Consortium for Digital Learning

Preparing Alaska’s Students for Success in the Global Economy

Kodiak High School Student Team Wins International Europa Challenge

The Kodiak High School team and project sponsor Ron Fortunato of Trillium Learning receive the first place Europa Challenge award in Como, Italy

Como, Italy – The Kodiak World Bridge Team was awarded first place in the 2015 NASA World Wind Europa Challenge, an annual university-level competition that provides “an opportunity for the world’s ‘best and brightest’ to deliver sustainable solutions that serve local, regional, national or international interests.”

Kodiak High School students Levi Purdy, Anna McDonald, John Dunlop, and Kyle Ruotsalainen, supported by project sponsors Ron Fortunato of Trillium Learning’s World Bridge Projects, and Neil Moomey, submitted the winning entry: a Global Earthquake Forecast System (GEFS) project that uses data from sensor arrays to identify pre-earthquake signals in advance of a seismic event.

The Kodiak team’s project was the first-ever submission from a high school to compete in the Europa Challenge. While facing stiff competition from nine international universities and businesses, the GEFS project received a perfect score of 100 from two judges, something never before seen in previous competitions. Five other judges also gave Kodiak their top scores. As a result of their victory, the students have received accolades from the international scientific community. NASA World Wind Project Manager Patrick Hogan declared, “The Kodiak team has raised the standard of excellence for the Europa Challenge.”

The Chief Technical Officer of a top European Geospatial company offered praise to the Kodiak team saying, “Congratulations to your scientists. Calling them high school students doesn’t do justice to their work.”

The Kodiak High School Europa Challenge Team, one of Trillium Learning’s World Bridge projects in Alaska, partnered with NASA Ames Research Center to develop the GEFS project, a web-based World Wind mapping application to aid in the furthering of pre-earthquake signal detection research. The application’s unique vector visualizations are also helping earthquake triangulation efforts.

The GEFS application helps not only scientists, but also provides the public access to this information in an easy to use format. Students from other Alaska school districts will now be able to access data and visualizations, and use the information in their local school-based research programs.

The students gave thanks to their project partners, mentors and supporters, including the NASA Ames Research Center, Trillium Learning, Intelesense Technologies, Kodiak Island Borough School District, Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, Craig City School District, and the Copper River School District.

The Association of Alaska School Boards’ Consortium for Digital Learning (CDL) initiative works with and supports A World Bridge Project (formerly America Bridge) to offer Alaska school districts innovative STEM-based programs that enable students to participate in authentic learning opportunities, and contribute in meaningful ways to real-world projects impacting their communities. To date, a variety of World Bridge projects have been launched in nine Alaska school districts.


A World Bridge Projects

Europa Challenge 2015 Projects

Kodiak High School Europa Challenge Team website

Kodiak High School Europa Challenge Team GoFundMe

For More Information contact Dr. Robert Whicker, Director, Consortium for Digital Learning.


The 2015 Europa Challenge award