U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, met last month with students from Troy Howard Middle School and congratulated them for their selection as regional finalists, and as one of only five STEM-in-Action grant recipients for the 2016 eCYBERMISSION Challenge.

The challenge is a web-based Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) competition for sixth- through ninth- grade teams.

The Troy Howard eighth-graders worked together to develop small-scale merry-go-round prototypes with a pulley-system and motor. Through their research, they discovered that their final prototype was capable of generating 8.44 volts of electricity.

For its collective efforts, the team — Grace Fitzjurls, Sydni Moores, Joshua Chun and Vincent Bonarrigo — was awarded a $5,000 grant.

Administered by the National Science Teachers Association, the eCYBERMISSION challenge is sponsored by the Army Educational Outreach Program. AEOP awarded the $5,000 grant, which the team will use to build a larger version of its merry-go-round power generator with the help of a University of Maine engineering student.

“Congratulations to the impressive team from Troy Howard Middle School for their innovative STEM project,” King said. “Through their hard work and creativity, they are exploring a truly remarkable source of energy using school playground equipment.

"STEM education has never been more important than it is today, and as these students prove, science and engineering can open doors and create new opportunities," he said. "The team has made Maine proud.”