BUFFALO, N.Y. — Reuben Lowry is currently in the eighth grade at Starpoint Middle School in Lockport and is the WGRZ's STEM Star of the Month for April 2022.
This past fall semester Reuben excelled in the Environmental Engineering course, winning the class Shark Tank project with his team’s invention: Eco-lunch.
Students in his class were challenged to solve a problem by creating an invention. Reuben and his team recognized the amount of plastic waste in their school cafeteria with the current way utensils were distributed. So, they came up with "eco-lunch."
As Reuben described to Storm Team 2 Meteorologist Elyse Smith, "This is the system we built to solve the problem of plastic in our cafeteria. So we went for a swiss army knife-like system to hold everything you need together. So we have bolted through two pieces of plywood and held together by a screw and a bolt and spaced out by nuts. And on here you have a spoon, fork, and knife for everything you need in the cafeteria.”
Reuben's teacher Michele Isaac teaches both STEM electives offered at Starpoint Middle School. The two classes are Biomedical Science, the seventh-grade elective, and Environmental Engineering, the eighth-grade elective. Michele has had Reuben in class twice now, taking both classes, and agrees that he is an outstanding student worthy of recognition.
“Reuben is such an outstanding student. He truly exemplifies leadership qualities. He goes above and beyond, you can definitely see that. Any project or task that he’s given, he does not just reach for the expectation he exceeds them all the time," said Michele. Qualities that are not only observed by others in the classroom but beyond it as well are seen through Reuben’s involvement with the school’s peer mentor program.
This peer mentor program is called W.E.B., an acronym that stands for "Where Everybody Belongs." And as Reuben described it, "it’s a program to make sixth graders more comfortable in middle school.” He previously had participated as a sixth-grader and is now a mentor for the program as an upperclassman.
“They’re dealing with something hard and you’ve already dealt with it and hopefully well. So you can pass it along in hopes that they will be in the same spot as you so they can join and help out the new wave of sixth-graders,” said Reuben.
And the advice he would give to sixth-grade students about to venture into these STEM classes over the next two years: “They just need to think. They’re STEM, they’re critical thinking classes, to success you need to just think through a problem and find the solution that you find best and you won't necessarily get graded on if you thought about it the right way or wrong way, but if you thought about it your own way.”
If you know of a student who excels in science, technology, engineering, or math-related fields, nominate them to be the next STEM Star here.