Sci Tech held its third annual “Engineering Design & Development (EDD) Presents” Conference – this year dubbed “EDD Presents 3.0” – on Friday, April 22.
During the district wide event, 63 two-to-three member teams made up of the members of the senior class, presented their end-of-year projects to judges – all of whom had a technical or engineering background – their parents, and their peers.
Sci Tech seniors Karina Hinojosa of Edinburg, Rebeca Llamas of Brownsville and Florin Najera of Pharr formed the winning team of this year’s event, claiming first place for their presentation on “Preventing Homeless Deaths Due to Cold Weather.”
Over the course of the school year, these students conducted thorough research on the issue of deaths among the homeless population due to the cold weather, designed different solutions to address the issue, and tested their prototypes thoroughly by measuring core body temperatures of people utilizing them within refrigerators over several hours.
As the top team, they were awarded the campus EDD trophy, individual laptop computers, and $1,500 scholarships from the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) and Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK), pending enrollment in the school of engineering at one of those universities.
The team made of up Curtis Boyd of Elsa, Esteban Kott of Edinburg and Melec Rodriguez of McAllen came in second for their project on “Wiping Hard Drives: A Simplified Method.” They also received this year’s “People’s Choice Award,” which was voted on by the Sci Tech student body throughout the day of the conference via an online application designed for the event.
Third place went to Victoria Allen of Harlingen, Caelan Mitchell-Bennett of Rancho Viejo and Rovianne Iris Tindaan of Harlingen, for their “Portable Floodproof Refugee Housing” project.
Team presentations and projects were evaluated by a panel of judges formed by faculty and graduate students from UTPA and TAMUK, as well as community and business representatives with engineering and technical backgrounds.
The ‘EDD Presents’ Conference expanded the original model implemented at Sci Tech by opening up the experience to the whole school. Seniors, who are required to take the EDD course during their final year at the campus, spent the year addressing a real-world problem of their choice. They used what they learned in their courses at Sci Tech to go through the entire engineering process from inspiration all the way through to building and testing a working prototype.
Irma Castillo, Ed.D., believes in the importance of the event in emulating for students how their studies tie into the real world, whereby creating a deeper appreciation for the engineering process and its potential effects on the world. “EDD Presents is a perfect venue for students to demonstrate their learning. The culmination of knowledge acquired via the PLTW [Project Lead the Way] engineering curriculum is put to practice in order for students to solve real-world problems that can ultimately help communities. The expectations and outcomes resulting from EDD Presents represent the pinnacle of the meaning of our beloved Science Academy.”
This year, Sci Tech added a keynote speaker to the agenda. Kai Wulff, Ph.D., addressed the students, sharing with them his inspiring journey. An entrepreneur, Wulff has over 25 years of visionary leadership and execution experience. As a “positive disruptor,” he has reinvested existing business models and revolutionized markets, and, since 1991, the projects and ventures he has led created more than $1 billion direct profits to investors. Currently, Wulff is managing and expanding consulting entity Plexus LLC from its new headquarters in Brownsville, in partnership with Burton McCumber & Cortez, LLP.
Sci Tech’s new PTSO also played a large role through securing sponsorships in support of the event. Through the PTSO, all Sci Tech underclassmen and faculty and staff members received EDD Presents t-shirts, and all seniors received event polos.