Project Lead The Way students shine in Senior Showcase competitions

When KC STEM Alliance brought together 377 students from 41 schools to showcase their senior capstone projects in engineering and biomedical sciences at Union Station on April 25, visitors were amazed at their ingenuity and creativity. Special guests included Project Lead The Way President and CEO Vince Bertram and Mike Oister, CEO of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, who joined more than 130 professionals from across the fields of science, technology, engineering and math who served as judges and reviewers for the awards and scholarships announced during the event.

The top 10 teams in two categories (Engineering Design and Biomedical Research & Design) received recognition, with the top three teams in each category receiving scholarships of $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place.

The morning also included the Innovator Awards, which recognize the innovativeness and marketability of projects. Teachers nominated projects for the competition, which was judged during the showcase by volunteers from the business and startup communities. Six teams received this recognition.

Here’s a look at the top teams and projects:

Engineering Design Competition

First Place: Omni-Directional Wheelchair by Amanda Hill, Levi Madden, Tyler Wascom and Trey Weeda of Summit Tech Academy. The omni-directional wheelchair uses four independently driven wheels to move in any direction, providing a tighter turn radius than a normal electric wheelchair.

Second Place: Armrest Extender by Anne Omoniyi and Christine Lust of Mill Valley High School. With 96 percent of passengers citing issues with space as a reason for discomfort with flying, this project doubles the width of the armrest and provides a privacy divider.

Third Place: Charge IT by Joel Quarnstrom and Ryan Walkowiak of Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement. To assist bike riders who need access to music, maps and other phone apps during long rides, this project uses a small wheel mounted on a bike’s back tire to turn a generator. The electricity generated is regulated to charge a removable battery capable of powering a cell phone or other low-power device.

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

Sun BlindnessNolan Burroughs, Dakota ThomasLiberty High School
pHostic (Salivary Diagnostic)Landon Butler, Amanda Hertel, Ethan Jacobs, Cody RobertsonMill Valley High School
Universal Riggers RemoteChris GreenfieldMill Valley High School
Modular TrumpetZachary King, Nicolas Schappaugh, Gage WeberMill Valley High School
Curved Screen ProtectorDrake Hansen, Connor StuartPlatte County High School
Rain Hood CanopyTigran Avetisov, Wesley ValentinePlatte County High School
SPIN!TMena Abohamda, Kayla HenrieShawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement/Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission West
Rail System BinderEli Boland, Corbin Copsey, Logan Feld, Alexander JohnsonSummit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit West High School
Silent Alarm DeviceNoah Bock, Noah Burton, Kyle Greenwald, Andy HuffmanSummit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit North High School


Biomedical Research & Design Competition

First Place: The Effect of Cell Phone Emissions on the Development of C. elegans by Mikayla Odell and Jayci Goodwin of Summit Tech Academy. Cellular devices emit non-ionizing radiation when they transmit data into space. With the increasing popularity of cellular devices, concern grows for the possible effects on human health. This study explores the effect of non-ionizing radiation from cell phones on the maturation of the nematode C. elegans.

Second Place: Disease Activity Tracking in Immune-mediated Inflammatory Diseases by Anna Jackson of Blue Springs South High School. Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases are a group of complex and prevalent diseases that are difficult to monitor. Accurate biomarkers could provide the information needed to better manage disease activity. The development of a dissolvable tablet that uses biomarkers found in urine to track disease activity at home would improve one’s prognosis.

Third Place: Acetaminophen Poisoning in Escherichia Coli by Alex Bower and Maddie Wiencek of Summit Technology Academy. Acetaminophen overdoses are on the rise and result in liver failure. This experiment centers on finding an alternative to the current solution of stomach pumping and detoxification by N Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) using E. Coli as a model.

Also recognized for placing in the top 10:

Artificial Silk ManufacturingLindsey Allin, Collin Hansen, Issac LunderganSummit Technology Academy
Activating Tryptophan in YeastMadeline James, Amber Worden, Emme ThurloSummit Technology Academy
Truth about Pre-Workout Supplements, Megawatt V2Annie UhrlaubSummit Technology Academy
Bacteria FactoriesConnor Berens, Jacob BennettSummit Technology Academy
Effect of Vit. C on the Immune System of CaterpillarsCallie Miller, Thomas WeemsSummit Technology Academy
Effect of Tetracycline Antibiotics on BacteriaNathir HajiSummit Technology Academy
Effect of Blue Light on YeastEmma ShipleySummit Technology Academy
Effect of Nutrition on GenesDanielle HotallingBlue Springs South High School

Innovator Awards

These teams received the largest investments from the team of volunteer judges, who voted with their allotment of “dollars” for the projects they deemed most innovative, marketable and well presented. All six teams will receive an invitation to participate in the June 1 Make It REAL Workshop to learn about the world of entrepreneurship and product development. This workshop is presented by local entrepreneurs from KCSourceLink and KC Startup Foundation.

Omni-directional Electric WheelchairTrey Weeda, Levi Madden, Amanda Hill, Tyler Wascom (Shown above)Summit Technology Academy
Charge ItGraham McCalmon, Carlos Ramos (Shown above)Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement

SPIN!T by Mena Abohamda and Kayla Henrie of Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement.

Light Up Safety Jacket by Benjamin Bradley, Jonah Loewe and Luke Sales, Blue Springs High School.

Wisdom Teeth Removal by Andrew Self, Blue Springs South High School, shown with KC STEM Alliance’s Martha McCabe, PLTW President Vince Bertram, KC Startup Foundation’s Adam Arrendondo and Commerce Bank’s Mike Moore.

Collaboration Station by Logan Emery, Shawn Holt and Eli Stutheit of Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement (shown with teacher Greg Thiel).

Congratulations to all of the participating students! See all of our photos from the day here: