Mainland High School Takes Top Honors in International Science and Technology Fair

Daytona Beach, FL – June 4, 2009 Mainland High School took top honors with “Suitable for a Disaster,” which described wearable sensors linked with disaster response communications infrastructure, in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s 12th Annual Internet Science and Technology Fair (ISTF), a program administered by the College of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Central Florida in partnership with the United States Department of Commerce.

“It’s encouraging and rewarding that high school students are taking on these larger challenges of understanding how various technology pieces fit together,” said Skycasters President, Mike Kister, who served as the technical advisor for the students’ project. “It’s a positive and powerful statement that speaks well for our future.”

According to Bruce Furino, Director of the ISTF program, “not only have Mainland High School students participated in the ISTF Program for multiple years, but they have also taken national honors every time they participated under the leadership of their physics teacher, Cathy Colwell. She and her students continue to set a standard for other teams to aspire to achieve.”

Cheryl Salerno, principal of Mainland High School, recognized that students from “four of Mainland’s career academies – the Academy of Scientific Inquiry, the Academy of Communication and Multimedia Technology, the Academy of Design and Manufacturing Technology, and the Academy of Simulation and Robotics were represented on the ISTF winning team. The contest is a perfect example of how our academies and programs reach the goal of having students acquire essential knowledge and master high-level skills through the application of real world experiences. Cathy Colwell, Scott Bay, and Drew Hilburn are the quintessential models of teachers who are experts at teaching and coaching students successfully through these types of experiences.”

Each year, student teams apply technology to real-world problems. Students use ISTF Content Guidelines that are based on science standards developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). They work with a practicing scientist or engineer as the team’s technical advisor, and publish their final reports in a student-designed web site that is then judged against others from across the U.S. and other participating countries. Top teams receive certificates of award from the National Medal of Technology and Innovation at the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Patent and Trademark Office.

Colwell stated that her team of students accepted the daunting task of integrating technology from various industries into one multi-faceted communications system. The objective was to provide a platform for interoperability among various disaster relief agencies so that loss of life and property would be minimized beyond current capabilities. With communications and data collection the centerpiece of the system, the team had to decipher the complex world of microwave and satellite communications. According to Bay, “the project was similar to not finding the Rosetta Stone, but actually creating it.”

About Skycasters

Skycasters is a leader in broadband satellite Internet solutions for businesses, including disaster first responders, that need more than traditional terrestrial landlines. Everything in Skycasters’ infrastructure, including teleports, hubs, and the network operating center, is business-grade and company-owned. The equipment at your location is business-grade, and designed to meet the unique challenges of your industry, no matter how rugged the conditions. Skycasters’ 24/7 tech support and customer service in-house experts can resolve any issue that may arise.

Call Skycasters at 800-268-8653, or visit us on the web at

SOURCE Skycasters, LLC.

CONTACT: Media, Michael P. Kister, President, +1-330-785-2100,
or Gordon H. Landefeld, Marketing, +1-330-785-2100,
both of Skycasters, LLC.
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