Friday, May 27, 2005

They called it "Stinky."

Stinky was the reason four high school students from the mean streets of West Phoenix won a national engineering competition last year against several colleges, including what might be considered the mother of all engineering universities: M.I.T.
Stinky, so named for the unfortunate stench of the glue used to create it, is an underwater robot that is able to perform a number of tasks that simulate a submarine salvage operation. Last summer, Lorenzo, Oscar, Christian and Luis, students at Carl Hayden Community High School in Phoenix, built it from scratch. They brought it to the national underwater remotely operated vehicle championships to go up against several colleges, and shocked everyone (including themselves) by winning. Stinky, as it turned out, didn't really stink.
So where are those students now? Harvard? Cal Tech? Maybe...M.I.T.? Think again. They are undocumented Mexican immigrants and they don't qualify for financial aid -- and obtaining in-state tuition in Arizona is difficult, if not impossible. For them, and the estimated 65,000 undocumented students who will graduate from U.S. high schools this year, the path to higher education is full of more than a few roadblocks. But there are many people who feel those roadblocks are rightful and necessary provisions of the law.
Theirs is a story about what happens when the underdogs trump everyone's expectations?and what happens after that.

Watch Nightline tonight (check your local listings) to hear more of this story. Sounds like it should be quite interesting!

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