When the KC STEM Alliance brought together 377 students from 41 schools to showcase their senior capstone projects in engineering and biomedical sciences last week at Union Station, visitors were amazed at their ingenuity and creativity. Special guests included Vince Bertram, president and CEO of Project Lead The Way, 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 and 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 Blindness — Nolan Burroughs, Dakota Thomas; Liberty High School
- pHostic (Salivary Diagnostic) — Landon Butler, Amanda Hertel, Ethan Jacobs, Cody Robertson; Mill Valley High School
- Universal Riggers Remote — Chris Greenfield; Mill Valley High School
- Modular Trumpet — Zachary King, Nicolas Schappaugh, Gage Weber; Mill Valley High School
- Curved Screen Protector — Drake Hansen, Connor Stuart; Platte County High School
- Rain Hood Canopy — Tigran Avetisov, Wesley Valentine; Platte County High School
- SPIN!T — Mena Abohamda, Kayla Henrie; Shawnee Mission Center for Academic Achievement/Shawnee Mission South and Shawnee Mission West
- Rail System Binder — Eli Boland, Corbin Copsey, Logan Feld, Alexander Johnson; Summit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit West High School
- Silent Alarm Device — Noah Bock, Noah Burton, Kyle Greenwald, Andy Huffman; Summit Technology Academy/Lee’s Summit North High School
Biomedical Research and 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 Manufacturing — Lindsey Allin, Collin Hansen, Issac Lundergan; Summit Technology Academy
- Activating Tryptophan in Yeast — Madeline James, Amber Worden, Emme Thurlo; Summit Technology Academy
- Truth about Pre-Workout Supplements, Megawatt V2 — Annie Uhrlaub; Summit Technology Academy
- Bacteria Factories — Connor Berens, Jacob Bennett; Summit Technology Academy
- Effect of Vit. C on the Immune System of Caterpillars — Callie Miller, Thomas Weems; Summit Technology Academy
- Effect of Tetracycline Antibiotics on Bacteria — Nathir Haji; Summit Technology Academy
- Effect of Blue Light on Yeast — Emma Shipley; Summit Technology Academy
- Effect of Nutrition on Genes — Danielle Hotalling; Blue Springs South High School
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 Wheelchair — Trey Weeda, Levi Madden, Amanda Hill, Tyler Wascom; Summit Technology Academy
- Charge It — Graham McCalmon, Carlos Ramos; 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).