Project Lead the Way Honors Local Students

Winners in the Online Industry Challenge
Project Lead the Way recently hosted the "Online Industry Challenge" for its student members. (Courtesy photo)

Congratulations to student teams from Uxbridge High School and Plymouth North High School for being selected as winners in an Online Industry Challenge for PLTW students, organized by Mass STEM Hub.

In the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Principles of Biomedical Science class, high school students investigate the case of a fictitious character found dead in her home, Anna Garcia. As they explore concepts of biology and medicine, they determine the factors that led to Anna’s death and apply those learnings to forward thinking solutions. After learning about the impact of diabetes and current treatment and management methods, students apply that knowledge to develop a research proposal for an innovative way to improve the life of a diabetic. In the brainstorming process, students think about all the implications of being a diabetic, from the medical challenges complications to the impact on their day-to-day life. Using an iterative design process framework, they choose a challenge area to focus on and develop a novel method to treat or manage that challenge.

Through the Online Industry Challenge, students submitted their work to receive feedback from practitioners at one of three Massachusetts medical centers: MGH Diabetes Research Center, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and Charles River Medical Associates. All students received feedback from industry professionals on their submitted laboratory notes, pitch presentations, and project reflections, connecting the work they did in the classroom to the work these experts do daily. "We couldn't be more thrilled for the students who won, but to have been given the opportunity for all of our students to participate in the community of research and innovation is truly exceptional! We are so thankful for the professionals who donated their time and for Mass STEM Hub for making it happen for our program. It is experiences such as these that make our program so valuable to our students,” commented Alison Riordan, Science Curriculum Coordinator for Plymouth Public Schools.

The medical and research professionals were impressed by the great work and excited to share their insights with students, some of whom may one day revolutionize the field. “I was glad to have participated in a program that provides a fitting platform for emerging young scientists of tomorrow, to display their talents today,” commented Sangeeta Pradhan, RDN, LDN, CDE, the Diabetes Program Coordinator and Registered Clinical Dietitian at Charles River Medical Associates.

Student teams were selected as winners in three categories by each of the medical centers. The overall challenge winner was selected for having the best overall diabetes management or treatment idea, as demonstrated by the thoroughness of their pitch deck and the potential impact of the developed idea on diabetes patients. This team came from Uxbridge High School. MGH Diabetes Research Center is hosting a fieldtrip for the class of their selected winning team to learn more about the cutting edge research being done, tour the space, and meet scientists and doctors in the field. "The opportunity for our students to merge our academic programs with industry is at the core of our programs at Uxbridge High School," said Michael Rubin, Uxbridge High School principal. "We are beyond proud of our students in Ms. Larkin's class, grateful for the support of Mass STEM Hub and our industry partners, and excited for what this means for our program and what the students of UHS are capable of accomplishing." The innovation award winner was selected for having demonstrated an innovative approach to tackling management or treatment of diabetes. The presentation award winner was selected for having materials that were clearly labeled, easily understandable and demonstrated their outstanding knowledge and developed research proposal. Both of these winning teams are from Plymouth North High School.

“We are thrilled with our partnership with MGH Diabetes Research Center, the Joslin Diabetes Center, and Charles River Medical Associates, through which we were able to connect students and STEM professionals,” commented Andreina Parisi-Amon, Director of Partnerships for Mass STEM Hub. “With a few hours of time and their expert eyes, each of the volunteer judges was able to provide all students who submitted work with authentic feedback and real world context to the content they’re learning in class – a critical component of high-quality learning experiences. We’re excited to continue building opportunities like this for students.”

Mass STEM Hub is a program of the One8 Foundation that partners with schools to implement high-quality, applied learning programs. Its mission is to provide schools with access to and support for premier STEM programming that engages students and prepares them for 21st century careers. We identify proven programs, develop supports to help ensure high-quality adoption, and create complementary offerings (e.g., trainings, events) to supercharge the impact.

Supporting schools’ adoption and quality implementation of Project Lead The Way is the first Mass STEM Hub initiative. PLTW is a premier STEM curriculum and PD provider with a proven ability to dramatically shift classroom practice, transform the teaching experience, and improve students’ interest and aptitude in STEM. PLTW has grown from a high school engineering program to offering comprehensive PreK-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, balancing the rigor and engagement needed to have a real impact for students

[Mass STEM Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation, is focused on helping schools implement high-quality STEM programming.]


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