STEM Center Demo Day 2020: Projects Highlight

July 20, 2020

On June 18, the STEM Center team organized Demo Day 2020, a virtual showcase celebrating projects that our students worked on during the spring semester.  

During the spring semester, our students worked to identify an issues within their communities and prototype ideas to address those issues. At the end of the spring semester, our NYC FIRST STEM Centers, located at Cornell Tech and NYPL's Washington Heights branch, traditionally host an end of the year event open to our community to showcase our student projects.

This year, due to COVID-19, we had to unexpectedly close our STEM Centers and pivot to remote learning. Our team faced a big challenge to transform our curriculum into a virtual construct. Adapting our curriculum and continuing teaching hands-on lessons through a screen was not easy for our team nor for our students. This year, our Demo Day had to move from our STEM Centers to Zoom. Beyond the lack of physical tools and resources, and against the backdrop of the movement for racial justice, our students did a phenomenal job in prototyping ideas that address topics such as mental health, child abuse, design for the elderly, period poverty, and more. 

We invite our community to check out just a few of the projects our students have been working on: 


Student: Genessis Valencia

School: The Young Women's Leadership School of Astoria

Description: “FEMSTRATE's” mission is to bring awareness to period poverty by taking action to help young girls in the school system receive feminine products. Our students conducted surveys to better understand the community need and were planning to learn more about this issue with the support of schools to gather more data. During COVID-19, they were able to further fulfill their mission by working with the NYC Department of Education to provide feminine hygiene supplies at meal sites. You can follow their journey to bring awareness to period poverty on their social media channel: @femstrate.


Student: Giana Amissah

School: University Heights High School

Description: "Elders:Checking Vital Signs" is building a more efficient solution for elders to check their vitals when they are alone. This device allows them to better track and understand their health by recognizing if they require to take their medication or not. This device uses an Arduino connected to a sensor module that measures the changes in the volume of blood and detects the electrical activity of the heart, calculating as a result the measure of blood pressure. It also incorporates an LCD screen that displays the values.


Student: Lisbeth Paulino

School: City College Academy of the Arts

Description: "The Help" is a device designed to support children in abusive homes. It is aimed at giving children a discrete way to call for help when the safety of their living situations is being threatened. This device would be embedded inside an object that the user will wear or keep with them at all times. Some of the components would include a Wi-Fi enabled microcontroller like an ESP32, GPS module, and a button. This would enable the device to log location data, which would be sent via secure server to Child Protective Services or the police.


Student: Daniel Arias

School: Energy Tech High School

Description: "The Heatable Blanket" is a plug-and-play blanket designed to help  homeless people stay warm when living on the street. Daniel was researching materials that are durable and inflammable, in order to create a long-lasting blanket.


Student: Kyara Davila 

School: City College Academy of the Arts

Description: Millions of people suffer from health ailments across the globe, whether it’s heart problems or mental health issues. "Smart Heart" was focused on creating an inexpensive wristwatch with a partnering connecting app to monitor user heart rate. By collected user data and better understanding their health, the "Smart Heart" can contact a user's family/friends in case of an emergency.


Student: Ezzaddin Aldaylam

School: University Heights High School 

Description (Project 1): "Medicine Dispenser & Reminder" is a medicine dispenser that dispenses 10 different types of medicines at any given time. This device has a unique mechanism that accurately dispenses medicine with no damage caused to the pills.

Description (Project 2): "Bluefruit Circuit Playground" is a keychain or a watch to remind elderly citizens of when to take their medicine. Both devices work together to support a user to not forget their medication or to overdose.


Student: Jose Lopez

School: High School for Environmental Studies

Description: The "Vertical Garden" is a vertical gardening system that aims to educate young urban students about the importance of organically grown produce and the basics of maintaining a garden. This vertical garden would take into account water usage, light wavelengths and technology-enhanced harvesting mechanisms to bring efficiency, safety and security to the food industry.


Student: Chelsy Jimenez

School: City College Academy of the Arts 

Description: 3.1 million young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year in the United States. "Mental Health and Video games" is focused on creating a 2D game to tackle issues of depression and anxiety to better support the millions affected by depression.

Thank you to everyone that was able to join, share their ideas, and offer feedback to our students.