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Innovative students awarded

A girl, Denali Walrath, and a boy, Bradley Rowe, stand in front of a banner.

What do a renewable snow cone machine and an app for tracking dangerous wildlife have in common? Both are award-winning ideas dreamt up by Nome youngsters. Fifth-grader Denali Walrath and second-grader Bradley Rowe recently took home awards from a statewide competition for innovation in the Arctic.

Walrath, who took first place in the aptly-named Cub Division, says she came up with the idea of tracking animals like bears or musk oxen while picking berries with her family in Nome. The app would alert users if a dangerous animal like a bear or musk ox had been spotted recently at a specific location. Denali’s dad, Doug, says thanks to the researchers who heard her presentation, the app may become a reality.

“It’s an ideas competition, so, when she finished, she was speaking with some of the faculty at UAF in the engineering department,” Doug said proudly. “They noted how they would have undergraduate students or graduate students that could work with her in the future doing the programming and coding, skills an 11-year-old just doesn’t have.”

Rowe, a second grader at Nome Elementary School, was motivated by making snow days home from school more fun. His idea is a machine that uses snowblower blades to churn and pull snow into the machine, roll it into balls, put them into snow cone cups, and add flavoring on top.

You can read the full story and hear from the students themselves here.

Image at top: Fifth-grader Denali Walrath and second-grader Bradley Rowe took awards home to Nome. Their innovative new ideas were honored at a statewide convention held at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

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