Booz Allen Celebrates Student Solutions to Global Water Challenges

Aug 16, 2018 9:35 AM ET

Booz Allen Hamilton’s employees are dedicated to giving back to their local communities and affecting positive change on a global scale, and the firm supports a number of nonprofit organizations that reflect its employees’ passions and skills. For 14 years the firm has partnered with FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology), a not-for-profit organization that inspires young people’s participation and interest in science and technology. In June, Vice President Brian Pickerall represented the firm at the FIRST® LEGO® League Global Innovation Award ceremony in San Jose, California, where student teams (ages 9-16) from around the world were recognized for their exemplary water use solutions developed during their participation in the 2017 HYDRO DYNAMICSSM Challenge.

The winning solution—HYDROBALL, developed by Team FSINGENIUM of Pamplona, Spain—is a tennis-ball sized water conservation tool that gets buried in the soil and precisely measures how much water is available for crops. It provides the user with real-time data via smartphone 5 technology. With a dual sensor and battery life of seven years, the HYDROBALL measures both the moisture in the soil and the tension with which the land retains water – that is, the amount of water available for the plant.

Brian Pickerall said of HYDROBALL, “This inexpensive, ingenious device would allow farmers to get the most out of their crops with the least amount of water waste. It’s good for the farmers and good for the planet.” He added, “At Booz Allen, we are always looking for smart, technical people to work on our clients’ toughest problems. FIRST gets kids excited about science and engineering at a young age, and helps grow a strong pipeline of STEM talent. We love to support FIRST because creating a strong workforce is good for Booz Allen, and good for the world.”

Submissions were reviewed by a panel of expert judges, who then selected a winning team and two runners-up after a series of interviews, presentations, and review of documentation, which included engineering change notices, outlining barriers to implementation, and design validation with STEM professionals.

The winning team received a cash award of $20,000, and both runners-up each received $5,000 for use in continuing development and deployment of their technologies.

To learn more about FIRST, click here.

To learn about Booz Allen’s commitment to advancing STEM education, click here