Name: Ben Burgh
Major: Computer System Engineering
Submission: N3TW0RK: An Analog Game of Digital Communication
Commentary: Ben Burgh’s N3TW0RK is an interactive lesson in basic computer networking, in which each player is a “host” that must share resources with their “neighbors” by shaking hands with them. As the instructions say, “There is no lose state,” which means the players are in the game together, a thematic choice on Burgh’s part, in keeping with networking’s ethos of communication and sharing. The object of the game is, essentially, speed: the faster players share their resources, the better their grade. The lynchpin of the game is the handshake, a choice our judges were intrigued by, as the intangible process of computer networking can often make human touch seem obsolete. Burgh thoughtfully offers plenty of modifications to make the game more or less challenging for different groups. For its thoroughness, accessibility, and potential for a thrilling gameplay experience, we present Ben Burgh’s N3TW0RK first prize in the undergraduate category. Written by contest judge Ariel Ackerly
Name: Kayla McElreath
Major: Geography and History
Submission: The Urban Heat Effect & Climate Change - Video
Commentary: Kayla McElreath created a delightful animated video to demonstrate the effects of urban heat island effect and its impact on climate change. Kayla’s animation design is distinct, yet simple, and the video is well-paced and informative. The contest judges really enjoyed the broad appeal of Kayla’s video and thought it would be a great teaching tool for not only K-12, but adults as well. Lastly, the audience is not only educated on urban heat island effect but solutions are also provided for reducing the effect. Written by contest judge Mazie Bowen
Name: Jenna Scott
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Submission: Reabsorption: A Board Game for Life
Commentary: Jenna Scott creatively applied her classroom learning from her Elements of Physiology course to a board game of the renal system. Clearly knowledgeable of the basic functions of the system, Scott filled her game with creative nuggets throughout. We enjoyed her attention to detail. The game requires players to choose from four different pieces, all of which are based on water consumption: water molecule, ice cube, kettle or water bottle. The goal is to not get reabsorbed and make it to the end of the system, which is incredibly hard, as Scott points out that “99% of filtrate is reabsorbed”. The board game helps emulate these chances and includes a stopping point at the Loop of Henle, where players have a 20% chance of being reabsorbed based on the dice number they roll. Small details such as this, as well as clear, simple, and tidy directions, make Reabsorption an excellent learning tool. Scott’s use of real-life scenarios for her three sets of cards: excretion, reabsorption, and wild cards, along with a colorful board in the shape of the renal system, really caught our eye. We found this to be a clever and informative way to demonstrate a process that happens within all of us. Written by contest judge Kelsey Forester.
Name: Kelly Mayes
Major: Journalism and Ecology
Submission: All That Crawl: An Arthropod-cast - Podcast
Commentary: All That Crawl: An Arthropod-cast by journalism and ecology major Kelly Mayes is a new species of podcast created to educate the public on important issues in science through the lens of entomology. Mayes’s spin on the now-familiar podcast platform makes for an engaging and informative listening experience. The premier episode takes 13 minutes to explore entomophagy — that’s science for eating bugs. Through interviews and first-hand experience, All that Crawl is an exciting new venture that the contest judges look forward to following. Written by contest judge Lindsey Reynolds.
Name: Daniela Murcia
Major: Cognitive Science
Submission: March to Andersonville Prison: STEM Edition - Game
Commentary: In March to Andersonville Prison: STEM Edition, Daniela Murcia poses questions around “fun facts” in which science and history not only connect but intertwine in compelling ways. Her game, intended for fourth- to eighth-grade audiences, shows how the Civil War can be understood through STEM topics like medicine, engineering, mathematics, and agriculture. For example, some of Daniela's fun facts remind us that war is also a story about public health. Another theme in the game is how quantitative reasoning can be used to underscore important historical evidence around death, disease, and destruction.
The game requires players to test, extend, and apply these fun facts in challenging ways, demonstrating Daniela’s belief that students are more “capable of learning complex concepts” than we give them credit for. We can easily imagine students immersed in a future iteration of this game, blithely unsure whether they’re in History or Science class. We award March to Andersonville Prison: STEM Edition Honorable Mention for the compelling example it provides of interdisciplinary STEM engagement, a major goal for the contest. Written by contest judge Chandler Christoffel