University of Pittsburgh
April 4, 2007

High School Inventors Present Creative Solutions to Common Problems At Second-Annual High School Innovative Design Competition April 20

Pitt and Westinghouse among sponsors of program designed to teach students to think like scientists and engineers
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-An inventive group of high school students will present its ideas for warming car seats and spotting harmful salmonella bacteria, among other inspired concepts, at the second-annual High School Innovative Design Competition April 20.

Thirty-five student teams from area schools will demonstrate their creative solutions to technical challenges at the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall, 4141 Fifth Ave., Oakland. The judging begins at 9 a.m. with the awards ceremony following at 12:45 p.m. The event is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh School of Engineering and Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), Westinghouse Electric Company, the National Science Foundation (NSF), Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation, and Alcoa.

Students who emerge victorious from the contest win a free summer internship in product design taught by faculty members from Pitt's engineering school and the LRDC.

The competition concludes a school-yearlong effort by high school students to address common challenges from the perspective of engineers and scientists by designing solutions in their school science classes. Those projects stem from a summer program for high school teachers that was funded by a Pitt-administered Research Experience for Teachers grant from the NSF. Teachers from local high schools worked with Pitt engineering faculty and the LRDC to develop engaging and practical curricula meant to cultivate student interest in math, science, technology, and engineering.

Hundreds of students worked on their ideas in preparation for the competition, and the top teams were invited to the April 20 event. Devices featured in the contest include an artificial arm, a salmonella detector, and a special-effects unit that creates smoke and fake blood. Judges include Pitt engineering faculty and NSF program managers.

Students from the following Pittsburgh high schools will participate in the contest: Allderdice, Brashear, Oliver, Peabody, Schenley, and Westinghouse. From outside Pittsburgh, participating high schools include Baldwin, Mohawk, and Penn Hills.

For more information, visit the LRDC Web site at www.lrdc.pitt.edu/schunn/ret/ or contact the LRDC's Susan Feucht at sfeuch@pitt.edu.

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