innovation challenge winners

PULASKI COUNTY, AR.— More than 400 students from 11 different schools in Pulaski County Special School District participated in the first ever Innovation Challenge in partnership with the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub at Winrock International. A team of judges reviewed 136 total innovative ideas from District students.

The Innovation Challenge served as an alternative to the traditional science fair as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students were challenged to think creatively in the field of science and technology in a new, innovative way. Student innovators learned through virtual training and consultations along with on-demand video lessons in topics such as CAD design, vector design, branding design, prototyping, and basic construction skills.

The finalists pitched their presentation in a virtual format to the judges on Friday, May 21. Winners were notified on Wednesday, May 26 by the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub.

Grand Prize Winner and Overall 1st place: Innovation Ignitor Award 
Self-Sanitizing Door Handle
Parker May and Lauren Westfall
Maumelle High School | Teacher: Sherri Keesee
Imagine if your business's door handles automatically were sanitized every 30 minutes on their own, without needing an employee to clean them. That's the Self-Sanitizing Door Handle. This product was well thought out and students even created a working prototype and did testing to see how well it sanitized surfaces. We can't wait to see every business with Self-Sanitizing Door Handles.

Overall 2nd place: Innovation Changemaker Award
Brogan Fountain, Cruz Brackeen, Michael Devere, Khloe Brown, and Hannah Twitty 
Baker Elementary | Teacher: Susan Fountain
Judges called this idea “Brilliant” and voted it the most creative presentation. Squeezy’s is an all-in-one self-pasting travel toothbrush.

Overall 3rd place: Innovation Challenger Award
RC Trash Can
Nathan Davenport and Christian Gaddy
Maumelle High School | Teacher: Sherri Keesee The RC Trash Can is a robotic trash can made for disabled people who can’t move around their homes easily.

Overall 4th place: Innovation Futurist Award
Jewelry Buddy: a Traveling Jewelry Container
Charvi Vyas and Scarlett Williams
Robinson Elementary | Teacher: Claudia Farmer
The Jewelry Buddy is a travel jewelry container, made from recycled materials, to keep jewelry from getting tangled while travelling.

Overall 5th place: Innovation Solver Award
Online Organizer
Kyndal Browning and Ava Townsend
Sylvan Hills Elementary  | Teacher: Mrs.Belin
The Online Organizer is an organizer that attaches to a laptop for virtual students and workers to keep paper and pencil with their laptop.

Best 3rd Grade Project: Young Innovator Award 
Seed Dropper 3000
Kanyon Fenwick, Amirah Smith, Elijah Reed, Ethan Rodriquez
Oakbrooke Elementary | Teacher: Jarrod Haymond, Tasha Middaugh
Their idea is for an airplane shaped drone that drops wildflower seeds to help pollinators like Bees. They designed their idea with TinkerCAD.

The grand prize winner will be awarded a prototype of their product, a customized t-shirt of their new brand, one-on-one consultation in entrepreneurship, and 10 hours of private instruction from the Innovation Hub. The top 5 winners will get Innovation Challenge winner t-shirts, laser-cut certificates of achievement, and a package of virtual learning and group consultation to help take their ideas to the next level on topics like entrepreneurship, website design, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more.