District Updates » EHS Wins STEM Hub Challenge

EHS Wins STEM Hub Challenge

EHS Students Recognized by the Mass STEM Hub

Everett High School students Alyssa Hurley, Lakisha Kirnon, and Breetika Maharjan captured first-place honors in a competition sponsored by the Mass STEM Hub that asked students to develop innovative and practical solutions to real-world problems.

The STEM Week Challenge was an applied learning experience, where students applied academic content to solve real problems designed with input from industry experts. Everett High School students developed an original app to slow the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. After a review by industry professionals, the EHS STEM students finished in first place, followed by Maynard High School and the Kipp Academy Charter School in Lynn.

“The projects submitted for the STEM Week Challenge reinforce how effective applied learning is when it comes to engaging students and driving authentic learning,” said Katherine Skrivan, Director of Mass STEM Hub. “We’re proud of all the students who took their learning to the next level by submitting their projects for review and feedback by STEM professionals.”

For each of these challenges, top teams will now have the opportunity to further collaborate with industry partners at IBM iX, Dell Technologies, and the New England Aquarium who were integral in designing the challenges, along with experts from Partners In Health and Bionic Project, Inc.

Mass STEM Hub also worked closely with high-quality STEM applied learning partners Innovative Learning Partners, PBLWorks, Project Lead The Way, and ST Math to design each of the grade-level prompts. At Everett High School, the first place Challenge Champions in Anna Seiders’ class designed an app that includes local case count statistics, information on testing sites, centralized resources, and even a section dedicated to self-care for those experiencing anxiety or facing isolation due to the pandemic. Students reached out to city officials to ask questions about current resources and designed their app to fill in gaps in service they identified. One app feature, for example, is a 24/7 helpline offering guidance and support. 

“Teaching has never been more challenging. In a district that is nearly 100% remote, developing authentic learning experiences feels almost insurmountable. This project could not have come at a more perfect time. Not only did it fit perfectly in my curriculum, but it also allowed my students to engage in a real-world problem that drastically impacts their community. To be able to integrate the COVID-19 pandemic into our class and give my students an opportunity to discuss, design, and develop meaningful solutions was so powerful” said Anna Seiders, a STEM teacher at Everett High School. “This applied learning project was a meaningful way for them to see how what they learn in class directly affects their neighborhood as well as inspire them to consider different STEM career pathways for their futures.”

Industry feedback and engagement is a critical component of the STEM Week Challenge. More than 200 volunteers across 61 companies participated by reviewing projects and giving tailored feedback.

In the industry review of Everett High School’s winning project, a Boston-based civil engineer congratulated Hurley, Kirnon, and Maharjan on their ingenuity and wrote, “this app goes above and beyond the task of contact tracing devising a comprehensive view of how to flatten the curve. I would absolutely download this app and feel confident that my community would be safer as a result!”

K-12 schools across Massachusetts can continue to participate in the STEM Week Challenge and submit projects for industry feedback through November 25. To learn more about the STEM Week Challenge and other hands-on learning experiences offered by Mass STEM Hub, visit mass-stemhub.org.

The One8 Foundation propels and supports outstanding leaders with compelling ideas that deliver scaled, sustainable social impact. Education is a priority area of strategic giving for the One8 Foundation, with a focus on preparing all students for a rapidly changing high-tech world through applied learning and STEM education. To learn more, visit one8.org. To learn more about Mass STEM Hub, visit mass-stemhub.org.