On April 28, 11 senior engineering students at St. Mary's High School participated in this year’s Engineering Design and Development (EDD) class presentation with three teams of students pitching their engineering projects to a panel of judges who are professionals in the field. This year's projects focused on improving laproscopic surgeries, helping the bee population, and keeping firefighters safe. 

Shane Gillis, Maria Therese Barry, and Justin Fauson designed a mechanical device to assist surgeons performing laproscopic surgeries.  Their device allows for single-handed ambidextrous suturing, a significant improvement over the two-handed devices currently used in the field.  

Hannah Jasper, Chelsea Baker, David Simmons and Aspen Nelson worked on a project addressing the declining bee population.  Their project provided a system of sensors for beekeepers to better monitor the conditions inside a hive without having to open it up exposing bees to hazardous conditions, possibly killing off bees.  

Avalee Cruz, John Berson, Cameron Baker and Elliott Bode worked on a project with the Colorado Springs Fire Department to better manage on-scene firefighters health and welfare. They developed a small device that can be inserted into the firefighter's gloves to monitoring heart rate and oxygenation levels. The device provides wireless communication to the incident commander through an app they developed.  This allows the incident commander to pull out a troubled firefighter before it becomes an emergency.

This year's judging panelists were: Scott Hawranek (IP Attorney), Sean Williams (UCCS Dept. Chair), Al Feldkamp (former Boeing CO CEO), Katherine Spara (former Sigma Metals CEO), and Randy Cloud (former CEO). This year’s presentations were extremely well received, and one panelist commented that these were the best presentations he has seen yet.

The PLTW students and Mike Kloenne, the EDD teacher, would like to send special thanks to the judging panel members who provided valuable feedback to the teams.  Also, the students would like to send their heartfelt gratitude to the community experts who helped guide their projects from start to finish.  

Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Engineering Design and Development (EDD) is the capstone course in the PLTW high school engineering program. It is an engineering research course where seniors work in teams to design and develop an original solution to a valid open-ended technical problem by applying the engineering design process.  Students perform research to choose, validate, and justify a technical problem.  After carefully defining the problem, teams of students design, build, and test their solution.  Finally, student teams present and defend their original solution to an outside community panel of experts.