On February 28, one of St. Louis’s largest privately-owned companies and biggest employers, announced that Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience was awarded the top prize of $10,000 at WWT’s third annual Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Student Forum Hackathon. Villa Duchesne received second place and a cash prize of $5,000; Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School (MICDS) received third place and a cash prize of $2,500; and the remaining schools received $1,000 each for participating.
The event was held Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 – and for the first time – held at WWT’s new global headquarters.
“WWT was thrilled to host the highest-attended STEM Student Forum Hackathon to-date,” said Joe Koenig, president at WWT. “We believe this year’s high attendance is a result of the increasing discussions around the importance of STEM education in America – especially for young women and girls. We will build on this momentum and continue to push our goals of educating high school students on the importance of STEM, improving academic proficiency, providing competitive advantages for college enrollment, and increasing awareness around disciplines in STEM.”
Since the 2015 and 2016 hackathon events, school attendance has grown exponentially from five St. Louis-area high schools to 20. This year, approximately 200 students from St. Louis Metropolitan and St. Louis County schools participated in the hackathon.
“We are so proud of our students’ hard work during this hackathon,” said Frederick Steele, principal at Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience. “Our team chose to look outside of our own school to solve a problem our local community was having. This is consistent with our mission as a school. Our team of students learned a lot about teamwork, professionalism, and STEM during this program and we hope to participate in next year’s event.”
The participating students were tasked with developing a solution that uses technology to solve a problem in their school or community. WWT provided each team with professional mentors who volunteered to help the students refine their ideas and connect them with WWT resources to complete their projects. Teams were judged on how well they articulated their solution or product; the overall creativity of their project and core values; and how well the team displayed humility, teamwork, collaboration, and attitude.
The problem that Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience’s winning team chose to solve was related to educational equity. The team discussed how many St. Louis Public Schools eighth graders were unaware of their high school options.
To solve this problem, the team built and presented a web application called High School in Hand and it highlighted a personalized survey that could match eight graders with potential high schools based on their interests and goals. The goal was to make school choice programs more student-focused and driven. Their solution included marketing and branding considerations and integrations with existing SLPS websites.
WWT’s annual program consists of two sessions: a STEM Student Forum – a half-day company overview held at WWT’s campus and facilitated by internal leaders from all areas of the business – and a hackathon event.
Now that’s a way to help shape the future! For more information on the event, visit World Wide Technology at www.wwt.com.