Bingham High duo nationally recognized for designing refugee housing

SOUTH JORDAN, Utah — A pair of students at Bingham High School are earning accolades for their work designing a portable shelter for refugees.

Sami Davis and Alicia Kuhlmann took home top honors at the International Science and Engineering Fair in Arizona earlier this month.

“We didn’t think we were going to win,” Davis said. “We just stared at each other and didn’t know what to say.”

Since 2017, the duo has spent hours on calculations and formulas to make the structure work using hexagon shapes bound together.

“Hexagons use the least amount of material, but create the most amount of space,” Davis said.

The dome is designed to withstand harsh elements and protect people from rain and sand.

“This design here is highly wind resistant and can resist winds of 174 miles per hour,” Kuhlmann said.

Both engineers were motivated to tackle this project by their desire to use their talents to help others.

“It’s all about living for the sake of others,” Kuhlmann said.

“It’s someone who if they could help themselves they would, but they can’t,” Davis added when asked why she felt compelled to help refugees.

As they prepare to leave high school and pursue their college degrees, the designers hope their work inspires others to do something that has the potential to make a difference.

“Even if it could just help one, it would have been worth it,” Davis said.

“You can very well change the world,” Kuhlmann added.

The huts are designed to hold up to six people. Each one costs just under $60 to construct.

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