Click here for the original article.
Participants in the 2013 Portland State University Innovation Challenge pose with awards after completing their competition. Last year's event featured students from four high schools. This year, teams from eight Portland schools are competing. (Portland State University)
The challenge: Design technologies that help aging adults. The result: Student teams from eight Portland high schools will present their creations and claim awards on Saturday, May 3, at Portland State University.
The students are competing in PSU's Innovation Challenge, which aims to excite young people about science, technology, engineering and math — also known as STEM. The program especially focuses on involving girls and students from communities typically underrepresented in the sciences.
This year's participants hail from Alliance, Benson, Franklin, Grant, Jefferson and Lincoln high schools as well as Metropolitan Learning Center and Portland Youth Builders.
Back in February, each high school team was paired with PSU student mentors, who helped them conduct fieldwork to identify problems that older adults face. The students mostly interviewed residents of elder care communities or older family members.
From there, the mentors — who themselves are studying engineering, computer science and pre-health subjects — helped their younger counterparts to develop and design solutions for the issues they identified.
Although the mentors provided guidance, all the resulting projects were driven by the high school students, said Julie Rutherford, communications director for PSU's Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Students will present their design projects to a panel of judges from 8:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, with an awards ceremony following about 4 p.m. — all at University Pointe, Room 102, 1955 S.W. Fifth Ave., Portland, near the PSU campus.
The teams will be judged on criteria that includes creativity, teamwork and human impact.
Last year, PSU kicked off the Innovation Challenge with half as many schools. This year's schools are a mix of traditional and alternative high schools. Sponsors for the competition include Mentor Graphics, Portland Public Schools, Avamere, Portland General Electric and the Portland Development Commission.
For more information, go to Maseeh College's events page.