to solve it. AFRL engineers and scientists will be available throughout the week to answer questions related to the challenge issue.

Friday morning judging is followed by an awards ceremony to support, congratulate and celebrate tomorrow’s technology leaders.

“It will be an incredible benefit and opportunity for many of those attending to be able to exchange ideas from local engineers for a week,” said Melissa Tallman, Innovare Community Coordinator.

The AFRL challenge competition gives many participants a new perspective on the field of engineering and they learn about the work that takes place at both the Air Force Research Laboratory Information Directorate, the Griffiss Institute and the Innovare Advancement Center.

Again, the students apply for college scholarships. The first place team will each receive a $3,000 sponsorship, the second place team members will each receive a $2,000 sponsorship, the third place team will each receive a $1,000 sponsorship, and the fourth place team will each receive a $500 sponsorship USD.

“We’re excited to be hosting the competition in person again this year,” said Jeffrey DeMatteis, AFRL/RI STEM outreach coordinator. “This year’s challenge involves machine learning and image classification. It’s an interesting topic and relevant to the Air Force Research Lab.”

The seven participating regional high school teams are:

Central Valley Academy

Students: Seth Brownrigg and Eamon Miller; Teachers: Wes Laurion and Kelly Long

Madison Oneida BOCES

Pupils: Dylan Snow and Caulin Young-Oster; Teacher: Michael Briggs

Oneida High School

Students: Kaleb Lanz and Jonathan Litwak; Teacher: Pete Gillander

Rome Free Academy

Students: Kenneth Davis and Colyn Seeley; Teacher: Albert Bangs

Thomas R. Proctor High School

Students: Jonathan Howard and Hsa Moo Paw; Teacher: Jessica Dubois

Founding school of the Academy of Sciences of Utica

Students: Mohamed Alhyawah and Muamer Huseinovic; Teacher: Harun Seker

Westmoreland High School

Students: Sean Hyde and Joshua Suber; Teacher: Nicholas Darrah.

More details

The Griffiss Institute is a nonprofit STEM talent and technology accelerator for the US Department of Defense and an international network of academic, government, and industry partners. Since 2002, the GI has served the Air Force, the Mohawk Valley region and the United States, empowering diverse teams with talent and technology development programs that lead the nation in technology and business.

The Innovare Advancement Center is a 150,000 square foot hub for open innovation that brings together world-class scientific, technical and entrepreneurial talent from academia, government and industry to address emerging challenges in artificial intelligence, machine learning, cybersecurity, quantum and unmanned aerial systems .

Innovare’s unique capabilities include highly specialized laboratories for experiments in quantum communications and neuromorphic computing, 40,000 square feet of high-tech, high-speed communications spaces for collaboration, an auditorium with a capacity for more than 250 people, and an access point to the New York UAS test site and in the A research and test facility for indoor unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in spring 2022. Visit for more information.

About the AF STEM Outreach Program — The goal of the AF STEM outreach program is to nurture a new generation of scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technologists who will one day discover and solve problems in the nation’s defense laboratories and other supporting US companies.

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