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tjSTAR Event Showcases Creative Sea Turtle Project Ideas of TJHSST Students

Eleven teams of students lent their creativity to wildlife conservation on June 2nd by brainstorming new ideas for drones used in the Kashmir World Foundation’s (KwF) sea turtle project. The activity was part of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology’s tjSTAR research symposium day.

KwF has been working to develop MiSHELL drones that are able to better track and observe sea turtle nesting and enhance existing protection programs that currently rely on human beach walkers. The fully autonomous drones would be operable day and night in a variety of weather conditions, and would perform the duties of human beach walkers.

KwF’s executive director, Princess Aliyah Pandolfi,, gave three presentations over the course of the day about KwF’s sea turtle project and the MiSHELL drones. After learning about the project, students were divided into teams to produce new ideas for the drones, and identify and resolve potential problems. Students worked on solving issues with drones and computer science, miDNA Analysis, acoustic sensors, and a turtle app, all of which are key elements to the success of the sea turtle project. The eleven teams engineered some fantastic ideas, and Aliyah was truly impressed by the creativity displayed! Even more exciting, the best ideas will be implemented in KwF’s proposed solutions, giving students the chance to truly be a part of KwF’s conservation work.

This was KwF’s third consecutive year participating in tjSTAR. The day was comprised of project presentations by TJ students, a variety of guest speakers, and interactive workshops exploring many different research projects and career opportunities in related fields. The KwF team hosted a booth in the gym where they spoke to students and teachers about the DaVinci Challenge: Build a Drone Workshop and other wildlife projects. KwF had focused on wildlife projects at the 2014 tjSTAR symposium and the DaVinci Challenge at last year’s event, so it was exciting to update the TJ community about the developments in those projects.

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