Students from Summit Technology Academy recently captured honors at KC STEM Alliance’s fifth annual Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Senior Showcase, held April 19 at Union Station. More than 300 students participated in the event highlighting students’ senior capstone projects from the engineering design and development and biomedical innovations PLTW courses within the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The showcase is designed to celebrate students ingenuity and creativity while connecting them with college and business partners.
In the biomedical innovation online contest, Summit Tech’s Allison Renner won first place for her Mouse Bone Density project, which examined the effect gender and age have on bone density and risk of fracture. She received a $2,500 scholarship from KC STEM Alliance. The second place prize and a $1,500 scholarship went to Elise Collins and Priscilla Jones, also from Summit Tech, for their work on broadening the host range of bacteriophages. Sarah Alley of STA took third place and a $1,000 scholarship with “The Prevalence of MRSA in Schools.” Nine additional projects received honors for being ranked as top 10 projects from Summit Technology Academy.
In the engineering design competition, Summit Tech’s Garrett Ewens and Sarah Wolff placed in the top 10 for their Clever Belt Technology Project.
Through the innovator competition, 25 “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. Brooke Welle and Justin Carlsen of Summit Tech won Innovator Awards recognizing innovation and marketability for their UVGC Baby Changing Station project. This team along with the top 10 finishers in each of the online design contests 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 3 at the Kansas City Engineering Zone. Top teams from this event may apply for scholarships to complete the Kauffman FastTrac entrepreneurial program.
Dave Dimmett, Project Lead The Way’s senior vice president of school engagement, addressed the group of aspiring engineers and scientists during the ceremony, noting that with 330 students from 30 schools, “this event is the largest of its kind in the United States.”
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 review and judge the portfolios online. Senior showcase scholarships are made possible by KC STEM Alliance’s major financial supporters, including founding partner Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and sustaining partners Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, Cerner, DST, Garmin, Google fiber and Honeywell.
Sarah Wolff and Garrett Ewens placed in the Top 10 for their Clever Belt Technology Project.
Elise Collins and Priscilla Jones won for their work on broadening the host range of bacteriophages.
Brooke Welle and Justin Carlsen won for their UV Baby Changing Station.