The 2016 Clean Tech Competition is in full swing with people registering their team on a daily basis. No doubt the teams are hard at work thinking of problems and the clean technology solutions to those problems.
With all that is going on, we thought it would be a good idea to give you insight to what it was like for competitors from the 2015 Clean Tech Competition. The winning team was from Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, USA. Lead by Dale Yocum the Engineering Program Director at Catlin Gabel, this team of three young women showed the world a wonderful invention to help purify water, cleanly and inexpensively for those living in developing countries.
Dale was kind enough to lend some time to talk about what it was like for him as a team leader, check it out.
I’ve been running the after school engineering program at Catlin Gabel School for over 10 years now. One of the things I’ve learned is for my program to be successful I need to have a culminating event. This needs to be something with an immovable date and an achievable reward. We all work better when there’s something on the line and students are no exception. The other thing that’s helpful is to have our thinking constrained. That sounds counter-intutive but when I just ask the kids to “invent something cool” the discussion can take months sometimes with no tangible result. Having a contest with rules and constraints makes things move along at a far brisker clip.
The Clean Tech Competition fits all these criteria like a glove. It’s a challenge that’s achievable, it has well-defined dates and expected deliverables, there’s a reasonable number of competition teams (unlike some contests who can get over ten thousand) and the prizes are substantial.
We were fortunate enough to win the Clean Tech Competition in 2015. On our end this was an entirely student-driven process with me just providing some course correction and technical guidance along the way. The students came up with the idea for “Water Trotter”, a low cost device for developing countries used to transport and disinfect water. It uses old tires, found in-country, and a custom plastic liner, a mounting system and, optionally, a UV radiating cap to move and clean up to 40 gallons of water per trip in remote areas where the water journey can sometimes take over an hour. This is a low tech device (except for the UV cap available off the shelf) which means it was both approachable by the students and serviceable in remote areas.
Winning awards and getting press is how extracurricular programs and sports teams are judged. They bring recognition to the school and participants plus, if they win, help fund the program in future years. From a student standpoint, working on projects like this really helps set them apart come college application time. I’m a big fan.
Engineering Program Director
Catlin Gabel School
Two members of that winning team, Claudia Bueermann and Alexandra Crew lent quotes as well!
“We were supported the entire way by people affiliated with the CleanTech Competition and the minute we arrived, we knew we were in for an exciting weekend. Getting to be surrounded by such intellectual and bright students from all over world as well as incredibly inspiring mentors was an experience that has definitely shaped my high school career.” -Claudia Bueermann, 2015 Team Member
I loved the CleanTech finalist experience, the opportunity to meet students that share my excitement for STEM from around the world, and the chance to learn from the various, talented speakers. Seeing the projects of the other finalists, discussing them, and witnessing the energy of both the students and adults present inspired me and makes me optimistic about the difference our generation can make with STEM.
-Alexandra Crew, 2015 Team Leader
Next year, we could be asking for quotes about YOUR experience in the Clean Tech Competition. So, how will you Make An Impact?
Remember: “From young minds come fresh solutions” .
What’s your solution? Sign up and show the world what you’ve got!