Foxcroft Celebrates Next Generation of Women Leaders in Science, Technology Engineering and Math

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Foxcroft School’s Team Derivative is recognized for beating 19 teams to win the K2M STEM Summit High School Championship held at Foxcroft, demonstrating leadership and excellence in crucial math, science and technology fields.

Foxcroft School students were recognized this week for winning the individual team and school championships at Expedition K2M: the STEM Summit, a challenging all-girls competition held on Foxcroft’s campus Saturday.

At an all-school meeting Monday, Foxcroft’s Head of School, Mary Louise Leipheimer, congratulated the winners, their fellow participants, and the School’s high-powered Math and Science faculty for organizing an outstanding event. “What these girls can do in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Science is amazing,” Leipheimer said. “I don’t know when I’ve been so proud of our School for its leadership, creativity, and entrepreneurial” spirit.

Expedition K2M: The STEM Summit attracted a breadth of talented students from Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC, with 19 high school and 12 middle school teams participating in the all-day competition. Norwood School of Bethesda, MD, won the middle school competition.

At the STEM Summit, girls worked in teams of 3 or 4 to solve problems that draw on STEM skills. Challenges included engineering a brick wall with the longest possible overhang, mixing chemical solutions to identify each element, solving a genetics problem called “Who’s Your Daddy?” and conquering tricky logic problems. The middle school competition also included a forensics exercise that involved analyzing fingerprints and fiber samples.

The event was sponsored by K2M, Inc., a Leesburg, VA firm that develops technological innovations for surgeons to treat the world's most complex spinal disorders. Two of the company’s young engineers conducted one of the STEM Summit events, and CEO Eric Major came to watch.

“We were so impressed with the energy, enthusiasm and intellectual curiosity of the Foxcroft girls who visited our lab last spring,” said Major, referring to a field trip by the School’s Engineering and AP Biology classes to learn about K2M innovative engineering, “So we thought partnering with Foxcroft to sponsor this event made a lot of sense.”

Foxcroft’s leadership in STEM education was a prime motivator for creating the event. “Providing an environment that combines the use of academic skills to solve exciting real-world with competition in a team setting can be powerfully motivating,” said Foxcroft’s Science Department Chair, Dr. Maria Eagen, who holds a PhD in Aerospace Engineering Sciences. “By offering this event every year, we hope that participating schools will develop programs that help their students be more competitive. Ultimately, we hope that it will foster a life-long love of the STEM fields.”

The high school Summit concluded with a luncheon at which medals and other prizes were awarded to the champion “Derivative” team comprised of Foxcroft seniors Chloe Jung, Cindy Li, and Hazel Yan and junior Lexy Lu. Team Derivative won two individual events and was the top-scoring team overall by a large margin. Foxcroft also took home the trophy for winning the school competition. .

The Incomplete Dominators, a team from Loudoun Valley High School (Purcellville, VA) placed second while Middleburg Academy’s Zephyr team and the Nova entry from Madeira School (McLean, VA) tied for third. Nova also won an individual event, as did another Foxcroft team comprised of junior Olivia Saez and sophomores Melody Kabbai and Alicia Gordon.

In the afternoon, Norwood School’s “Dimension” team took first overall among 12 middle school. Loudoun Country Day’s “Pi” team placed second, while third went to Immanuel Christian’s “Mitosis” entry. All day, individuals could answer questions and problems to qualify for a drawing of fantastic gifts ranging from movie tickets, iTunes, and a massage to a flip camera, electronic tablet, and a Kindle touch.

Founded in 1914, Foxcroft School is a college-preparatory boarding and day school for girls in grades 9-12. The school is located on 500 acres in Middleburg, Virginia, 50 miles west of Washington, D.C. It is accredited by the Virginia Association of Independent Schools and is a member of The Association of Boarding Schools, National Association of Independent Schools, and National Coalition of Girls Schools.

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