WASHINGTON (22 February 2008) — Harding
Middle School of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, won the
IEEE-USA Best Communications System Award during
the National Engineers Week Future City
Competition National Finals on Wednesday. The
award was presented to Harding at the Hyatt
Regency Washington on Capitol Hill for the most
"efficient and accurate communications system."
team included students Emily O'Brien, 13;
Courtney Strait, 13; and Stephanie Wenclawski,
14; engineer-mentor Gary Bishop; and
teacher-sponsor Jean Oberbroeckling. Bishop is
an IEEE member who works for Rockwell Collins in
Future City Competition, which IEEE-USA
introduced to Engineers Week (EWeek) in 1993, is
designed to encourage the future generation of
engineers. Seventh and eighth grade students
create their own vision of a future city,
working first on computer and then constructing
three-dimensional scale models. More than 1,100
schools and 30,000 students from across the
United States competed during the 2007-08
season. Pilot programs are underway in Egypt,
Sweden and Japan. A spin-off, "Future Cities
2020," is underway in India.
Harding earned its trip to Washington by winning
the Iowa regional competition last month. Its
city, "Celestial," is set in the Amazon
rainforest in 2074.
Celestial's communications system features "xMax,"
which the students described in their city
brochure as providing "a fast, non-line of sight
connectivity between a user and a cell tower. …
Because xMax utilizes single cycle modulation,
it requires significantly less radio frequency (RF)
system also features "Smart Home Programming,"
which can be activated from a cellular device to
turn on your lights and heat, turn off your
water system, notify you in case of a problem in
your home, and contact a worker to make the
members Amarjeet Basra of Annandale, Va., and
Ananthram Swami of Silver Spring, Md., selected
Harding from among the 36 teams that competed at
the finals. The judging was done Monday.
were impressed that they thought about non-line
of sight issues, energy and propagation range,"
Swami said. "Plus, they had built-in
Basra complimented the students on their
thorough presentation. "They had good ideas and
presented them well," he said. "All three
students participated and they were able to
answer all the questions."
IEEE-USA President Russ Lefevre presented each
team member with a plaque. The students will
each later receive a $100 U.S. Savings Bond.
Harding also won the People's Choice Award, an
honor voted on by all the Future City National
Heritage Middle School of Westerville, Ohio, won
the overall competition for their future city,
for additional information.
the first Future City Competition was staged,
about 600 students and 175 schools participated
across five regions. For more on the early
history of the program, go to
Andrews, chair of the Future City Advisory Board
and coordinator of the Phoenix region, is one of
many IEEE members who hold leadership roles
within Future City. The other IEEE-member
regional coordinators are: Sonya Hutchinson
(Alabama region), Dan O'Malley (Northern
California), Osama Mohammed (Florida), Todd
Hiemer (Oklahoma), Jean Eason (North Texas),
Zafar Taqvi (Houston) and Karen Pavletich
IEEE-USA advances the public good and promotes
the careers and public policy interests of more
than 215,000 engineers, scientists and allied
professionals who are U.S. members of the IEEE.
IEEE-USA is part of the IEEE, the world's
largest technical professional society with
370,000 members in 160 countries. See