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“Powering Pittsburgh” competition showcases students with bright futures 

Winners of Powering Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is no stranger to champions, and several more were honored during the “Powering Pittsburgh” championship event held at Heinz Field Nov. 19.  

Groups of four students teamed up to tackle an important question: How will we power Pittsburgh and/or Heinz Field in the future? The innovative groups of students had numerous answers, such as harnessing the power of our three rivers, utilizing foot traffic to generate electricity, solar power and more. 

Students were split into divisions representing middle school and high school. In order to compete, each team needed to show a slideshow presentation and scale model of their project. After a 10-minute presentation, each team had to answer tough questions from a panel of esteemed judges, such as the economic and environmental impact of their proposals. The top two teams from each division were declared winners and will soon take part in an unforgettable experience.  

The winners were honored on the turf of Heinz Field prior to the Steelers’ Dec. 1 home game against the Cleveland Browns. The students also won a $1,500 donation towards their school’s STEM program.

In the high school division, Mt. Lebanon swept the top two spots. Each team named itself after a combination of energy science and Steelers legends. Team Franco for the Future Female Scientists and Team Greene each had the winning gameplan in their alternative power playbooks. 

The middle school division was won by the Deer Lakes team Boswell’s Bioverse and St. Phillip Middle School’s squad, JuJu Smith-SHOEsters. 

“It’s great that we see this generation exploring STEM areas and exploring STEM careers,” said Ms. Susan Gilette Meer, the STEM Academy director at Mt. Lebanon High School. “They all came together to form new ideas.”

Numerous schools from across Western Pennsylvania were represented, including: 

  • Mt. Lebanon
  • Baldwin
  • St. Phillip 
  • North Allegheny
  • Deer Lakes
  • Trinity
  • Canon-McMillan
  • New Brighton
  • Blackhawk
  • Western Beaver

In order to advance to the championship event, Allegheny County teams met Oct. 8 at the Allegheny Intermediate Unit’s Homestead office. Beaver and Westmoreland County schools also held regional competitions.

There was no fee for any school to participate. Shell Polymers and the Pittsburgh Steelers generously sponsored the event. Ms. Amy Davis, Career Education and Academic Events Coordinator of the AIU Teaching and Learning division, was instrumental in planning and organizing the competition. 

- Photo and story by Eddie Phillipps