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Albany-area college team makes finalist round in nationwide STEM competition

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Image provided by Sisi Virasakar.
Linn-Benton Community College
A 3-D rendering of the Portable Air Shield System's most current design.

A community college in Albany is one of twelve national finalists in an innovative competition where science, technology, engineering and math are used to find solutions to real-world problems.

Sisi Virasak is with Linn-Benton Community College’s computer science faculty. She told KLCC that her team’s innovation is called the Portable Air Shield System.

“How to protect our firefighters from these large and small particles without having to cover half their face and still be safe," Virasak continued. "We’re basically trying to come up with a device, some pressurized system that allows them to breathe easily, so it’s comfortable, it’s breathable.”

Virasak says Linn-Benton’s team will participate in an Innovation Boot Camp next month. That’s when the first, second, and third place winners will be announced.

The Community College Innovation Challenge is coordinated between the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation.

The full list of all 12 finalists:

● Bergen Community College (New Jersey)Project: The ScanCan: The Intelligent Recycling Bin

● College of Central Florida (Florida)Project: True Wireless ECG

● Columbus State Community College (Ohio)Project: Columbus Kinesthetics

● Des Moines Area Community College (Iowa)Project: The Social Student app

● Front Range Community College (Colorado)Project: The Orca Oil-Separating & Bio-Filtration Vessel

● Linn-Benton Community College (Oregon)Project: The Portable Air Shield System.

● Middlesex Community College (Massachusetts)Project: STEM-finder

● Ohlone College (California)Project: Wave Riders

● Polk State College (Florida)

Project: Osmotically Reversing the Effects of Microplastics

● San Antonio College (Texas)Project: Ocular Horizon

● Santa Monica College (California)

Project: Treatment for HIV-1 Using LRAs, NK-Cells, bNABs

● SUNY Orange (New York)Project: Solar Absorption Repository

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