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2017 Ambassador: Grace Scuderi

24 Sep 2017 Ambassador: Grace Scuderi

Grace Scuderi
Thomas Jefferson High School
Federal Way, WA

 

FUTURE CAREER GOALS

Bring positive change to at least 1 million people as a doctor, biochemist, or bioengineer.

DESCRIPTION OF YOUR SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION WHERE YOU PLAN TO INTEGRATE THIS PROJECT?

Thomas Jefferson High School (TJHS) is a public school with approximately 1800 students. It is an IB school so it focuses on a well-rounded, global-minded education. As an IB school, it offers  a multitude of classes in which aquaponics could be incorporated into such as: IB Biology, IB Chemistry, IB Physics, and IB Computer Science. Other clubs such as biology club and the up-and-coming aquaponics club present the perfect place to integrate the project as well.

WHAT ORIGINALLY MADE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS PROJECT?

After attending the IB World Student Conference in the summer of 2016 at Denver University, I left Colorado in a state of awe. With fellow IB students, we solved the global crisis of food waste and food security. The whole week started with a question: How do we feed 9 billion people  by 2050? It seemed lake an improbable task, but we were determined. Throughout the entirety of the week, a world of minds (literally a world; there were people from Japan and New Zealand) came together to discuss solutions to the issues of food security and food waste. We decided to create an awareness campaign which promoted the use of aquaponics to urge conversation about food security. Unfortunately, the project eventually disintegrated after a few weeks since global communication can be somewhat complicated. Ever since the conference, I have searched for ways in which to raise more awareness of the global issue and engage in some sort of activity to become an  activist for sustainability.

As soon as I heard of Project Feed 1010, I knew I had to be a part of the program. It would be a way for me to show my concerns for the environment and hopefully encourage others to become concerned about the same issues. I am confident that aquaponics has the potential to change the agriculture industry and create a greener, more efficient method of food production.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BRING THIS PROJECT TO YOUR SCHOOL/COMMUNITY?

As a society, we tend to have a proclivity to take the accessibility and availability of our food for granted. With grocery stores and local markets that populate the cities we live in, the supply of food seems endless. However, 795 million people are undernourished around the world, because they do not have the same resources to access food as others. Similarly, we do not realize that on average, we waste $165 billion on food. I have witnessed probably hundreds of school lunches thrown in the trash without any concern, so I would like to educate students about the detrimental effects wasting food has on their ambient environment. Sustainability is a pressing matter in my community and aquaponics could alter the way people think about sustainable agriculture.   

I want to provide a new opportunity for those who wish to further explore their interest in conservationism, because the best learning does not come from inside the classroom, but rather outside of it. Aquaponics will provide the perfect project-based learning opportunity to encourage the students with a passion for  conservation and sustainability.

WHAT CURRENT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE? WHAT TEACHERS/COURSES COULD INTEGRATE THIS PROJECT?

Potential courses: IB Biology (ecology unit), IB Chemistry (study water chemistry), IB Physics (develop the best model/design for an aquaponics system), IB Computer Science (have the students to develop a system to analyze/record the data)

Potential clubs: Biology club (currently inactive), Aquaponics club (the school decided to dedicate its very own club to the activity after I spoke to the principal about the idea)

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

My plan is to develop an aquaponics club to attract students to learn about aquaponics. I will first speak with my IB Biology teacher about becoming the supervisor for the aquaponics club and expand upon about the general idea of what aquaponics is and how it can even be implemented into the curriculum. Then, I will go to the chemistry, physics, and computer science teachers at the school to ask  if they are interested in incorporating aquaponics into their classroom and becoming involved in the club. For example, chemistry students could use test strips to learn how to test the pH of the water.

Once the club is initiated, I can teach the basics of aquaponics to the members in the first week of service. It’s best to introduce the concept before any hands on activity takes place so students have a general understanding of what they will work with. After the basics are covered, the actual monitoring of the aquaponics system will commence. The next meeting will include testing the water for pH, alkalinity, hardness, etc. Students will monitor the tank for 1 month and then will move onto a more advanced concept: attaching solar panels to the aquaponic system. They will learn how solar panels can generate energy for the system and will effectively produce food. Throughout the entirety of the year, students will continue to monitor the system and collect data and by the end of  the year they should be experts on aquaponics!

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU THINK YOU WILL FACE IN GETTING THIS SET UP?

-Raise awareness over food security
-Generate enough funding
-Students’ willingness to learn about aquaponics
-Find someone dedicated to carry on the aquaponics club