Students Share Innovative Senior Capstone Projects in Engineering and Biomedical Science at Sixth Annual Showcase

KC STEM Alliance Awards $10,000 in scholarships and the chance to test project marketability in ‘Make It REAL’ Workshop on June 2


April 19, 2017—More than 370 students filled Union Station’s Sprint Festival Plaza with innovative solutions to problems large and small during KC STEM Alliance’s sixth annual Project Lead The Way Senior Showcase on Tuesday, April 18, 2017.

The Showcase highlighted students’ senior capstone projects from the Engineering Design and Development and Biomedical Innovations PLTW courses. The event celebrated students’ ingenuity and creativity while connecting them with college and business partners and culminated with an awards ceremony to recognize winners in three related competitions.

Robin Schott, Project Lead The Way’s Vice President-West Central Region, addressed the group of aspiring engineers and scientists during the ceremony. With students from 34 schools in 20 metro-area districts and 190 teams, the event was the largest in its six-year history.

The PLTW engineering and biomedical science design competitions highlight the importance of design thinking and problem solving. Students build an online portfolio around their senior capstone projects and submit them online through Project Lead The Way’s Innovation Portal. Practicing professionals reviewed and judged the portfolios online.

Engineering Design Competition

More than 184 students made up the 78 teams that submitted projects in the Kansas City Engineering Design Competition. The top 10 teams were recognized at the Senior Showcase and the top three teams were awarded scholarship prizes and awards for their respective schools. Sixty-six judges from 50 organizations scored the projects to determine the winners.

First Place: Kenzie Settle, Connie Wentworth, Jacob O’Ryan and Avery Payne from Summit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit North High took first place and a $2,500 scholarship with their 360 Storage design to help wheelchair users access their belongings.

Second Place: Asher Roush and Sarah Scherich of Blue Springs High School took second place and a $1,500 scholarship with “Handicapped Drum Helper,” designed to assist wheelchair-bound students participate in marching band.

Third Place: Mill Valley High School students Eric Tibbetts, Matt Dennis and Hanavan Kuhn took third place and a $1,000 team scholarship for their Aircraft De-Icing project. (See tables below for full top-10 lists.)

Biomedical Sciences Competition

Forty-nine students from 32 teams participated in the Biomedical Innovation online contest. Students in this competition chose to complete scientific research or a design project during their Biomedical Innovations course. Their electronic portfolios were scored against a design rubric by 33 judges from 30 organizations to determine the following winners:

First Place: Lydia Jefferson of Summit Technology Academy/Raytown South High received a $2,500 scholarship for her research of the effect of lead on circulation in Zebrafish embryos.

Second Place: A $1,500 second place scholarship went to Amy Yang and Isabel Baughn of Summit Technology/Lee’s Summit North High for their project examining the correlation between school health policies and outbreaks.

Third Place: Winning a $1,000 scholarship with “Effectiveness of Antibiotic Compounds in Soap” was the Kearney High School team of Brandon Lee and Blake Mitton.

Innovator Awards Competition

Nine teams won Innovator Awards during the Showcase. Sixty-nine teams were nominated by their teachers to take part in this competition, designed to recognize innovation and marketability of projects in the showcase. Thirty “guest investors” from the business, academic and entrepreneurial fields heard students pitch their innovations and determined the winners by investing $1,000 in “Commerce bucks” in the projects they deemed to have the most innovation and market potential.

Local entrepreneur Alex Altomare of The Collective Fund greeted the students, who received their awards from Mike Moore, Vice President of Information Technology at Commerce Bank. The winning teams included:

·       The Tumble Bundle by Jacob Overbay and Renan Troy of Truman High School

·       360 Storage by Kenzie Settle, Connie Wentworth, Jacob O’Bryan and Avery Payne of Summit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit North High

·       Empowered Tent by Christian Greeff, Alex Wood, Jacob Schnitzlein and James Roy of Summit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit West High

·       Tennis Serve Training Aid by Caleb Davis and Warren Lewis of Liberty North High School

·       Inflating Backpack by Augustine Cayton and Paxton Sneed of Staley High School

·       The Griff Grinder by Jessi Mizner and Michael Armendariz of Winnetonka High School

·       Anti-Soggy Sandwich by Matthew Rondon and Charity Smith of Winnetonka High School

·       Epi Cartridge by Emily Schulze of Blue Springs High School

·       Water Purification Bottle by Jesse Maloney and Ryan Watts of Blue Springs High School

These teams along with the top winners of other regional STEM competitions are invited to attend the Make It REAL Workshop hosted by mentors from KC SourceLink and the Center for Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Development (C.E.E.D.) on June 2 at the Kansas City Engineering Zone. 

Senior Showcase scholarships are made possible by KC STEM Alliance’s major financial supporters, including:


Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Computing & Engineering


Black & Veatch

Burns & McDonnell




Missouri S&T University


Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development model.

KC STEM Alliance is a collaborative network of educators, business affiliates and organizations that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers by supporting K-12 STEM education and programs. The KC STEM Alliance partners with organizations like Project Lead the Way that share the vision of creating a robust and sustainable regional STEM workforce.