Julia and Felix kicked off the last day of the finals with their presentation of the Park Lodge they created for the Architectural Design project. According to the specifications, it should be environmentally friendly and designed for 12 rangers. The team created a vivid 3D model for the lodge in Mount Rainier National Park, and began working on a physical model. Their building has a shape that immediately catches the eye and a well-planned concept of how 12 rangers can live there together over a period of several months.
Keanu and Lara S. showed their talent and diligence afterwards with their presentation of the Video Game Design project. The assignment, "An arcade game for a museum," called for creating a video game that could appear as an arcade game in a museum. The team decided on a 2D runner game with dinosaurs. The player can learn about dinosaurs and understand their way of life in a playful way and with a very appealing design.
After that Nils, Arthur, Johannes and Geriet showed the project webmaster with a comprehensive presentation. They presented the newly designed website of our TSA chapter, which was designed this year with an underwater theme. Programming was done with Django (Python) as backend. Also, the website was made available in Spanish and French in addition to English and German.
The last project presented at this year's finals by Sophia is Digital Video Production. A short film of around three minutes in length was to be made on the theme of "A day in the life". The team decided to use the theme of a cancer survivor to draw attention to the everyday nature of this disease and to spread hope. The film, which had already been shot and edited, showed in high quality the protagonist, who learns in the course of the story that she has been able to beat cancer, thus taking the audience on an emotional journey.
At the end of this long third day, all team members left the room and headed home, somewhat excited, while the Officers and Advisors, with the assistance of some alumni, stayed behind to make a decision on who would get to represent the Chapter at the National Conference this year. The following day, the names of those who will be going on the trip to Dallas were announced, causing some happy and proud faces and only further motivating the others to continue to step on the gas in working on projects next year.
We are already looking forward to Nationals this summer!
Freshly strengthened from the weekend, the finals went into the second round on Monday, 11.04.2022. We started with the presentation of the Children's Stories project, which was held by Johanna and Marlene. Children's Stories is about creating and illustrating a children's story. This year, the story should address the target group between preschool and first grade and introduce children to the field of engineering. The story "The Bat That Carried my Dreams" is about a protagonist who believes in her goals. After losing a competition in her childhood, she remembers the idea she had then in adulthood and refines it so that she and her research team can win an important competition. Through the story, reading children can be motivated to believe in themselves and learn about the field of engineering through the idea that the protagonist deals with in the course of the story. In doing so, the book's child-friendly illustrated pages help guide them into the story.
After the presentation of Children's Stories came - who would have thought it - the presentation of Engineering Design. Felix and Andor showed three approaches to solving the infrastructural problem of medical care. They presented the concept of Plastic Roads for an environmentally friendly, faster and cheaper road construction, as well as "Telehealth" and "Telemedicine", which serve the communication between patient and doctor. Very "impressive" was how they showed their self-built and 3D-printed drone.
After that, a more creative project was presented again. Sophia and Helena showed self-shot photographs on the topic of challenges. These represented different aspects - be it the challenge to "keep all balls in the air", i.e. to coordinate one's own life and to master challenges, the psychological challenge to accept oneself or the global challenge of consumption, which is getting out of hand in western societies.
Dhruv and Helena concluded this day, which was longer than Thursday, with the presentation of the Biotechnology Design project. This year's theme calls for the development of a solution to cyanobacteria and two other solutions that were considered but ultimately rejected. Their solution called "Ultrasonic Algae Control Technique" minimizes the population of cyanobacteria in the affected water body by up to 90% in an environmentally friendly, effective and cost efficient manner. The associated trifold, which illustrates the solution, was also presented and could be further developed with the help of hints from the alumni.
Due to the large number of projects, this second day was followed by a third day of presentations, at the end of which the officers and alumni would decide which team members would represent the TSA Germany Chapter at the 2022 Nationals in Dallas, Texas.
For the first time in three years, we were able to have our TSA Final Presentations this year! The goal of these is to present the project progress and get more tips and critique for further work, so that we can start armed with more knowledge into the heated final phase of the TSA year. Due to the improved pandemic situation, we were also very pleased to welcome sponsors and alumni in person.
We have divided our project presentations into three days. On Thursday, April 07, 2022, Lara W. and John kicked things off with their presentation of Scientific Visualization. They described the visual implementation of a solution against cyanobacteria and showed their skills with their impressive video, which they had already animated.
Marlene and Frida closed the first day of finals with their presentation of Board Game Design. The goal of Board Game Design is to design and produce a board game. The team decided on a strategy game that combines magical elements and a jag of luck with strategic and planned thinking. The project was able to convince with a sophisticated game principle, as well as with high-quality and creative designs.
After this first day of the finals, we were looking forward to the following ones and were curious to see what would happen next.
This year's TSA Christmas party took place on December 16, 2021. However, due to the prevailing pandemic situation, we were unfortunately only able to make it online for our alumni and sponsors. Nevertheless, in compliance with Corona measures, our chapter met at the school and, with some snacks, presented seven projects, including Biotechnology Design, Architectural Design, and Video Game Design.
But before the Christmas party could start, there was a lot of preparation to be done. The chapter was divided into three groups a few weeks beforehand, one of which took care of the shopping and preparing the buns, the other of setting up the technology and setting up the tables and chairs, and the last of which had to clean up everything and spruce up the auditorium at the end. While the shoppers were desperately looking for the filled gingerbread, the others were already setting up the camera and the microphone so that everything could run smoothly afterwards. After all the technology was set up, the external alumni and sponsors were connected via BigBlueButton and could follow our presentations online and give us tips and criticism. After everyone had presented their projects and everyone's nervousness had subsided, we were still able to give each other helpful tips and support each other. Shortly before the end of our Christmas party, there were still gifts, everyone had a little something for scrap Secret Santa. Everyone rolled the dice one after the other and whoever rolled a six was allowed to choose a gift.
Once again this year it happened: Two weeks before the end of the school year, twelve students and two teachers disappeared from school to drowsily arrive at Leipzig Airport at 4:15 a.m. for a romantic sunrise over the A14 motorway. After a long bus journey, which was interrupted by a very short flight, we then arrived in a gigantic labyrinth also known as Frankfurt airport. All the more we were happy about the quite recommendable film selection of Lufthansa, which entertained us ten hours and 40 minutes on the way to Atlanta. At 3 pm local time we reached our destination and took the subway to the city center.
We moved into our rooms on floors 31, 36 and 62 of the Westin Peachtree Plaza Hotel, the highest building in the city. The view was breathtaking, especially at night and from the outside glass elevator. Exhausted we fell into our beds.
The next day we went sightseeing. At first, we visited the Georgia State Capitol - a magnificent building from colonial times, which contained numerous watercolor paintings by politicians as well as natural and social studies exhibitions. Of course, we didn't miss the chance to take part in the CNN Studio Tours. On the 50-minute guided tour, we gained many exciting insights behind the scenes of the world news station. From there we went through the Olympic Park in the city's heart to the Georgia Aquarium and enjoyed a live dolphin show.
The next day we went to the iconic World of Coca-Cola, which we could hardly leave after an immersive experience in the 4D cinema because the floor in the last room was so sticky from dozens of cola varieties from all over the world. Afterwards, we were actually quite satisfied with our European soft drinks (even though the American ones were quite drinkable, too). Following this stimulating dose of pop culture, it was time for some contrasting though very educational experiences at the Center for Human and Civil Rights. This touching exhibition on human rights violations all over the world has left no one unaffected. Particularly striking was an interactive simulation in which the visitor was being put in the skin of a protester who was insulted and beaten during a peaceful sit-down blockade. In addition to testing the local restaurants, we used our evenings first and foremost to rebuild our competitive event work after the flight and give it the finishing touches.
On Friday evening, the long-awaited day had arrived: This and the following day we worked according to a well-organized schedule to register and submit all projects in time. The conference opened with the Opening General Session at the Georgia World Congress Center in front of thousands of members clothed in navy-blue. In addition to the projects worked out during the school year, we took part in various on-site competitions and regularly kept an eye out for our names on the semi-final lists. We reached this stage six times and proudly prepared for our interviews in which we had to present and defend the projects in front of a jury.
A visit to a baseball game of the Atlanta Braves, which was delayed due to bad weather, loosened up the competition atmosphere a bit. We concluded that Baseball was a very fascinating sport.
On Tuesday morning the final standings were announced: Our team was on stage five times, including the ninth place for Biotechnology Design and the fifth place for Scientific Visualization. Finally, one sentence took our breaths away:
"And the first place trophy goes to a team that came to us all the way from Germany..." we heard three times that day: We won three trophies for Webmaster, Digital Video Production, and - to everyone's surprise - Architectural Design.
Very happy and at the same time sad about having to leave again, we made our way home. We would like to thank all team members, the parents who supported us on our way and, of course, our teachers, sponsors as well as TSA. They are the ones who make it possible for us to embark on this exciting journey every year.