Design Challenge Showcase projects take on food security

How can food security be improved so that more people have access to fresh, nutritious food? Ohio students from 25 schools presented their ideas to an audience of leaders in agriculture and STEM education at Battelle, including representatives of the Ohio Department of Education, Ohio Corn & Wheat, the Ohio Soybean Council, Battelle and the Office of Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

Ninety students visited Battelle for the event, representing more than 4,000 Ohio students who participated in the 2019 Statewide Ohio Design Challenge, organized by the Ohio STEM Learning Network. This network is a public-private partnership managed by Battelle.

Every participating student team was required to build or design a prototype, showcasing their idea. Ohio Corn & Wheat and the Ohio Soybean Council provided access to experts and resources for teachers throughout the initiative, starting with a day-long professional development session on October 18 at the Nationwide & Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center.

At the showcase event, students heard from Paolo DeMaria, Ohio’s Superintendent for Public Instruction; David Glass, Central Ohio Regional Liaison for Lt. Governor Jon Husted; Jim Love, an expert in the use of drones in agriculture from Beck’s Hybrids, an Indiana-based seed company; Lou Von Thaer, Battelle President and CEO; and Aimee Kennedy, Battelle Senior Vice President of Education, Philanthropy and STEM Learning.

“The real world is full of design challenges,” Superintendent DeMaria said. “Participating in this experience is a great way for students to learn and practice design thinking skills and deepen their science and technology knowledge, better preparing them for future success. I applaud Battelle for their partnership and their commitment to transforming the education experience for Ohio’s students.”

“These students and this event highlight what Ohio is doing right – getting more people interested in and prepared for STEM industries, and also preparing them for the workforce of today and tomorrow,” said David Glass, representative of Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation.

“Designing prototypes, working in teams, and learning about breakthrough technologies builds skills in students they will use the rest of their lives,” said Battelle’s Aimee Kennedy.

“Agriculture is Ohio’s #1 industry and we are excited to see all the innovative ideas around food production that Ohio’s students have created to address food security,” said Tadd Nicholson, executive director of Ohio Corn & Wheat. “We are hoping that they will be inspired to seek out careers in the agriculture industry and bring their skills to help feed the world.”

“Ohio soybean farmers have been working for many years to educate and engage young Ohioans with the tremendous opportunities in food and agriculture careers,” said Kirk Merritt, Ohio Soybean Council executive director. “This program showcases the talent we have here in the state and how science and technology can be used to create innovative and sustainable solutions for future generations.”