JerseySTEM Future Engineers win 1st Prize at the State Water Filter Competition

April 17, 2017

Saturday March 11, 2017, two members of the JerseySTEM Water Filter Builder Team participated in a Filter  Construction Challenge hosted by American Water Works association in Edison, NJ.  Two high school juniors from JerseySTEM designed and constructed a 5-gallon water filter made of commonly available materials and a standard Home Depot Bucket. Amira Mouline and Alex Shaw participated in a 6 week Environmental and Civil engineering crash course coached by volunteer engineers Nicole Del Monaco and Edith Gonzalez from Jacobs, an international engineering firm with offices in Morristown. They learned about flow rate, pressure, total suspended solids, and water quality. The overall challenge was to design a water filter that would provide the best performance with the least self-weight and cost; it was a lesson on efficiency and real life engineering.


On the day of the competition, the JerseySTEM Filter Builders joined some 16 other teams from NJIT, Drexel, Rutgers, and Rowan Universities. The girls set up their filters and after a first flush with “Contaminated water”, proceeded to measure the performance of their filters. The filter had to weigh less than 50 lb and generate a flow of at least 0.5GPM. The JerseySTEM’s Filter, named “Bernoulli,” filtered out 99% of Total Suspended Solids and ranked 1st amongst all the competing filters in their category.


This challenge was especially unique in that it exposed the girls to decision making and innovation processes, providing a hands on learning opportunity with an applicable lesson in engineering.  The team learned the importance of adhering to a set of parameters while still thinking creatively to arrive at a competitive solution. This practice in collaboration and teamwork makes these types of STEM programs worthwhile for future leaders.


“Working with our mentors allowed us to gain exposure to what Civil and Environmental engineers do day-to-day. This made the actual building and design a lot more effective and worthwhile.  The event itself was very fun as well!” said Amira Mouline and Alex Shaw, both juniors in high school.


The JerseySTEM team has earned a spot at the invitational round taking place on March 22nd in Atlantic City.


JerseySTEM is grateful to Nicole Del Monaco and Edith Gonzalez from Jacobs Engineering for the mentoring they have provided in preparation of this competition. They are part of the JerseySTEM Citizen Educators program that allows local companies and professionals to provide skills-based volunteering, educating the next generation of Scientists and Engineers.


This program was sponsored by Gearhart Law, a premier intellectual property law firm based in Summit, Stashluk Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Generators, and benefited from the initial sponsorship of local digital marketing company, Theorem Inc.  and local logistics company Preferred Freezer Services.


JerseySTEM is a grassroots 501(c)3 operating as a co-op network of Citizen Educators - volunteer parents, professionals, retirees and corporations-  whose goal is to promote excellence in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (“STEM”) education. JerseySTEM’s mission is to bridge the innovation gap in STEM education, the opportunity gap in New Jersey, and the gender gap in society. For more information about our programs, visit or email


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