KC STEM Alliance announces competition awards

Project Lead The Way students persevere to complete award-winning projects in engineering and biomedical sciences

$11,500 in scholarships awarded in online design, sustainability and innovation contests

May 4, 2020—Despite a disrupted spring semester, students from across the metro completed more than 120 senior capstone projects in engineering and biomedical sciences for online judging this spring. On Friday, May 1, the KC STEM Alliance and industry partners announced the winners during an online presentation.

The top 10 teams in two categories (Engineering Design and Biomedical Research) received recognition, with the top three teams in each category earning scholarships of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place. The recognition ceremony also included announcement of the Innovator Awards, which recognize the innovativeness and marketability of projects, and the new Sustainability Challenge.

More than 85,000 students enrolled in Project Lead The Way classes in the Kansas City region this year, with 447 seniors from 46 schools taking PLTW capstone courses. That included 226 students working on 95 teams in engineering and 221 students working individually or in teams on 164 projects in biomedical sciences.

The KC STEM Alliance started the PLTW KC Engineering Design and Biomedical Research Competitions in 2015 to recognize and reward exemplary work in design and research. The competitions take place virtually through the Innovation Portal, where students document their projects and upload an electronic portfolio. Portfolios are then scored by judges using either a research rubric or an engineering design rubric. Each portfolio receives at least three reviews, with top projects receiving additional validation scores to determine the winners.

Engineering Design Competition

Students in this competition use the engineering design process to develop an original solution to a problem. Students submit their projects through an online platform, where judges connect virtually to review them. More than 60 STEM professionals from regional and national companies and universities volunteered to judge the 50 projects submitted this year. Here's a look at the award-winning projects:

First Place: Temporary Raised Pavement Marker Redesign by Summit Technology Academy team Ryan Wilcox of Lee's Summit West, Ethan Inman of Harrisonville High, Cooper Phillips of Lee's Summit North, and Logan Helm of Lee's Summit High. The team examined why the placement and removal of temporary raised pavement markers is costly and inefficient. Then, to improve efficiencies for companies and workers, they implemented a water-soluble version with a slimmer profile and other design optimizations.

Second Place: CMR Group-LED Kitchen Utensils by Summit Technology Academy team Rayyan Khan and Christian Whiting of Lee's Summit North High School and Morgan Hecker of Lee's Summit High. With an increase in salmonella outbreaks, the team devised a simple solution to improve the ability to detect and treat salmonella in eggs. The team redesigned a kitchen utensil handle to include a blacklight, which would allow the salmonella to be killed, and devised a variety of heads to expand its use. The light could also assist the vision impaired by detecting eggshells when adding eggs during cooking.

Third Place: G&B: Safe Seat by Summit Technology Academy's Payton Stropes of Lee's Summit High School and Elijah Gross of Lee's Summit West High School. The number of children left unattended in a car can be linked to 38 deaths on average every year in the United States. It takes approximately 15 minutes on a hot day for a child to suffer life threatening brain and kidney damage. This team created a product to alert parents as soon as their child is left unattended in the car.

Also recognized for placing in the top 10* of the Engineering Design Competition:

Scoliosis Screening: Spinal Grid Alignment Test Abigail Doll Blue Springs South High School
Adult Car Seat Alexander Heinking, Nathan Greenfield, Brett Bellmyer, Nolan Leininger Mill Valley High School
Safe Sound Sensing System Jacob Howe, Kevin Lee, Josh Sutton, Alexander Lee Mill Valley High School
Pursuit Tracker Cale Marquis, Tyler Mitchell De Soto High School
Water Saving Shower Head Lilian Mix, Marlee Guenther Truman High School
FCS-Universal Heads Up Display Shelby Soukup, Caden Cooley, Alex French Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit North High School
Wall Mounted 3-D Printer Collin Brockman, Austin Dubois Summit Technology Academy/Pleasant Hill High School, Lee's Summit High School
Gas Piston Adjustable Crutches Evan Danaher, Franklin Lopez, Andrew Phipps Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West High School
Wheelchair Shopping Cart Ethan McIntyre, Hudson Hogan, Logan Dietz Summit Technology Academy/Raytown South High School, Lee's Summit West High School
Early Detection of Ectopic Pregnancies Jillian Shepard, Abigail Wagner, Sage Lagud Liberty North High School
Music Stand Height Tenacity Grant Albright, Michael McKeague, Blake Daffron Platte County High School
Comfort Crutch Bradley Schluben, Marko Cochango Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement/Shawnee Mission South High School, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

* 15 projects (including top 3) recognized due to tied scores.

Biomedical Research Competition

A record-setting 73 projects were judged for the Biomedical Research Competition. The award-winning projects include:

First Place: The Effect of Artificial Food Dyes on the Lifespan of Drosophila by Brecklynn Martin and Addie Mathis of Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West High School. As use of potentially harmful artificial food dyes increases, this study looks into the most commonly used artificial food dyes on the life span of Drosophila melongaster.

Second Place: The Effect of Lactobacillus Plantarum on Glucose Levels and Weight in Drosophila Melanogaster by Raven Steele of Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit North High School. This research examines the role of the probiotic lactobacillus plantarum on glucose levels and weight in fruit flies fed a high fat diet. Obesity tends to be accompanied by many associated metabolic disorders including high triglycerides and cholesterol levels, heart dysfunction and lifestyle diabetes. Therapeutic agents that include probiotics could pose as a potential treatment option.

Third Place: The Effect of the Concentration of Microplastics on the Development of Danio rerio by Cassidy Gann and Madison Hulsey of Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West High School. This study was conducted to discover the growing effects of microplastics on the world, specifically on organisms in aquatic environments.

Also recognized:

Treating Acne Vulgaris with Ultrasonic Energy Grant Snider Blue Springs South High School
Increasing the Efficiency of Wax Worm Digestion of Hard-to-Recycle Polyethylene Bags Anastacia Crispin-Santos Van Horn High School
Effect of Dimethicone Cosmetic Pollutants on Freshwater Daphni magna Ana Mejia Van Horn High School
Effect of Nicotine Addiction in Teenagers on Involuntary Reflex Ellyssa Gallinger Kearney High School
Teaching Methodology Study Grace McKown Kearney High School
Vitamins in a Planarian's Diet on Regeneration Time Courtney Clyburn, Sadie Vahle Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West High School
Effect of Escitalopram on Zebrafish Savanna Starke, Clare Scheier Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West, St. Michael Archangel Catholic High School
Effect of H1 and H2 Antihistamines on the Heart Rate of Zebrafish Embryos Mikayla Stebbing, Hailee Howard Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit High School, Lee's Summit High School
Effect of Artificial Sweeteners on Blood Glucose Levels of Drosophila Melanogaster Aidan Stutts, Matthew Austell Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit West High School
Aortic Aneurysm Blood Screening Cole Hadley, Yahya Ahmed Liberty North High School
Effects of Massage on Parental Stress in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Audrey Allen Staley High School
Effect of Neonatal Vaping on the Social Cohesion of Zebrafish Colby Williams Staley High School

 

Innovator Awards

Six years ago, the KC STEM Alliance teamed up with STARTLAND to create the Innovator Awards, which recognize a project’s innovativeness and marketability and students’ passion and ability to communicate their ideas. Judging normally takes place on site during the Senior Showcase, with business leaders and entrepreneurs interviewing students in person and then investing in the most creative projects.

This year, 77 student teams were nominated by their teachers and 30 teams submitted their projects online, answering key questions about market potential and submitting a short pitch video. STARTLAND recruited entrepreneur judges and managed the new online judging process.

Thirteen projects received the 2020 Innovator Award:

Remove-A-Bill Savannah Stewart, Jacob Montgomery Blue Springs High School
Scoliosis Screening: Spinal Grid Alignment Test Abigail Doll Blue Springs South High School
Safety in E-Cigarette Use Andrew Frazier Ruskin High School
Exploring the Effect of Soundwaves to Reduce Missouri Ornamental Shrub Crown Gall Tumors Selene Gonzalez Casas Van Horn High School
Saving the World: One Retainer at a Time Rachel Slayton, Carrie Robinson William Chrisman High School
Producing Usable Quantities of PETase to Dissolve Polyethylene Terephthalate Microplastics Madison Garner, Lindsey Morris, Kay Lee Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit High School, Lee's Summit North High School, The Daniel Academy
Editing the Genome of C Elegans with Cystic Fibrosis using CRISPR Katie Mead, Payton Elliott Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit North High School, Lee's Summit West High School
G&B Safe Seat Payton Stropes, Elijah Gross Summit Technology Academy/Lee's Summit High School, Lee's Summit West High School
Early Detection of Ectopic Pregnancies Jillian Shepard, Abigail Wagner, Sage Lagud Liberty North High School
Effect of CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing on the CCR5-32 Mutation Elizabeth Simcoe, Tyler Petty Liberty North High School
Effects of Massage on Parental Stress in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Audrey Allen Staley High School
Carology Brogan McKenzie, Ryder Jarrett Shawnee Mission Center for Advanced Academic Achievement/Shawnee Mission Northwest High School
Aqua Track Swim Block Charlie Siegel, Scott Klein Shawnee Mission Center for Advanced Academic Achievement/Shawnee Mission South High School, Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

 

Sustainability Challenge

Climate Action KC launched the new Sustainability Challenge to inspire more students to explore solutions to the variety of environmental challenges the world faces today. Projects considered for this award required a teacher's nomination and a high ranking in either the Engineering Design or Biomedical Research online competition. A second team of judges evaluated the top-scoring projects for their innovativeness, market viability and potential environmental impact.

In all 22 projects were nominated; 16 entered the competition and eight finalists advanced for sustainability reviews. The scholarships, funded by Climate Action KC and gifts from Johnson Controls and the KC STEM Alliance, were awarded to:

First Place ($1,000 scholarship): Testing the Effectiveness of the $1 Walter Filter by Bekah Frazier, Kearney High School. Bekah's work helps increase access to clean water with an affordable and effective filter.

Second Place ($500 scholarship): The Effect of Dimethicone Cosmetic Pollutants on Freshwater Daphni magna by Ana Mejia of Van Horn High School. Ana looked at how dimethicone, a silicone-based product used widely in cosmetics, might adversely affect the environment once it makes its way to freshwater.

Watch the Virtual Awards Ceremony

Watch the recording of the Virtual Awards Ceremony with guest presenters from Children's Mercy, Climate Action KC, Commerce Bank and Honeywell:


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