Lake View High School Students Shine at STEM Learning Exchange Challenge

| Shelley Stern Grach

What happens when 600 innovative students come together in one room? Energy! Creativity! Can-do attitude! It’s great to see that across Illinois, there are hundreds of committed, driven students ready and able to solve every day STEM challenges.

The Illinois Science & Technology Institute (ISTI) hosted the Second Annual R&D STEM Learning Exchange Challenges Student Showcase on May 20, 2015, challenging students from 17 Illinois high schools to solve real-world problems in partnership with nine industry and academic partners. Microsoft’s Civic Technology & Engagement team joined the competition to witness students excited about research and development and careers in STEM fields.

This year’s Challenge addressed specific issues in science and technology, such as finding a way to provide power during a disaster or conducting a trade study for a missile defense system. Students have been working all year on the challenge, partnering directly with industry leaders to collect data and conduct experiments.

We are fortunate to support the amazing students and faculty of Lake View High School, an Early College STEM-focused high school that works closely with our local Microsoft team. In partnership with ISTI and Lake View High School faculty, Microsoft identified Water Management as a key, real-world Chicago program to solve. The students’ challenge was to use tools like sensors and analytics to diagnose and ultimately solve the water management issues in our community, which will help provide solutions for the greater Chicago region.

The ISTI Challenge was woven into the curriculum for multiple classes, and the students were grouped into several teams. We’d also like to congratulate the winning Lake View team, “Hydroswale” for their initiative in tackling the Challenge and bringing a steadfast solution to the public. The students developed a really creative approach to management water flow and cleanliness.


The students incorporated true STEM analysis, looking at various options, considering the benefits of various solutions prior to the development of the Hydroswale solution.


They also took a strong business approach, thinking through the benefits for the City of Chicago, the community, and taxpayers. Congratulations to the winning Lake View High School team of Kenia Maldonado, Oscar Rodriguez, Gavin Ou, Stephanie Vargas. Special thanks to Assistant Principal Angela Newton and Lake View Computer Science teachers Bernardo Juarez (Department Chair) and Bill Starzyk.

Lake View High School Students Shine at STEM Learning Exchange Challenge

Hats off to the hundreds of inspiring students who showed us the power of STEM education at the ISTI STEM Challenge. All the students are winners, and this outstanding process will serve them well as they further their education. Microsoft would also like to thank Mark Harris and Allie Barwise for their counsel, leadership and partnership on the ISTI STEM Challenge.

Welcoming Lake View High School Students and Partners at STEM Learning Exchange Challenge

The Illinois Science & Technology Institute (ISTI) is a 501(c)(3) public charity and an affiliated, complementary effort to the Illinois Science & Technology Coalition. The mission of the ISTI is to advance scientific understanding and technological innovation in Illinois through discovery, education, invention, and partnership. 

To learn more about Microsoft’s commitment to youth and education, visit our YouthSpark Hub or follow us on twitter at @msftcitizenship.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Shelley Stern Grach

They say that great work stems from a combination of passion and commitment, something that Shelley certainly possesses when it comes to her life and career. She currently serves on the boards of the Women’s Business Development Center, the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Thrive Chicago, Year Up and LISC Chicago. At Microsoft Chicago, she’s the Director of Civic Engagement, working at the intersection of computing and community, promoting STEM programs and using Microsoft technology to spur growth in the community. So no matter if it's work, play, or giving back, Shelley always makes sure her drive and professionalism help her complete her life's goals.