High school students win impressive engineering competitions under WMU professor’s guidance

A team of local high school students recently won two prestigious engineering competitions thanks, in part, to the guidance of Dr. Pnina Ari-Gur, Western Michigan University professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, and her students. Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center students Anna Puca and Julia Strauss first won the Southwest Michigan Science and Engineering Fair for their project SmartCane Mobile Application for the Wearable White Cane. Their project was part of the Virtual White Cane that WMU students are developing under Ari-Gur’s mentorship.

Winning the local competition qualified Puca, a junior at Kalamazoo’s Loy Norrix High School, and Strauss, a Portage Central High School junior, for the international Intel Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) where they won the Joining Forces for the Community Award presented by GoDaddy.  The Intel ISEF, a program of Society for Science & the Public, is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition.

Congratulations, Anna Puca and Julia Strauss! We’re proud to have you as part of the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences’ community.

The research was made possible through the financial support of WMU's Faculty Research and Creative Activities Award as well as a generous donation from Lawrence and Carrolyn Kopka, whose son, David (BS '89) is gratefully acknowledged.