On Saturday evening, April 30, 2016, Muskego High School Seniors, Carlee Blomdahl and Lucas Metcalf had a penultimate educational experience; they heard their names called as Gold Medal winners at the International Sustainable World (Energy, Engineering & Environment) Project Olympiad, (I-SWEEEP) in Houston, Texas. They were chosen as one of the top environmental engineering teams among over four hundred other high school projects from around the world. Carlee and Lucas presented their Engineering Design and Development capstone project, ‘A Device to Filter Mercury from Rivers,’ which they have been researching and developing since October of 2015.
“Getting this award was a surreal experience,” Lucas said. “When they were giving out the bronze awards I had to tell Carlee to stop holding her breath,” Lucas recalled, “when they had finished giving out the silver awards, we thought that was it for us. We never imagined that we would win gold.”
The team was extremely surprised when their names were called; Lucas and Carlee’s project was among a number of other impressive projects that seemed to have a lot of data to back up the work. Carlee and Lucas spoke with six or seven judges during the judging portion of the event, and during the public day were visited by large numbers of students from Houston Public Schools that came to see the fair.
Carlee and Lucas also had some fun during I-SWEEEP; they met people from around the United States and the world, making friends with students from Hawaii, Thailand, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Brazil, Vietnam, and the Philippines. As part of the cultural exchange, the students trade gifts – Carlee and Lucas 3-D printed pieces of cheese. In exchange they received national flags, beads, lei, key chains, and national pins. “I have so many pins on my lanyard!” Carlee said. For Lucas, the most memorable part was getting a chance to handle animals from around the world like a kangaroo, a chinchilla, and lemurs.
Both Lucas and Carlee found it exciting to be in close proximity to other interesting people their age who are solving relevant problems in their own countries. “It made me realize that I really want to pursue a career that allows me to make the world a better place,” said Carlee. Lucas encourages others to work hard to find the answers to questions. “Make up your mind to make a difference in the world.”
Lucas and Carlee will share their presentation, along with other engineering students, on Thursday, May 12, in the Muskego High School Library. Two viewing sessions will be available: lunch time from 11:15 am to 12:30 pm and in the evening from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm. All are welcome to come see the future of engineering.