BALTIMORE — When you ask Pikesville High grade 12 students Lauren Losin and Morgan Hoffman what their career aspirations are, they don’t hesitate.
Without question, they want to be engineers.
Lauren is an aspiring biomedical engineer. Morgan’s focus is aerospace engineering.
So you can imagine their excitement when they found out they could spend a portion of their Grade 12 studies designing, proposing, and creating a solution to a real-word problem. Not only that, they could collaborate with professional engineers.
Their hope is to design and create a device that can be used in conjunction with standard door knobs to improve the capability of those with hand/wrist mobility limitations to open doors. They call their project the ReKnob. They were among the more than 100 eager students who presented their proposals to engineers at the second annual Shark Tank/Engineering Symposium at The Engineers Club in Baltimore.
Students, participating in 40 teams with 2-4 students per team, presented a unique, real-world problem they intend to solve throughout the year. The professional engineering community will provide feedback and vie for the opportunity to work with the students throughout the year.
The important work will get done in Career and Technology engineering programs throughout the county.
For Morgan, the opportunity to take engineering classes via Project Lead the Way changed her mindset about her future goals.
“I didn’t want to pursue a career in STEM when I started high school,” she said. “But through Project Lead the Way, I honed my STEM skills, and it inspired me to want to become an engineer. This year, I’m taking aerospace engineering through Project Lead the Way and that’s what made me really want me to focus on the field of aerospace.”
Lauren’s known for years that she wanted to focus on engineering. And she said she feels like she will have an advantage entering college because of her studies at Pikesville High.
“Having this experience in high school, having to complete a design and really follow through with it, I feel very prepared headed into college,” Lauren said. “I feel confident that I could do this on a larger scale at an engineering scale.”
You could sense the enthusiasm as students spoke with professional engineers. So many great ideas were presented. Here are a few of the students who graciously shared their presentations with us.
Preventing overheating in smart phones
The problem: When cell phones overheat, they can cause damage to the device. Or, worse yet, a fire.
The solution: A smart case that would warn users when a smart phone is overheating.
Improving drinking water quality
Project team’s school: Hereford High
The problem: Water fountains from public sources can have unreliable water quality.
The proposed solution: An in-line water filter that can dramatically improve drinking water quality.
Project team’s school: Pikesville High
The problem: Especially in drought-stricken areas, water conservation is essential. How can we, as humans, save water and, by proxy, save money on electric bills?
The proposed solution: It’s two-fold: First designing an affordable device that would limit water flow from a shower head. Then, an app that would help track water usage.
The perfect hair cut
The problem: It’s so hard to get the perfect hair cut. And customers struggle to explain to hair stylists what exactly they are looking for.
The proposed solution: A digital device that would attach to hair clippers and serve as an assist for hair stylists. If a customer wants exactly 2 inches off the top, the device would beep and warn the stylist.