Local student attends iYES event

TROY — The dreams of today are the technology of tomorrow is the attitude of two local girls, Leena Vyas of Tipp City and Sydney Conn of Winchester, Ind. The girls, along with their teacher and mentor Katy Watson of Miami Montessori in Troy, attended the International Earth Youth Summit (iYES) in New York City, Nov. 11 -14.

The experience was presented by the Montessori Model United Nations and according to their literature, “… the iYES is an interactive and engaging experience where students develop important leadership skills and action plans to create a more sustainable world … (it) is an immersive experience where students aged 13-18 develop plans to implement on their return home.”

Both high school freshmen created a charger that uses the wasted potential energy of a moving vehicle to charge small electronic devices. While in NYC, the girls attended learning seminars to help launch their own Non-Government Organization (NGO). These seminars, taught by Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) graduate students, addressed finding and securing community partners and resources as well as financial management, record keeping and structuring a team. Leena and Sydney then presented their idea and a working prototype of the Breeze Charger to United Nations (UN), NGO experts and conference attendees.

The presentation was well received and the girls were able to secure commitments from several investors and international mentors including a businessman willing to donate supplies to aid the Breeze Charger’s aerodynamics. The students will use the next several months, with guidance from Watson and UN and NGO mentors, to produce 10 working Breeze Chargers with the eventual goal of offering the product for use in underdeveloped countries and to a larger market.