Engineered to Serve

By Fine Arts Department Chair Julie Fisher

Engineering students closed out the school year with one final design review to share details about the projects they delivered to their respective community partners. A total of four EPICS (Engineering Projects in Community Service) teams designed solutions to unique problems that were identified both on and off-campus.
To serve our Foxcroft community, Eva C. ’24 led her team with a mission to not only illuminate the dark pathways between dorms but to further the School’s green initiative to reduce energy use. Their efforts resulted in a pair of hand-crafted solar lanterns consisting of wood and frosted acrylic panels that were laser cut and assembled in a unique octagonal form. 

Another team taking on an environmental initiative for the School was led by Helen V. ’23. They also used the laser cutter to fabricate signage for our unmarked trails. Posts were mounted and adorned with trailheads, mile markers, blazes, and directional signs to ease navigation. These efforts have been underway since fall 2020 and will continue into the coming school year.

The other two EPICS teams were dedicated to creating educational games for different age groups. The first targeted our Algebra students. Maeve M. ’22 led her team to create a range of digital and physical game boards that reinforce mathematical concepts. A total of three games were designed, paying homage to well-known games such as Jeopardy, Monopoly, and Dungeons and Dragons. 

The other team set their sights on our neighboring schools. Under the leadership of Gabby G. ’23, her team designed and cut stencils to paint blacktop games that target literacy, numeracy, and locomotor skills. A total of seven colorful game designs have been applied since planning first began last school year. They prompt students to leap, crawl, mirror, run, jump, balance, and hop. Designs were implemented at nearby Banneker Elementary School, and a partnership with Aldie Elementary School has been established to apply games on their blacktop in the future.

Below, you can hear directly from some of our 2022 EPICS Team Leaders.

Foxcroft’s Solar Powered Lanterns — Eva C. ’24
“Throughout the design process, there were many different revisions and edits of our light. However, it was inspiring to see the light come to life and watch it turn into a real 3D model instead of a drawing. During the building process, we learned a lot from how to work a laser cutter to cutting wood with a miter saw. Everyone played an important role and was essential to the project. Each member of the group learned how to work together as a team and got to experience how hard it is to make a light. This project gave us some insight into how engineers might work together and showed us that not everything goes as expected. I am proud of my group and am excited to see what these women in STEM are going to accomplish.” 
Foxcroft’s Trail Mapping — Helen V. ’23
“Our EPICS project came from a realization that there were no signs to help point people in the right direction on our campus trails, and that because people did not know how to use the trails, they didn’t use them. We went through many iterations before coming up with the final project. This gave us a glimpse of what it is like to test out a design in the field and workshop issues to find solutions. We used ArcGIS to help mark the trails, and we counted mileage using Strava to help us get accurate measurements. Further, we worked together to split up work so we could get more done. It was a priority to manage our time well in order to complete this daunting project on schedule.”
Banneker’s Blacktop Designs — Gabby G. ’23
“The four designs we implemented this year were a Lily Pad Leap game, a Rocket Ship Run, a Balance game, and a Bear Crawl. Each design was intricately planned out using precise measurements. In addition to our games at Banneker, we planned out the designs for Aldie Elementary. We created stencils for the additional games we wanted to implement and mapped out what we wanted the final design to look like. Although we ultimately were unable to implement our designs at Aldie, future groups who may decide to resume this project will be able to easily carry it out. As a team, we learned how to use the laser cutter in The Innovation Lab to cut the plastic for our blacktop painting stencils, which is something I would not have learned if it was not for this course. As a project leader, I learned to manage my time and communicate effectively with my classmates. Overall, I really enjoyed this project and I hope it can be continued next year by a new EPICS group.”
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An all-girls boarding and day school in Northern Virginia, Foxcroft prepares young women in grades 9-12 for success in college and in life. Our outstanding academic program offers challenging courses, including Advanced Placement classes and an innovative STEM program. Our premiere equestrian program is nationally recognized, and our athletic teams have won conference and state championships. Experience the best in girls' boarding schools: visit Foxcroft.