2021 DifferenceMaker High School Idea Challenge

On December 15th, DifferenceMaker® held its 3rd Annual High School Idea Challenge from 9am-1pm at UMass Lowell’s Haverhill Innovation Hub.

To kick-off the event, Gina Mustoe, teacher, Westford Academy, gave opening remarks. She then passed the stage to Holly Lalos, Director, Rist DifferenceMaker Institute. Holly presented an overview of DifferenceMaker, sharing the benefits and opportunities the program offers. This was followed by a presentation of the Haverhill Innovation Hub by Stephanie Guyotte, Associate Director, Haverhill Innovation Hub. Then, Holly introduced the judges and emceed the event.

The judges were:

Katie Harrington, Co-Founder, Ambulatory Innovations

Siddhant Iyer, Founder, TrueFIT

Donna Mcfadden, Massachusetts DECA State Advisor

Tatiana Tompkins, team member of Protected Pin & NoSno Mat

Andy Vargas, Massachusetts House of Representatives

Judges, from left to right, Donna McFadden, Katie Harrington, Tatiana Tompkins, Siddhant Iyer, Andy Vargas.

After the judge introductions, the event began. The audience was excited to hear the creative ideas from each high school student team. Each pitching team had 5 minutes to present, followed by 5 minutes of judge Q&A. After the presentations, the judges deliberated.

Dan Alexander and Neev Maru, representing Westford Academy, pitching their product MC3D.

Congratulations to all teams that presented and won awards!

1st place, $500 – Mya Doucette, Gaby Guimaraes, Zach Medailleu, and Gabriel Olafsson, Essex North Shore Agricultural & Technical School – “ZuMix” – a healthy, organic snack.

2nd place, $300 – Dan Alexander and Neev Maru, Westford Academy – ”MC3D” – an educational STEM-based camp for kids.

3rd place, $200 – Callum Mond, Declan Mond, and Matt Weinfurt, Nashoba Regional High School – “Boxletics” – sports games and equipment delivered regularly to customers doorsteps.

Honorable Mention, DifferenceMaker gear (t-shirt, pen, lanyard, water bottle, notebook) – Isha Macha and Morgan Smith, Westford Academy – “I&M Solutions” – safe and effective teeth whitening solution.

After the presentations, lunch was served, and round table mentor meetings took place between college DifferenceMaker teams and the high school teams. Each high school team had a 15-minute mentor session with the DifferenceMaker college students.

Thank you to the DifferenceMaker teams who volunteered their time to support and inspire the high school students:

BenjiBall, Benjamin McEvoy and Edward Morante

Digital Life, Smriti Kumar, Alejandra LunaJuarez, Amy Nguyen and TinaThuy Nguyen

Green Fertilizer, Benard Tabu and Visal Veng

Smart Escape, Noah Boudreau and Kevin Healy

Terminus, Ariel Shramko

Thank you to DECA Inc. for sponsoring the event prizes. Another thanks to all partnership schools and teachers involved in this collaboration.

To view photos of this event, please visit DifferenceMaker social media:

LinkedIn: DifferenceMaker

Twitter: @difference_UML

Instagram: @differencemakeruml

Facebook: umldifferencemaker

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