Carmel Catholic students shine in STEM competition

Updated 5/22/2020 11:59 AM

After the March 13 sectional competition was delayed and then shifted to online earlier this month, Carmel Catholic High School's Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science team placed second overall to advance to the state competition, which took place May 18-22.

"The students took time out of their busy days to compete virtually. Competition in our region is always very high, so this was quite an accomplishment," said team moderator Suzanne Huntemann.


This is the second time since Carmel began competing in the Academic Challenge that the team has qualified for state and the first time Carmel finished second in sectionals.

Individual medals were won by the following Carmel Catholic students at the sectional competition:

• Bruce Pan, '21, of China: First in Physics and first in Mathematics

• Will DeKeyser, '21, of Grayslake: First in Engineering Graphics

• Emily Hoffman, '21, of Grayslake: Third in Engineering Graphics

• Sullivan Kuhfahl, '21, of Ingleside: First in Computer Science

The 14-member team advancing to the state competition includes seniors Ainsley Dean of Grayslake, Ezzie Posner of Hawthorn Woods and Sabrina Panlaqui of Round Lake; juniors Viola Zhao and Bruce Pan of China, Will Dekeyser and Emily Hoffman of Grayslake, Michaela Miller of Lake Villa, Ashley Phoenix of Mundelein, Andréa Jané of Libertyville and Sullivan Kuhfahl of Ingleside; and sophomores Victoria Nagode and Anna Nagode of Mundelein and Jen Bukowski of Lake Zurich.

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The Academic Challenge in Engineering and Science, formerly known as WYSE, is a STEM competition that challenges students throughout the state with college-level math and science tests and is sponsored by Eastern Illinois University.

Students had a short period of time to prepare for the sectional competition because the announcement of its online conversion came just days before the event was held.

For the state competition, students were given a log in to take their exams by May 22.

The competition offers tests in the areas of biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, mathematics and physics. Tests are presented in a multiple-choice format.

Students have 40 minutes to complete tests that range in length from 30 questions (computer science and math) to 80 questions (English).

The goal of the competition is to foster excellence in mathematics and science while attracting a greater number of talented and diverse students to careers in engineering and the sciences.

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