KC STEM Alliance awards $25,000 in STEM scholarships

 

Project Lead The Way students develop innovative solutions with award-winning STEM projects

$25,000 in scholarships awarded in biomedical, sustainability, and other innovation contests

May 6, 2021—Project Lead The Way students from across the metro developed innovative projects to address issues such as sanitation under COVID-19, air quality and water accessibility as they completed their senior capstone courses in engineering and biomedical sciences this academic year.

Online competitions organized by KC STEM Alliance drew more than 115 senior capstone projects in engineering and biomedical sciences and on Wednesday, May 5, the KC STEM Alliance and industry partners announced the winners and $25,000 in scholarships during a virtual awards ceremony.

The top 10 teams were recognized in four categories:

  • Engineering & Product Design with Prototype,
  • Engineering & Product Design Theoretical,
  • Biomedical Research with Testing, and
  • Biomedical Research Theoretical.

 

The top three teams in each category earned scholarships of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place, and $1,000 for third place. The recognition ceremony also included the announcement of the Innovator Awards, which recognized the innovativeness and marketability of projects, as well as the Sustainability Challenge, and the new COVID-19 Challenge.

More than 85,000 students enrolled in Project Lead The Way classes in the Kansas City region this year, with 446 seniors from 46 schools taking PLTW capstone courses. That included 217 students working in groups or individually on 57 engineering projects and 229 students working on 58 projects in biomedical sciences. From this year’s class, 89 percent of students intend to major in STEM following high school, and 69 percent plan to attend a college in Missouri or Kansas.

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 with students documenting their projects and uploading 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 Competitions

Students in these competitions use the engineering design process to develop an original solution to a problem either with the production of a prototype or through theoretical design. More than 80 STEM professionals from regional and national companies and universities volunteered to judge the 57 projects submitted this year.

Engineering & Product Design with Prototype

First Place: The Athletic Metatarsal Protector by Taylor Abercrombie, Ryan Gibson, and Takashi Hogg from Summit Technology Academy and Lee’s Summit West High School.

Second Place: The S.A.M. (Soap Automated Machine) by Mason Salmond, Dylan VanBuskirk, and Hannah Vasseur from Summit Technology Academy, Lee’s Summit West High School, Lee’s Summit High School, and Lee’s Summit North High School.

Third Place: The HydroTrack by Jackson Baker, Zoe Kemp, Connor O’Dwyer, Elias Swickard, and Ellise Wright from Blue Springs High School

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

Athletic Metatarsal Protector
Taylor Abercrombie, Ryan Gibson, Takashi Hogg
Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
S.A.M. (Soap Automated Machine)
Mason Salmond, Dylan VanBuskirk, Hannah Vasseur
Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School/ Lee’s Summit High School/ Lee’s Summit North High School
HydroTrack Jackson Baker, Zoe Kemp, Connor O’Dwyer, Elias Swickard, Ellise Wright Blue Springs High School
Sanitization Station Andrew Nelson, Madysen O’Neal, Drew Techau Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School/ Lee’s Summit High School
Social Dilemma Luke Kappes-Sum, Alex Konon, Hollander Platt Mill Valley High School
Wire Harness Table Extension Tristan Ahuna, Jacen Heafner, Eva Petrini Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School/ Lee’s Summit High School/ St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School
Soda Nozzle Josh McAnerney, Brandon Rodgers, Aidan Winter Grain Valley High School
Multipurpose Outlet Extender Drake Dubinick, Jordan Fields, Dominick Oelke Summit Technology Academy/ Midway High School/ Lee’s Summit West High School/ Midway High
Salty Science Courtney Mahugu, Cole McClure, Cory Schiffman, Adam White, Ashley Williams Mill Valley High School
Automated Dog Bowl Natasha Richardson, Caleb Thompson, Jordan Vahrenberg Summit Technology Academy/ Center High School/ Lee’s Summit West High School
Engineering & Product Design-Theoretical

First Place: The Attachable Zipper Guide by Jacob Arp and Hailey Huerter from Grain Valley High School.

Second Place: Helping the Taste of Meter Dosed inhalers with the Monk Fruit Liquid Chamber Spacer by Raven Weidman from Blue Springs South High School.

Third Place: The Bracket CAP by Melanie Smith from Kearney High School.

The full top-10 list:

Attachable Zipper Guide Jacob Arp, Hailey Huerter Grain Valley High School
Helping the Taste of Meter Dosed Inhalers with the Monk Fruit Liquid Chamber Spacer Raven Weidman Blue Springs South High School
Bracket CAP Melanie Smith Kearney High School
Biometric Advanced Check-in for Hospitals (BACH) Eliana Walker Kearney High School
Towed Water Sports Communication Cole Keller, Vincent Lin, Katy Melton, Hunter Newsom Grain Valley High School
G.I.M. Prototype Kennedy Jacobsen, Kaycee Maynard Kearney High School
Heart Interactive: Mobile Heart Monitoring App Marissa Mott Blue Springs South High School
Arrow Tracking System Jesse Arnold, Logan Berthelson, Parker Bosserman, Riley Bown Grain Valley High School
Guardian Gloves Michael Brown, Shane Gallagher, Tyler Hagan, Lath Hicks Grain Valley High School
Ectopic Pregnancy Diagnostic Test Kristina Nguyen, Payton Reeves Liberty North High School
3-Dimensional Printed Aortic Heart Valve Jackson Bauer, Mackenzie Black, Mackenzie Harkness Liberty North High School

Biomedical Research Competition

This year, 54 judges oversaw the 58 Biomedical Research Challenge projects. The award-winning projects for Biomedical Research with Testing include:

First Place: “The Effect Standard of Cell Phone Light Emitted From an iPhone Has on Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cell Numbers and Size Compared to the Night Shift Filter Setting” by Brayden Clark from Summit Technology Academy and Lee’s Summit North High School.

Second Place: “The Effect of High-Fat Probiotic Antibiotic and Control Diet on Fruit Fly Growth” by Jillian Belvin and Leah Schroer from Summit Technology Academy and Lee’s Summit West High School.

Third Place: “Using N95 Respirator Cleaning Methods on Cotton Reusable Masks” by Emma Smith from Summit Technology Academy and Lee’s Summit West High School.

The full list:

The Effect Standard Cell Phone Light Emitted From an iPhone Has on Saccharomyces cerevisiae Cell Numbers and Size Compared to the Night Shift Filter Setting Brayden Clark Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit North High School
The Effect of High-Fat Probiotic Antibiotic and Control Diet on Fruit Fly Growth Jillian Belvin, Leah Schroer Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
Using N95 Respirator Cleaning Methods on Cotton Reusable Masks Emma Smith Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Use of Bacteriophage T4 to Disinfectant Lactuca sativa Franco Casoni Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit North High School
Glucose Levels Found in Four of the Most Popular Consumed Fruits in the United States Carly Ryan Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Effect of Meditation on Physical Strength: A Biomedical Approach Alex Zelk Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Effect of Different Iodine Levels on the Mass of Carassius auratus Leisana Rector Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Development of Bacterial Resistance of K12 E. coli After Repeated Exposure to Different Concentrations of Clorox and Lysol Disinfectants Hiba Alterjalli, Emmie Hope, Lyla Martin Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Effect of Caffeine on Drosophila Sleep Cycles and Its Relation to High School Students Brianna Pfeifer Summit Technology Academy/ Lee’s Summit West High School
The Effects of Face Masks on the Transmission of Oral Bacteria Kiara Carpenter, Samara Lewis Summit Technology Academy/Lone Jack High School /Midway High School
Biomedical Research Theoretical

First Place: Targeting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia by Kylie Aiken from Blue Springs South High School.

Second Place: Hyponatremia Prevention Medication on Elderly patients taking SSRI Medication by Anaya Dewey from Blue Springs South High School.

Third Place: Macrophages and Stents Drug Delivery for Stent Thrombosis by Lillian Dang from Blue Springs South High School.

The full list of projects earning recognition:

Targeting Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Kylie Aiken Blue Springs South High School
Hyponatremia Prevention Medication on Elderly patients taking SSRI Medication Anaya Dewey Blue Springs South High School
Macrophages and Stents Drug Delivery for Stent Thrombosis Lillian Dang Blue Springs South High School
Destroying Zebrafish Hair Cells and Regenerating Them Jessica Toczek Staley High School
The Effect of Nicotine Levels on Users Health Lily Reeder, Katie Shepherd, Nicole Wagoner Liberty North High School
After the Trauma Theresa Marie Alvarez Ruskin High School

 

Innovator Awards

Seven years ago, the KC STEM Alliance teamed up with STARTLAND to create the Innovator Awards, which recognizes projects for 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, 44 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 online judging process.

Ten projects received the 2021 Innovator Award:

The HydroTrack Ellise Wright, Jackson Baker, Zoe Kemp, Connor O’Dwyer, Elias Swickard Blue Springs High School
The Development of Novel Special Needs Helmet Haley Oestreich Van Horn High School
Bracket CAP Melanie Smith Kearney High School
An Exploration of the Cognitive Factors That Affect Visual Search Abigail Gilliam Van Horn High School
License Plate Sticker for Diabetic Drivers
Ayden Pennington Blue Springs South High School
The Power Walk
Logan Root, Natasha Moore Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement/ Shawnee Mission South High School
Stillbirth Prevention Implant
Brianna Duncan, Reagan Burgess Liberty North High School
Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infection Detection Device Riley Gibson, Makenzie Petrin, Cooper Smith Liberty North High School
Quick Clean
Wesley Simms, Brock Sell Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement/ Shawnee Mission Northwest High School/ Shawnee Mission South High School
The Effect that Paraffin, Soy and Beeswax Candles have on Overall Air Quality Cinthia Martinez-Cerna Van Horn High School

Design Challenges

Projects awarded in the following design categories required a teacher’s nomination and a high ranking in either the Engineering Design or Biomedical Research online competition. After that evaluation, a second team of judges reviewed the top-scoring projects for their innovativeness, market viability and potential impact in the design area.

Sustainability Challenge

Climate Action KC sponsored this year’s Sustainability Challenge to inspire more students to explore solutions to the variety of environmental challenges the world faces today.

This year, one scholarship funded by Climate Action KC and gifts from Johnson Controls and the KC STEM Alliance was awarded to:

($1,000 scholarship): The Effect that Paraffin Soy and Beeswax Candles have on Overall Air Quality by Cinthia Martinez-Cerna from Van Horn High School in the Independence School District. The coaching teacher for this project is Debbie Cox.

COVID-19 Challenge

The year’s new COVID-19 Challenge was launched by Black and Veatch to support youth engagement in finding solutions to issues related to the global pandemic. This year one scholarship was awarded to:

($500 scholarship): The Safe Six Bracelet Project by Karch D Crawford and Max Eber from Mill Valley High School in the DeSoto School District. The coaching teacher for this project is Gayle Kebodeaux.

Clean Water Challenge

The Clean Water Challenge launched this year by Burns & McDonnell encourages students to look for innovative solutions for keeping water clean and ensuring it is an accessible resource. This year one scholarship was awarded to:

($500 scholarship): The Heated Gutter and Rainwater Collection System by Braden Allee from Lee’s Summit High School and Christian Miles from Lee’s Summit North High School. The coaching teacher for this project is Eric Walters from Summit Technology Academy.

Make It REAL Scholarships

Graduating seniors who completed a capstone project were invited to apply for one of three $500 Make It REAL scholarships. This was an opportunity for students to reflect on their capstone projects and Make It REAL experiences, sharing what they learned along the way and how they perceived it will influence their future. Twenty-five students submitted an essay or a two-minute video. This year’s scholarships were awarded to the following projects:

($500 scholarship): The HydroTrack by Ellise Wright from Blue Springs High School. The coaching teacher for this project is Angelia Schnakenberg.

($500 scholarship): The Effect Varying Protein Sources in Infant Formula Preparations have on Microbial Growth by Denisse Hernandez from Van Horn High School. The coaching teacher for this project is Debbie Cox.

($500 scholarship): The 3-Dimensional Printed Aortic Heart Valve by Mackenzie Harkness
from Liberty North High School. The coaching teacher for this project is Barbara Williams.

Watch the Virtual Awards Ceremony

Watch the recording of the Virtual Awards Ceremony with a performance from DJ Joe and guest presenters from Johnson Controls, Climate Action KC, KC Global Design, and Honeywell:


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