2019 PLTW Senior Showcase: The Innovator Awards

Project Lead The Way students from across the KC metro shared their senior capstone projects with the community during the eighth annual PLTW Senior Showcase on April 23 at Kansas City’s Union Station. The event included 479 students from 42 schools, making it the largest showcase of its kind in the nation according to national PLTW officials.

The Innovator Awards

Teachers nominated 75 projects for the Innovator Award competition, which recognizes those projects with market potential. Nominations included 49 engineering projects and 26 biomedical science projects, which more than 50 business leaders and entrepreneurs reviewed during the showcase. These judges identified which projects they would theoretically choose to invest in.

After the judges made their investment decisions, students deposited their “money” in the bank with Commerce Bank providing services to tally the results and recognize the competition winners. Because of a tie, 11 project teams received Innovator Awards. They include:

Fort Osage High

Students posing with award on stage

Fort Osage students Hailey Chase and Chloe Harris (center) pose with(from left) PLTW’s Robin Schott, KC STEM Alliance’s Martha McCabe, KC Startup Foundation’s Adam Arredondo and Commerce Bank’s Michael Erickson.

The Future of Softball/Baseball Prosthetics

Hailey Chase and Chloe Harris
The project: Our product will give children with missing limbs the ability to perform at the same level in softball/baseball as children with no missing limbs. This will be a three-part design for the three different aspects of those sports; throwing, batting, and catching. This will be made through 3D printing, and will hopefully improve the quality of life for many young athletes to perform as well as everyone else.

Center for Academic Achievement (Shawnee Mission)

Shawnee Mission School District students and teacher
Nate Pulliam, Jack Alferman, teacher Greg Thiel, Ronald Smith, Timothy Nunez

Spectacular Specs

Nate Pulliam and Jack Alferman
The project: Eyeglasses are delicate and break too easily and too quickly, especially where the hinge connects to the earpiece. The objective of this project is to reduce breakage of the hinge, or completely get rid of it in order to reduce waste and alleviate wear and weathering. Ultimately, a pair of glasses will be devised that are both tasteful, practical, and more structurally sound.

KinderProof Pill Bottle Lock

Timothy Nunez and Ronald Smith
The project: Child-proof prescription pill bottles create a problem for seniors with differing illnesses as the caps require more force to open. The team developed a locking mechanism that simplifies the opening process for the elderly due to its wider diameter for increased torque while also retaining its ability to keep children out.

Mill Valley High

Airplane Lavatory Efficiency

Matthew Reichle, Harry Ahrenholtz,  Andrew Thomas and Aniston Cumbie with teacher Gayle Kebodeaux
The project: Airplane restrooms are, at their current performance, extremely inefficient at moving passengers through lines and keeping people out of aisles during turbulence. The solution is a virtual queue system that can be controlled from the airplane’s seat console. Passengers can easily join the queue to wait in line, get up when they reach the front, and exit the queue to let the next person use the facilities, all in one convenient function.

De Soto High

Aydan VanMeerhaeghe, Peter Nguyen, Sam Hubert and Matthew Lingner with teacher Miranda Young

Health Solutions for Individuals with Poor Mobility

Sam Hubert, Aydan VanMeerhaeghe, Peter Nguyen
The project: Individuals confined to wheelchairs as a result of an injury or age face health complications from poor postural position, including decreased organ function, back pain, and pressure ulcers. The aim of the project therefore is to allow these people to be in a more natural standing position, despite their condition. In order to do this, the prototype consists of an innovated walker that provides harness-like support and a gait-simulation system, which can assist in rehabilitation efforts as well.

Police Drone

Matthew Lingner
The project: Police officers get killed while in action during SWAT missions every month. The police drone is designed to neutralize threats before police even have a chance to be injured.

Liberty North High

Anthony Garcia with teacher Barb Williams

Ubiquitin Cycle Manipulation for Cancer Treatment

Anthony Garcia
The project: This work focuses on manipulating the E3 ligases involved in the ubiquitin cycle within the human body. Ubiquitin is a small molecule within human cells that drives the cell cycle and attaches to nearly all enzymes that can be affected in cancer. My research has isolated three specific E3 ligases that are crucial for cellular division; the design outlines the process that must be followed in order to determine which inhibited E3 ligase leads to the greatest decrease in cellular proliferation in tumor cells.

Platte County High

Keegan Cordova and Brennen Lee with teacher Roberta Rudolph


Keegan Cordova and Brennen Lee
The project: Many consumers are troubled by the inability of oversize drink containers and water bottles to fit in standard car cup holders. Our design securely fits into the existing cup holder and is an adaptation that allows for oversize drinkware to be easily accessible while in a vehicle.

Blue Springs South High

Gabrielle Pycior, teacher Pattie Balano, Mackenzie Seigler

Does Changing the Design of the Petri Dish Decrease the Amount of Contamination that Occurs During Streaking?

Mackenzie Seigler
The project: To redesign the petri dish and improve its sanitary conditions. By removing the need for the petri dish to open when streaking microorganisms, it now allows for minimal exposure to contaminants.

The Use of a Portable EEG and Internal Device Containing Cannabinoid Oil to Prevent Psychogenic Non-Epileptic Seizures

Gabrielle Pycior
The project: to investigate a potential treatment for psychogenic non-epileptic seizures by use of EEG and an internal device. Cannabinoid oil (CBD) has proven successful in the treatment of anxiety and anxiety attacks. By monitoring the brain waves with a portable EEG, the brain waves associated with anxiety attacks will trigger the communication of the EEG with an internal device, releasing CBD to stop a panic attack from occurring or progressing, thus preventing a psychogenic seizure form occurring.

Summit Technology Academy

Effect of Fibrinogen on the Rate of Blood Coagulation

Teacher Kevin McCormick with Reese Wood, Zaibunnisa Malik, Emma Cooney and Allen Guardado
The project: To investigate the effects of the concentration of fibrinogen in blood and how it affects coagulation rates. We expect to find that an increased concentration of fibrinogen will increase the rate of coagulation.