High School freshmen take on environmental issues
Courant.com. Anisa Anuar. March 1, 2013.

The many freshmen at ESUMS, the Engineering and Science University Magnet School in New-Haven, are looking into global issues that affect the environment.

From November 2012 to May 2013, four groups of freshmen from ESUMS are competing to solve select issues using responsible design and bio-mimicry, bio-utilization, or bio-assistance in order to compete at this year's Connecticut Student Innovation Expo to be held on May 14th 2013 at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. By doing this, they hope to accomplish something that can help the world, little by little, while gaining knowledge and experience for their futures.

Purus Foods, a 14-member freshman group at ESUMS, is looking into the environmental concern of food and packaging waste. As food is wasted through rotting and time, packaging products like cardboard and Styrofoam are often carelessly discarded. Purus Foods decided to decrease the amounts of waste by creating bay leaf packet insertions while also creating bamboo packaging.

"Our idea is really starting to help me think about the world, and I know that I can make a difference...even though I'm just in high school," said Vanessa Kuhlor, one of the team leaders.

Vanessa, also a member of the group's video team, had originally developed the idea of using bay leaves with her partner, Anisa Anuar, who is another team leader, part of the website group, and the creator of the team's iBook. Their idea had been aimed towards benefiting several countries in poverty and using the bay leaves for food preservation. It was unanimously approved by their peers.

"Purus Foods is an innovative way to help decontaminate foods and is the most efficient way to do so," says Gayatri Sivalenka, part of the research group and whose group originally came up with the idea of using bamboo for packaging. Purus Foods managed to incorporate the idea into their plan, as both issues of food and packaging waste were related and they hoped to solve either one with their final product.

As May approaches, the hard-working students at ESUMS hope to achieve their goal and to have also contributed to the solution to many environmental issues. They plan to have multiple assets at use, including an app, an iBook, and many more multimedia utilities available to demo at their Expo booth, in order to spread their message across.

The Engineering and Science University Magnet School in New Haven allows students to explore their mind and imagination in various ways and using several different methods, including the science fair, the CT Student Innovation Expo, debate club, and robotics club.

The members of Purus Foods include: Ahmad Keita, Wallingford; Anisa Anuar, West Haven; David Papcin, Ansonia; David Dymarczyk, East Haven; Deontae Merrit; Destiny Woods; Gayatri Sivalenka, Milford; Hana Bidon, West Haven; Irving Gutierrez; Marianna Barbosa; Tara Minaee, East Haven; Vanessa Kuhlor, Wallingford; and William Stark, Milford. The teachers supervising the group include Ginger Meetze and Leon Tynes, the biology and technology teachers at ESUMS, respectively.

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