Each year, the World Affairs Council of Connecticut awards a student or group of students with the Global Engagement Award at our Luminary Award Gala.
The Global Engagement Award reaffirms the CTWAC’s commitment to global education by recognizing extraordinary high school students who address global issues by taking their classroom knowledge into the world.
This year, we wanted to highlight students who are makers, innovators and creators–in other words, those who make the world.™
We are proud to announce the 2019 Global Engagement awardee and honorees. These students are enthusiastically addressing major global issues and changing the world in their wake with their research, inventions and persistence.
Global Engagement Awardee: Arya Bairat
Project: EES Sustineri
SDG: Affordable and Clean Energy
Arya is a serial inventor. He has participated in the Connecticut Invention Convention as well as the National Invention Convention for several years. Arya is focused on developing sustainable methods to produce low-cost, renewable energy, in line with UN SDG Affordable and Clean Energy. Therefore, as a high school sophomore, he developed EES Sustineri, a low-cost wind energy system.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), “the current estimate of wind energy potential is 10x the amount of electricity consumption for the entire country.” Currently, wind power accounts for only 4.4% of America’s total energy consumption. Disadvantages of the widely-used Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) include limitations in urban areas due to high space requirements, noise pollution and safety of avian creatures. Additionally, these turbines require relatively significant winds (5-10 m/s, minimum) to generate optimal and usable power and are not cost efficient in comparison to conventional fossil fuels.
Arya’s EES Sustineri system uses a three-pronged approach:
- Inexpensive 3-D printed wind turbine technology
- Piezoelectricity (converting mechanical stress into an electrical charge)
- Photovoltaic effect (solar power generation)
These three different power generation mechanisms are combined into a single device to provide a reliable source of electrical power which can work without the same requirements of today’s large-scale wind turbine systems and can be used in areas outside of the traditional electrical grid as well.
Why its remarkable:
3-D printing hardware makes the parts of EES Sustineri cheaper and more accessible
This invention combines both wind and solar energy sources to make a more efficient turbine
EES Sustineri incorporates an innovative, new energy storage device:
- A supercapacitor is an energy storage device that significantly outperforms batteries, lasts for over a decade, and does not use environmentally harmful chemicals to store energy like batteries
- Traditional supercapacitors mount onto the surface of a device, but their rigid shape makes it difficult to apply them to organic shapes and they are easily damaged
- To create a more flexible supercapacitor, Arya researched and found two low cost materials to create a paint-on fabrication that adheres to a wide variety of surface types and stores energy even when the sun is down or wind speeds aren’t high
The optimal outcome of this hybrid and flexible energy capture-storage design would be: damage-resistant energy collection systems on wind turbines and collection of more energy at low costs and higher energy densities. Arya’s future goals are to be able to provide low cost, sustainable power to remote areas where power production facilities do not exist, using a combination of materials that are readily available.
Check out Arya’s video explaining his invention here:
Global Engagement Honoree: Nour Al Zouabi
Project: Research on cancer-causing mutations and community service and outreach
SDGs: Good health and well-being & Peace, justice and strong institutions
Nour and her family lived as Syrian refugees in a Jordanian refugee camp before being resettled in Connecticut two and a half years ago. Since then, she has learned English, adapted incredibly well to her community and unceasingly bettered herself through her studies, community outreach and research.
Nour’s research is focused on the BRCA1/BRCA2 gene in women. Women with mutation in BRCA1/BRCA2 gene are at a higher risk for developing ovarian cancer. Nour’s research is focused on identifying new drugs that serve as safe and effective new options in the treatment of BRCA1/BRCA2 mutant ovarian cancer. As she enters college next year, Nour hopes to continue to conduct research at Yale Medical Research laboratories and in the future, pursue an MD.
When she isn’t researching cancer-causing mutations, she is volunteering in her community. Nour’s first tour of community service began while she lived as a refugee in Jordan; she assisted in organizing medical appointments and distributing medicine. Now, she is involved in a plethora of activities in New Haven. She is the founder and president of the UNICEF club at Hillhouse High School, participates in healthcare conferences, women’s leadership programs and community food/gift distribution and assists refugee and immigrant families with a variety of services as they transition to life in the US, among other things.
Global Engagement Honoree: Sarah Cohen
Project: Fundraising for South Sudanese water well
SDG: Clean water and sanitation
Sarah devotes countless hours to helping others without any thought of personal recognition. She and her friends created Activism Club at their high school in response to the school shooting in Parkland, FL and she serves her community through other church-related activities. Furthermore, she engages in local politics by canvassing and phone-banking for politicians she feels will be most beneficial to our society as a whole. Her main focus, though, is fundraising to provide enough money to dig a well in a South Sudanese village.
Sarah has organized chili cook-offs, sold hot dogs from a stand, and sold handmade holiday cards in order to raise the funds needed for the water well. So far she has raised $12,000 of the $15,000 required to dig a well and writes thank you notes to all who have contributed.
Sarah realizes that raising money is not the only requirement to solve a problem: she believes it is important to educate others on an issue as well. As a result, she created a website to organize her progress and educate others about the importance of access to clean water and how it may positively impact the culture of a village in South Sudan.
Check out Sarah’s website here: smcwaterproject.wixsite.com/fundraising