Students from Highlands’ M.A.S.T. earn 1st place in Green Ambassador Program Sustainability Challenge

Three students from Marine Academy of Science & Technology in Highlands recently earned first place in the Green Ambassador Program Sustainability Challenge sponsored by nonprofit Sustainable Jersey City and Asbury-based solar developer Solar Landscape.

For the winning project, M.A.S.T. students Aiden Mumm, Tyler Smolensky and Dylan Agnese designed a remote-controlled drone designed to take water samples, reducing the need for using boats to conduct the environmental monitoring.

This year, the program attracted students from across the country, with 360 students nationwide enrolled to participate in the Green Ambassador Program.

Second place in the 2023 Sustainability Challenge was awarded to a student at Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, for a project that raised awareness of toxic heavy metals in the soil.

“We are so encouraged by the innovation and energy that this year’s Sustainability Challenge submissions demonstrated,” Debra Italiano, founder and chair of Sustainable Jersey City, said. “Fighting climate change and creating a more sustainable, resilient future will be a hallmark of the generation emerging from today’s schools. These students have identified real-world problems and tackled them with ingenuity and hope.”

The winning projects were selected by a panel of judges from Sustainable Jersey City and Solar Landscape. The Sustainability Challenge is one part of Solar Landscape’s Green Ambassador Program, which promotes sustainability education and the development of high school students across the U.S. who are seeking to affect change within their communities. It offers students a chance to learn about energy, policy, careers, business strategies and environmental issues through a series of prerecorded webinars.

“Our future depends on looking at pressing problems in new ways,” Solar Landscape co-founder and CEO Shaun Keegan said. “These projects serve as an educational opportunity today and a proving ground for tomorrow’s leaders in clean energy and fighting climate change. Congratulations to this year’s scholarship winners and many thanks to Sustainable Jersey City for their partnership.”

The M.A.S.T. team was advised by the Marine Academy’s Principal Earl Moore and teachers Wendy Green and Samantha Moorzitz.