2017 STEM Design Challenge Jumpstarts Classroom Innovation

July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017

The second annual STEM Design Challenge was held June 28-30 in Keystone, Colorado at the 2017 CEI Showcase. Seven educators worked throughout three sessions to design classroom projects connected to real-world STEM experiences–projects grounded in rigorous, cross-curricular coursework. Five industry mentors representing aerospace, technology, and cyber security were on hand to brainstorm with participants and infuse their content expertise into the projects.
At the conclusion of the challenge, each designer took the stage to present a four-minute pitch to a panel of industry experts. The top three projects received grants provided by Boeing and CenturyLink. Winners were selected based on rigor, equity, community connections, and feasibility.

First Place ($2,000)

1st Place STEM Design Challenge Winner Heidi Ragsdale

Heidi Ragsdale, West Middle School
Grand Junction, Colorado

Ragsdale will expand her after-school STEM MESA program to grow a local pipeline of female STEM professionals on the Western Slope. She hopes to implement her own STEM Design Challenges with students, industry partners, and the community to increase awareness of local STEM opportunities.

Second Place ($1,500)

2nd Place STEM Design Challenge Winner Eric Stiasny

Eric Stiasny, Dove Creek High School
Dove Creek, Colorado

Stiasny plans to create a program in which students develop affordable housing in the Dove Creek area. Students will work with community partners to design and renovate existing district-owned properties, increasing affordable housing options for teachers and other local professionals.

Third Place ($1,000)

3rd Place STEM Design Challenge Winner Ben Graves

Ben Graves, Delta High School
Delta, Colorado

Graves will use the grant to expand the projects in his Solar Vocation Class. These projects will focus on supporting the school and community while giving students experience in a growing, local industry sector.

The remaining participants pitched ideas about recycling in kindergarten, students redesigning their school, roller coaster engineering challenges, and integrating coding into science. These educators were encouraged to bring their project ideas to life and awarded DonorsChoose.org gift cards, valued at a minimum of $300 each.