A new club has recently been introduced to MHS. The Technology Student Association, or TSA for short, is based around the interests of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). According to Anastasia Elefante, one of the leaders of the MHS team, the club covers a wide variety of topics, from “computer design, to robotics-related inventions, to architecture, to even fashion design”. The club has expanded nationwide, and the TSA teams from various schools often compete against each other in regional, sectional, and national competitions.
These competitions can range from creating a portfolio, constructing a machine with very detailed instructions, and participating in a technology debate panel. For the New Jersey TSA teams, these competitions take place at the College of New Jersey. All projects are judged differently as they are applicable to varying topics. For instance, Anastasia notes that her current project involves creating a pop-up storybook relating back to the core STEAM topics. Another pending project is the design of a “miniature home” using a storage container complete with electrical appliances and furniture. Overall, the goal of TSA is to utilize these STEAM principles to benefit the world around us, and turn it into a more efficient place to live.
Although the club is a new addition to MHS, the TSA presence in Madison and Harding has existed previously. In fact, the TSA club that was active throughout Harding Middle School was led by current member Anastasia Elefante, along with her co-presidents Bella Martin and Drew Johnson. Along with contributing another outlet for students to display their different talents, the members of TSA believe that their club combines the technological elements of robotics and the scientific challenges of the physics team, only in a broader and more competitive environment. As stated by Anastasia, “TSA is meant for everyone, and one doesn’t have to necessarily excel at math or science to do well” due to the large window of possibility.
I also had the opportunity to speak with the club’s advisor, Mr. Fisher, about what else makes TSA unique. “The participants in this club range from grades K-12, and it’s really great because it gets them involved in problem solving for STEM related projects,” says Fisher. “Many of these students did it and middle school, and were very excited about bringing it to the high school. The kids themselves run the meetings, too, and they’re so passionate about it, so I really just supervise while because they’re already off and running.” In addition to helping guide the students through choosing projects, Mr. Fisher helps collect sponsors from the Madison Education Foundation in order to pay for supplies. In short, enthusiasm for the formation of the new club is high. “It’s all about using ideological topics to see what you to make a change,” adds Fisher.
Although little time has passed since the club’s first meeting, the plans for TSA are already in full swing. While some members are primarily focused on conceptual problems, such as the biotechnological design of vaccines, others focus primarily on projects of physical construction, including building LSRAV dragsters and designing children’s pop-up storybooks. These, along with other topics for 2016, can be found on the TSA website, www.TSAweb.org .
TSA meetings take place every Wednesday in room C28, and they are always looking for new members!