Student excellence and innovation took center stage at the 57th annual Shawnee Mission R&D Forum.
Throughout May 4, teachers, students, and family members toured exhibits and participated in interactive demonstrations related to science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). It also was an opportunity to hear musical performances, see robotics teams in action, and learn.
Students and teachers led interactive exhibits and were on-hand to talk about the projects they entered in the forum. For example, a team of Trailwood fifth-graders built a Rube Goldberg machine. Trailwood teacher, Crystal Willamson, encouraged the team to include ten different steps to accomplish their task.
“With all the different elements and team members, it was fun tweaking everyone’s ideas,” Lucas Harlan, who worked on the team, shared at the Forum.
This year, a new R&D event, presented in partnership with Harvesters, brought teams together to work toward a common goal and raise awareness about hunger in our community. Four teams of high school students participated in the Harvesters Lunch Challenge. The teams competed against each other to prepare healthy meals on a budget using food you found at a food pantry. The activity encouraged creativity and problem solving, while promoting healthy eating.
The R&D Forum concluded with board of education members, Superintendent Dr. Mike Fulton and district leaders, Kim Hinkle, executive director of the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation, and Bob Regnier, representing the Regnier Family, which supports the R&D Forum, presenting honors and congratulating students on their accomplishments.
The Regnier Award, also called the “Over and Above Award” recognizes students who exhibited outstanding effort and achievement for their work.
Regnier Awards were presented to:
Peyton Panovich, Shawnee Mission West Senior and Biotechnology Signature Program student, for her science research project titled “The Effect of Cucurbitacin B and I on Colon Cancer.” Her teacher is Brenda Bott.
Nick Angell, a senior at Shawnee Mission South High School for his walnut dresser honed from a tree that has special meaning to his family. His teacher is Steve Magee.
Sam Springer, Shawnee Mission Northwest senior and Project Lead the Way Engineering student for his project titled “Rocket Stabilization System.” His teacher is Greg Thiel.