High school team from STEM School Chattanooga tops college teams in Gig City Innovation Challenge
Posted on 11/17/2020
STEM School Chattanooga students compete in the Gig City Innovation Challenge.While some students were relaxing over Fall Break, a group of seniors from STEM School Chattanooga prepared to take on college teams in the Gig City Innovation Challenge. The STEM School team was the only high school group in the competition. The teams in the event were seeking to find a way to make our Gig City the EV City in the near future. The STEM Chattanooga team finished second in the competition, with a team from Northwestern University coming in first place.

The team included six seniors Lily Rosenow, Vistsael Madrigal, Alec Deckman, Lauren Bennett, Holden Gersch, and Grace Tang. The group had 48 hours to consider how to move Chattanooga forward in the quest to be a city known for the availability of resources for electric vehicles. The second-place finish earned the team a $3,000 prize.

"I am so amazingly proud of these kids," said Maddie Lowry, senior entrepreneurship instructor at STEM School Chattanooga. "The student's ability to function productively as a team, manage their time without help from adults, as well as produce such a comprehensive and well-researched plan makes me and STEM as a whole very proud."

The event is a 48-hour competition by CO.LAB for college students from across the nation. CO.LAB supports emerging entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystems in the Chattanooga area. STEM School Chattanooga had to get special permission to compete in this year's event. In the challenge, teams can develop and present approaches to solve a real-world challenge presented by national leaders in the energy field. These innovative companies are looking for new ideas to help reshape the energy economy and improve the adoption of renewable energy sources in communities across the country.

The STEM School Chattanooga pitch idea involved five major solutions, targeting Chattanooga's electrification. The team proposed Carta switch their entire fleet to fully electric buses. They also proposed creating new building codes that install cheap electric charging infrastructure in all new commercial and residential garages. The proposal would also have EPB offer a $500 rebate for charger installation in commercial and residential garages. Docked Electric Scooters would be spread across downtown Chattanooga and provide quick, cheap, and easy transport throughout the city. The students proposed a public event for all residents with test drives, raffles of new electric cars, and activities to educate and promote electric transportation in Chattanooga. The group even contacted local car manufacturers to see if they would participate in such an event.

"All of these ideas work together to increase and improve the electric transportation adoption of Chattanooga residents," added Lowry. "The team practiced many of the lessons we have discussed in their capstone course, STEM classes, as well as skills they have learned through their years at STEM School."

View the complete STEM School team plan