This year, 188 students from 21 high schools across Wisconsin entered the 2015 Engineering Design Competition sponsored by Project Lead The Way (PLTW), MSOE and Rockwell Automation.

Open to students enrolled in PLTW’s capstone courses, the competition challenges them to put their best engineering skills to the test by taking everything they’ve learned during their PLTW curriculum to design a solution to a technical problem of their choosing. They worked in teams to research, design, test and construct a solution to an open-ended engineering problem. The entries were reviewed and scored based on the students’ documentation of the process as defined in the Engineering Design Process Portfolio Scoring Rubric (EDPPSR). The competition emphasized project documentation.

PLTW Dinner_37.jpgFirst place went to students from Catholic Memorial High Schoolin Waukesha, Wis. Sam Aspinwall, Jared Bluma and Max Mutza won a $4,000 cash prize for their project, CVS…Not the Pharmacy, and it will be reviewed by the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center at UW-Whitewater. They also have the opportunity to apply for one of MSOE’s Presidential Scholarships for four years of full tuition.

Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) affects 140 million Americans, or 70% of employed people in the United States. CVS developed at the workplace causes blurred vision, headaches and eye strain, which can be distracting and reduce productivity. The Catholic Memorial student team designed a safe, easy and simple way to reduce the symptoms.

Middleton (Wis.) High School student Jack Verstegen won second place and a $2,000 cash prize for his adjustable resistance suit, which he designed to combat physical inactivity. The suit provides most daily exercise and does not cause bodily discomfort or injury. It requires very little specific time to use, is easily adjusted and withstands normal wear and tear.

Jackson Boulanger, Sawyer Kobes and Matt Link, from Pulaski (Wis.) High School, took third place and won a $1,000 cash prize for their project. They designed a carrier device for a kayak or small canoe that is easy to use and assisted by an electric motor. It makes kayaking available to those with disabilities that would otherwise prevent them from enjoying the sport.

Middleton (Wis.) High School students Ben Kalvin, Lex Peterson and Emily Walther earned Honorable Mention for their project, Running Arm Form. They designed a device that improves a runner’s arm form through muscle memory. Aimed at runners, running coaches, physical trainers and athletes, the device corrects the angle a runner’s arm is bent at to 90 degrees; eliminates the issue of arms crossing the body; and is lightweight and waterproof.

Chris King, Jacob Marek, Derek Urben and Jordan Zadra from Waunakee (Wis.) High School earned Honorable Mention for their project, Computer Integrated Desk. They designed different desk solutions for the classroom that integrate a computer, with the goal of removing paper and textbooks from schools. The tested different materials and designs to determine which would be most durable and easiest for students to use.

A second team from Waunakee (Wis.) High School also earned Honorable Mention for their tungsten carbide electronic security bicycle lock, which they titled, “Screaming Sledgehammer.” Brandt Dietry, Sara Freimuth and Devin McCormick researched and designed a strong, durable and lightweight lock featuring a locking mechanism that is incorporated into the bike itself and does not obstruct riding.

Students’ projects were evaluated by a team of 51 judges from across industry and education. They represented companies such as Abbott Labs, Dewitt & Ross, Eaton, Findorff, GE, John Deere, Kohler, Rockwell Automation and many others. Each project was reviewed six to nine time

The competition recognizes and rewards outstanding student projects and highlights the importance of engineering design and problem solving in STEM education. Students identify a need and address it through the design process in the capstone course, building upon the rest of the PLTW curriculum.

About Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a nonprofit organization that provides a transformative learning experience for K-12 students and teachers across the U.S. Through pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, K-12 students learn problem-solving strategies, critical and creative thinking, and how to communicate and collaborate. PLTW empowers students to develop in-demand knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in an evolving world. More than 8,000 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia offer PLTW programs. For more information on Project Lead The Way, visit

About MSOE

Milwaukee School of Engineering is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,800 students that was founded in 1903. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business, mathematics and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 96% placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting and mid-career salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.

About Rockwell Automation

Rockwell Automation Inc. (NYSE: ROK), the world’s largest company dedicated to industrial automation and information, makes its customers more productive and the world more sustainable. Headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., Rockwell Automation employs about 22,500 people serving customers in more than 80 countries.