2018 S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge Winners Announced

More than 180 of the state’s brightest young scientists gathered in Columbia on Saturday, April 14, 2018 for the sixth annual S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge, sponsored by EnlightenSC—an educational initiative of South Carolina’s electric cooperatives.

Organizers created the competition to spur students’ interest in STEM subjects: science, technology, engineering and math. The 2018 Challenge, which took place at Midlands Technical College’s Airport Campus, offered students ages 9-19 an opportunity to participate individually, or in teams, in seven unique competitions. The 2018 competition winners were:

Bridge Building Challenge

1st– Zachary Huang, Christopher Li, Pranav Poola (Dent Middle School)

2nd– Alexandra Matthews, Nicolas Matthews (KC Clover Club)

3rd– Gregory Pavlunenko, Wesley Ward (Westview Middle School)

Penny Boat Mystery Challenge 

1st– Zachary Huang, Christopher Li, Pranav Poola (Dent Middle School)

2nd– Brycen Middleton, Brandon Watts (Miracle Academy Prepatory School)

3rd– Hunter Bailey, Adrianna Lechzier, Braxton Seegars, Ethan Turner (Lewisville Middle School)

Energy House Challenge

1st– Shrihan Ganesh Babu, Satvik Nelakuditi (Dent Middle School)

2nd– Alison Miller, Vanesa Miller (Pickens County)

3rd– Jaylee Borja, Makayla Hazzard, Indyah Hemphill, Kirsten McCullough (Oakdale Elementary)

LEGO Robotics Challenge

1st– Cumari Boyd, Tremaine Richardson (Holly Hill Roberts Middle School)

2nd– Kaden Dickson, Cole Griffin, Isaac Kanagy, Caden Whitfield (YouthLink)

3rd– Ella Grace Boynton, Caleb Garcia, Liam McCall, Benjamin Ward (Pickens Elementary School)

Power of Photography Challenge

1st– Isabella Birket (Kershaw County 4-H Clover Club)

2nd– Megan Santoro (Kershaw County 4-H Clover Club)

3rd– Lillian Thomas (Classical Conversations Clover)

Solar Oven Showcase Challenge

1st– Sydney Kailasapillai, Alexandria Pacunas, Reagan Thomas (Classical Conversations Clover)

2nd–  Sarthak Nelakuditi, Yashas Peddireddy (Center for Knowledge)

3rd– Leah Gadsden, Evan Middleton (Miracle Academy Preparatory School)

Rocketry Challenge

1st– Joy Ferrell, Damon White (Miracle Academy Preparatory School)

2nd–  Treyvon Dennis, Caleb Gadsden, Dominick Lampkin (Miracle Academy Preparatory School)

3rd– Tolga Bilgis, Pranesh Kannan (Green Charter of the Midlands)

“We love to see young people excited about STEM subjects,” said Courtney Epting, a represenative of EnlightenSC. “South Carolina’s electric co-ops are proud to be sponsoring this event for the fourth consecutive year.”

In addition to the competitions, families and participants enjoyed a STEM Fair offered during the event. The fair included exhibits, interactive presentations and STEM-related activities.

The Engineering Challenge is part of the 4-H Science on the Move initiative, a statewide partnership of the S.C. Coalition for Mathematics & Science and S.C. 4-H.  Science on the Move works with schools, after school programs, county 4-H clubs and community youth organizations to provide educational resources that increase students’ interest in and exposure to STEM subjects and careers.  By collaborating with local, statewide, and national education efforts, 4-H Science on the Move helps maximize community efforts to help students become the prepared workforce that South Carolina needs to interest new businesses and encourage economic growth.

“Participating in these competitions helps students improve their problem-solving skills and further explore their interests in engineering,” said Katie Burch, event organizer and coordinator of 4-H Science on the Move. “We hope that they also become interested in STEM careers. Participating in competitions like this can help students realize how their skills and their interests can translate into a career that they would enjoy.”

The event’s title sponsor again this year is EnlightenSC, an energy-education initiative developed by the state’s electric cooperatives. The EnlightenSC program and its corresponding website ― EnlightenSC.org ― provide South Carolina teachers with free training opportunities and the online classroom resources they need to easily incorporate energy lessons and get students excited about STEM subjects.  Classroom materials on the EnlightenSC website are aligned with state education standards.

“We need bright young people in our state working to find solutions to our energy challenges,” said Lindsey Smith, vice president of education at The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina. “Consumer-owned electric cooperatives are committed to education and making a difference in their communities.  We’re delighted to have an opportunity again this year to demonstrate that commitment by sponsoring the S.C. 4-H Engineering Challenge.”