2019-2020 Microsoft EPIC Competition
Early Saturday morning, October 5, 2019, five 7th & 8th Grade girls from Tekoa Academy traveled to Houston to participate in Microsoft’s EPIC competition. After an introduction to Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning by program creator Dr. Cesare Wright, students sat down with N.A.S.A. engineers to identify a global problem and develop a solution utilizing A.I.
Tekoa Academy students Taylor Ardoin (8), Susanah Alvarez (8), Travionna Bailey (7), Senai Flanagan (7), and Lilly Johnson (7); selected rainforest deforestation as the challenge they would like to overcome. The team proposed training AI to identify areas of deforestation using satellite imagery. Then, drones could be used to collect samples to determine the health of the soil. Finally, an army of autonomous rovers could be dispatched, repairing the damage by planting seeds and watering them.
At the end of the day, each team presented their ideas in front of a panel of judges. In my opinion, Tekoa Academy had the best idea. Unfortunately, another team was selected as the winner. In the end, the girls had fun, learned a lot, and look forward to the chance to compete again next year.
Students spent multiple days training with Dr. Lila Ghemri at Texas Southern University.
Tekoa Academy of Accelerated studies received this exclusive invitation to attend the very first Microsoft EPIC (Education Partnerships for Inspired Communities) event.