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Inaugural STEM Challenge and STEM Challenge2 Newsletter


Complete Competition Packet at

STEM Challenge - Background Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande and the University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering partnered for the inaugural STEM Challenge in 2010. This singular educational competition provided a real world opportunity for regional high school students to develop their innovative ideas via a business plan approach to help solve critical issues facing our six-county region.

STEM Challenge - Why? Recognizing the importance of employers being able to compete successfully in the global marketplace, Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande is committed to increasing Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) awareness and to taking action to improve individual educational scores in science and math within our sixcounty region (Brewster, Culberson, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis and Presidio). Our goal is to inspire and engage our region’s high tech students toward filling the high demand industries of tomorrow. What do we mean by real world opportunity? By aligning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math components into a business plan, the STEM Challenge is intended to capture the innovative entrepreneurial spirit of students by emphasizing the importance of applying those skills to help fill high demand industries of tomorrow.

STEM Challenge – Project Logistics Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande outreached all regional high schools to sign up via a STEM Challenge marketing kit (outreach letter, rules and business plan template). Teams then developed and submitted business plans to Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande for the University of Texas at El Paso College of Engineering to evaluate. The top ten teams presented their business plans to a panel of community leaders who determined the winners.

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Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande STEM Challenge

Source: T E X A S E D U C A T I O N A G E N C Y Education Service Center Academic Excellence Indicator System Region 19: EL PASO 2008-09 Region Performance Report

STEM Challenge – 2010                “And the winner is…Coronado High School Thunder Solutions,” declared Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande Board Member Judy H. Ledbetter. With that phrase the main auditorium inside the Undergraduate Learning Center on the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) campus filled with cheers. It was a moment that completed a tireless process that began several months earlier. It was the culmination of a plan that would prove to showcase 47 of the most innovative young minds in our region. It was the 2010 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Challenge.           Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande along with the UTEP College of Engineering (COEN) partnered for the unique educational competition Saturday, May 8, 2010 in front of a crowd of supporters. Teams from area high schools presented business plans aimed at solving critical issues facing our six-county region to a panel of 10 leading experts including Texas Workforce Commissioner Andres Alcantar and El Paso Mayor John F. Cook for the opportunity to win money, scholarships, internship opportunities and school recognition. “This initiative looks to address the growing need to fill future in-demand STEM related careers in the region,” explained Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande CEO Lorenzo Reyes. “We also hope to help improve Science and Math scores by creating STEM awareness to area youth,” added Reyes.                  Among the area high school teams that presented were Americas-Copp-Tech Corporation,  Bowie-Environmentally Great Concepts, Chapin-The Show, Coronado-Blueverse™, Coronado-Thunder Solutions, Del Valle-Silver Dollar Café, Hanks-Traction Jack Co., MontwoodPleasantville Drive-In, Valle Verde Early College-Rising of a New Tomorrow and Valle Verde Early College-The Monorail. These were the ten best plans selected by the UTEP COEN after an initial evaluation of plans from a pool of submissions from across the border community. Some of the ideas that made the cut included an energy saving gas cap, a vertical farm, a green drive-in, and an indoor amusement park. Traction Jack Co. from Hanks High School finished in 3rd place and developed a tool to assist off-roaders when stuck. “Traction Jack Co. is a real business. We are looking to launch (Traction Jack Co.) soon and we’re confident about it. The STEM Challenge gave us the chance to see what kind of potential our business has. Thank you for this opportunity,” said STEM Challenger Jeffrey V. Brown.           With contributions from Time Warner Cable’s Connect a Million Minds, Peter Piper Pizza and various science based exhibitors, the event had plenty to offer those who attended.           In the end, the STEM Challenge was not only about which team was crowned the 2010 winner, but was about the effort that was put forth by developing minds on how to make our world a better place. Each student who competed at the STEM Challenge was reminded of just that by the lasting words of Mayor John Cook, “Tonight I want you to go outside and look up into the sky. You won’t see any stars up there because they’re all here!”

rsity May 8, 2010 at The Unive

of Texas at El Paso

Grand Prize Winners Crispyn Aldridge, Hasan Soleja, Xochitl Miranda, David Esparza, Ben Puschett, Robert Zubiate Thunder Solutions focused on the utilization of a vertical farm targeted at reducing the overall cost of produce and trade. The El Paso region is currently facing limitations brought on by high production and transportation costs in regards to produce and other similar goods. The farm will produce organic goods for consumption; it will utilize various agricultural techniques; and in regards to health, the business’ availability of food as well as the nutrition that is provided with these foods will impact the area’s wellbeing. Being in a closed environment permits the vertical farm to take in little concern of the outside atmospheric conditions. The internal environment will be regulated to a state that ensures food production will be at its highest.

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Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande STEM Challenge

Pleasantville Drive-In

Second Place Winners Marisol Canales, Erica Lucero, Karina Marquez, Laura Pellerito Pleasantville LLC is a first of its kind family oriented drive-in theater offering state of the art projection, touch screens for concession food ordering, WiFi Sound and new and classic films in an al fresco environment. Pleasantville LLC is a “green” project utilizing Recycled Asphalt Product (RAP) materials like concrete PSI, insulation and double pane gas permeated windows for its construction and development. Pleasantville LLC meets Small Business Administration and Environmental Protection Agency standards and offers a clean power solution to our region. The first priority is customer satisfaction thereby providing quality service at an affordable price during this economic climate.

Third Place Winners Carlos Amaro and Jeffery Brown The Traction Jack was designed from the need for an easier solution to free vehicles from impossible situations they may get stuck in. Since we live in the desert, there is a desire for off-road vehicle use. Sometimes the vehicle will get stuck in soft sand and the situation won’t permit the aid of another vehicle. The Traction Jack is designed to serve as a platform for the vehicle to catch on to. It can also be used in other parts of the country/world in snowy climates, muddy swamps, gravel, icy situations, and in combat when military vehicles get stuck.

This competition reinforces my confidence in the next generation of leaders. s at El Paso at The University of Texa

May 8, 2010

Del Valle – Silver Dollar Café

Gabriel Medrano, Meghan Shaughnessy, Viridiana Codina, Arturo Rios, Julio Enriquez, and Marco Espinoza The Silver Dollar is a full-service coffee and tea house located at the Mills Building at 303 N. Oregon in El Paso, Texas. The regional issue being addressed is the revitalization of downtown El Paso. The Silver Dollar sells 1,000 Faces Coffee, which is certified by the Rainforest Alliance and the Fair Trade Association meaning, they have access to a higher grade bean and are legally required to provide their coffee bean and tea leaf farmers with a fair pay that can sustain them and their families. Silver Dollar Cafe is also the only café in El Paso to sell sweet bread and sweetbread from the locally-famous Bowie Bakery.

Valle Verde Early College – The Monorail

Abigail Muniz, Adrian Barrios, Irving Salcedo, Bryan Dolz, Jose Tobias, Caesar Esquivel The increase in population for El Paso, Texas, brings the need for a better system of transportation. The El Paso Monorail will reduce traffic in the City of El Paso, making it an alternative form of transportation which is environmental friendly. Furthermore, it will transport El Paso residents securely, efficiently and inexpensively. The regional issue addressed is traffic. The Monorail will reduce the traffic congestion in the city, making sure it satisfies the El Paso residents’ needs to an alternative form of transportation.

Valle Verde Early College The Rising of a New Tomorrow (Solar Panels)

Katherine Carrasco, Hugh Chavez, Nydia Huynh, Joanne Delgado, Ashley Martinez, Alicia Uranga The Rising of a New Tomorrow’s purpose is to transform the city of El Paso into an energy saving community. The proposal for the ordinance is aimed to help reduce pollution, start using renewable resources as a form of a main energy source, and provide energy conservation by installing solar powered systems in future homes. When these solar panels are installed, clean and natural energy will be produced for our consumers. The implementation of solar panels in homes will also create new jobs.

Bowie Environmentally Great Concepts

Melissa Garcia, Heriberto Garcia, Estefania Favela, Nayely Camacho The environmental gas cap is a device that will stop the millions of pounds of petroleum vapor that are released into the atmosphere annually due to the fueling of passenger vehicles. This adds to the greenhouse effect and pollution of the air as well, which are major contributors of global warming. The environmental gas cap will greatly enhance the quality of life for this and future generations because this company will start the process of repairing the planet. Since this is a not for profit company, part of the proceeds will go to charitable environmental organizations that are dedicated to the preservation and betterment of our city.

Page 4 STEM Challenge 3 March 4th and 5th, 2011 University of Texas at El Paso College of Business Administration Page 6 Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande STEM Challenge

Coronado – Blueverse

Chris Palmer, Elias Farran, Esteban Herrera, Kirsten Adams, Jaime Alvelais Blueverse™ serves to provide original and innovative heating and cooling solutions which are both energy efficient and cost efficient. The main product offered is a geothermal heat pump, also known as an earth-coupled heat pump. El Paso, having a desert climate, experiences great variations in temperature from season to season; triple digit temperatures in the summer and below-freezing temperatures in the winter. Because of this, the operating of air conditions in the summer and heaters in the winter lead to very high energy costs. The goal of Blueverse™ is to reduce the amount of energy consumed on heating and cooling to reduce the costs of those heating and cooling systems.

Chapin - The Show

Marrisa Jena Meeks, Ruben Dominguez, Diana Dominguez, Cesar Rojas, Joshua Allen El Paso needs visitors and more attention to increase the revenue the city brings in. The Show is how we may achieve that. The show is an indoor amusement park (indoor because due to the extreme heat of summer people

shy away from parks) which provides features such as educational aspects of the park regarding how the rides operate. Having an indoor amusement park makes it inevitable to bring people into the city. The Show will provide entertainment for all ages, providing not only another activity to bind the city together but to bring in revenue to El Paso. The Show will provide 6 extravagant exciting rides, an animal showing for kids and small games and presentations for all ages.

Americas - Copp-Tech Corporation I-Shun Liao, Abraham Galindo, Janette Gomez, Carlos Mejia

Nosocomial infections are on the rise and are passed through people within hospitals, or highly occupied settings; many have become life threatening superbugs due to their ability to become resistant to several antibiotics. The goal of Copp-Tech Corporation is to provide a safe environment in hospitals for the common good of our community with innovative antimicrobial copper surfaces. Antimicrobial copper surfaces in forms of hospital push plates, faucets, switch plates and many other products will be produced in an attempt to stop the spread of deadly nosocomial infections, and infections within other facilities.

rsity of Texas at El Paso

May 8, 2010 at The Unive

Paul Maxwell Executive Director and CEO The Bi-National Sustainability Laboratory

The Honorable John F. Cook Mayor City of El Paso

Carlos Guzmán President & COO Global Alternative Fuels, LLC

Guillermo Silva, Jr. Corporate Secretary El Paso Electric

Barbara Walker Territory Account Manager CISCO Systems

These students energized me – “ what creativity, what innovation!”

This competition confidence in the ne leaders

The perfect recipe for “ student STEM awareness, The Honorable Andres Alcantar Commissioner Representing the Public Texas Workforce Commission

exploration, and preparation all in one!

Gilbert Moreno, Jr. P.E. Clinical Professor Engineering Education University of Texas at El Paso Irene D. Ramirez Assistant City Engineer City of El Paso

Enrique Luján Coordinador General Instituto de Apoyo al Desarrollo Tecnológico Alberto M. Correa, PhD. President The International Institute for Entrepreneurial Advancement, Inc.

n reinforces my ext generation of s.

Smart ideas “ delivered with a STEM focus!” “WOW!”


1st Place Winning Team

Valle Verde Early College - Grey Water Solutions Faculty Sponsor: Robert Trejo Team Members: Katherine Carrasco-Ramos Levi Morgan, Abigail Muniz, Mary Fuentes and Isaac Bautista Water has always been a precious resource in the Border City. By making grey water recycling common, effective, and affordable in households city-wide, water waste will be reduced and the limited water supply El Paso currently has will be more effectively managed. The areas targeted using recycled grey-water are city parks and home irrigation systems. Grey Water Solutions will bring efficient water conservation techniques into homes and businesses, saving money and water while working to constantly improve the technology involved and the techniques used to implement it. Grey Water Solutions will develop waste water reclamation systems that can be applied on a large scale to any area that has a shortage of water.

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2nd Place Team

Coronado High School - Thunder Solutions Faculty Sponsor: Debra Brinkman Team Members: Megan Abel, Darrell Cheu, David Esparza, Edwin Lopez and Ben Puschett ThunderSolutions addresses the problem of an inefficient medical record system by creating an effective online database. This system bridges the gap between hospitals, doctors and patients by creating a safe, reliable system that replaces current medical records. In linking all the parts of the medical process, ThunderSolutions reduces the risk of mistakes and gives the patient control over their care.

Best Presentation Team Presidio High School- Presidio Rocketry and Robotics, Inc. Sponsors: Shella Condino, Adelina Sanchez and Alison Crucido Team Members: Janet Nieto, Mextli Delgado and Ana Karen Nieto Presidio Rocketry and Robotics, Inc is a corporation composed of students and teachers with expertise in the fields of rocket engineering and biotechnology. PRRI will offer and sell enhanced hybrid grass and seeds that are weed killer tolerant, drought resistant and salinity tolerant. PRRI will use reusable rockets to enhance cell fusion (combining two different cell species to produce a hybrid) of Alfalfa (weed killer tolerant), Bahia grass (drought tolerant) and/or Saltlander Forage Grass (salinity tolerant). The company is also committed to providing agricultural research and other cell fusion experiments conducted through rocketry.

Best Elevator Pitch

Coronado High School-The Garden Market Faculty Sponsor: Debra Brinkman Team Members: Jordan Furman, Tess Haegele, Sonja Michelsen and Vernon Shanker

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Bowie High School - Environmental Society Faculty Sponsor: Rochelle Rosas Team Members: Bianca Montes, Llasmely Ochoa, Martin Sanchez and Yasmin Vargas Environmental Society’s idea is to create an environmental friendly zone throughout our local schools. What better way is there to go green in a school than by having a greenhouse that can be both classroom and place where harvested items such as vegetables, fruits and plants are grown? These characteristics will enable schools to be successful while learning things such as biology by actually being taught in an actual greenhouse. This can also bring revenue from product sales. Chapin High School - InvenTeens Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Breanne Baray, Nicholas Westerlink, Naomi Brissette, Khalil Gaono, Orlando Petty InvenTeens is an informational technology manufacturing company. PhotoInst is the company’s main product-a system that scans a vehicle’s plate and projects related records on the windshield of the officer’s squad car. PhotoInst is a voice command system that interacts with existing police computers allowing officers to access information without ever having to take their hands off the wheel or their eyes off the road. It provides a safe way to recognize and identify a potential threat. Chapin High School - SportsSenz Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Alyssa Ferrari, Alyeshka Jusino, Natalia Font and Chris Frank SportsSenz is a consumer product manufacturer that specializes in sport-sensor systems. The company’s main product is “Sideline,” a system that detects whether or not a ball is out of a marked perimeter. Sideline uses sensor tape technology combined with a device inserted in the ball of the game to determine when balls are out of bounds. Sports Senz plans to innovate all ball-based sports by using the Sideline technology.

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Chapin High School - MCJKP Energy LLC Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Courtney Lenzner, Jose A. Delgado, Kris Pesnell, Michael Wolski and Paola Pineda MCJKP Energy LLC works to supply a reliable, renewable and affordable source of energy for stationary operating systems such as network servers or electronic equipment that needs to remain powered 24-7. MCJKP technologies incorporate alternative energy products with a unique solar/steam engine design as main power source. MCJKP has partnered with the EPISD and it is currently working on a model to power small servers for multiple campuses. Similar systems will later be scaled down or up in size to accommodate other applications. The team plans to promote its products to other school districts in the region. Chapin High School - Legit World Wide Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Amber Espaillat, Briana Williamson, Celeste Vallejo, Frankie Perry and Joseph Iglesias Legit World Wide is a eco-friendly packaging manufacturing company. Buck-O-Stuff, the all-in-one bucket that holds popcorn, candy and drinks is the company’s main product that comes in different sizes and capacities. Buck-O-Stuff products are sold and distributed in all major entertainment venues such movie theaters, sport stadiums, theaters, churches, carnivals and amusement parks. The product aims to solve the challenge of carrying all your snacks and drinks without spilling or dropping anything. Chapin High School - Innovating the World, Inc (ITW, Inc) Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Carlos Licon, Emily Luth, Karla Mesta, Raul Ontiveros and Gilbert Telles Innovating the World, Inc (ITW, Inc) is the manufacturer and patent owner of “TRECK”, the unique multi-purpose all-in-one ice chest, table and chairs portable unit. The TRECK units were specially designed to appeal consumers through its multi-function capabilities, low weight, durability and affordable cost. It is estimated that 82% of people that use an ice chest, usually have other things to carry – thus this product idea was born.

Chapin High School - EP^2 El Paso Simplified Faculty Sponsor: Rebeca Gonzalez Team Members: Jada Ellis, Kimberly Gonzalez, Rebecca Eunchong Jung, Sophia Ortega and Sara Shanks

Coronado High School - Push Faculty Sponsors: Jorge Jacquez and Andres Mendoza Team Members: Esteban Herrera, Elias Farran, John Ramirez, Hugo Valverde and Diego Velasco

EP^2 El Paso Simplified designs, and manages interactive planning tools for major metropolitan websites and downloadable applications for smart-phones. This tool has been strategically designed to help potential El Paso area customers to interactively plan and book entertainment, lodging, food, transportation and other services packages based on a combination of budget, outdoor temperature, available time and preferences. EP^2 El Paso Simplified is a non-profit enterprise that will be able to receive income from a diverse set of activities such as the collection or management of data, advertising, downloadable application and franchising of its system.

The Push product is a portable USB charger that has more than one energy source and is able to charge far longer than any other charger currently in the market. The issue that is in question is one that everyone who owns a portable device of some sort has experienced, it’s when your portable device’s battery is low and you have nowhere to charge it. Or when there is a blackout in your city and you need to call someone but your cell phones battery is dead, this where other chargers come in but they are pricey or they only last for one charge. This is critical for customers who utilize portable medical devices and cannot go without power outside of your typical charging environments (home, car, etc.).

Coronado High School - The Garden Market Faculty Sponsors: Debra Brinkman, Sharie Kranz Team Members: Jordan Furman, Tess Haegele, Sonja Michelsen, Vernon Shanker

Marfa Junior Senior High School - Solarity Telecom Faculty Sponsor: Benjie Rosaldo Team Members: Jarett Lujan, Myra Leos, Vashti Armendariz, Selene Pineda and Amy Hernandez

The Garden Market is a community garden that will build community, enable El Pasoans to enjoy the outdoors, and offer a place for those individuals lacking the land to garden. The Garden Market will have 152 plots of land to assign to individual members to garden. There will be benches and picnic tables along with an aesthetically pleasing tented central plaza with lights, air conditioning and heating available for community events. In addition to social events, classes that teach about nutrition, healthy eating habits and gardening techniques will be offered. The whole garden will be available for fieldtrips to add to the education of El Paso students.

Solarity Telecom is a team of specialized scientists who have revolutionized the method of conserving energy in our homes by using solar energy. SolarityTelecom is a new technology that will use solar panels to retrieve energy for the battery reserves located on the back of the solar phone. This provides the consumer with easy and accessible charging. Also, this will reduce the amount of electrical energy people use in their everyday lives. “What about a cloudy day?” No problem, the solar panel, which will be located on the back of the phone, is so sensitive to light that charging can also be used indoors with fluorescent lighting!

Coronado High School - Thunderstruck Tours Faculty Sponsor: Catherine Tabor Team Members: Kirsten Adams, Jennifer Gonzalez and Christopher Palmer

Parkland High School - Val Navigations Faculty Sponsor: Jacob Valtierra Team Members: Anaysa Arce, Viviana Ortiz and Laura Velasquez

The goal of the team’s products are to educate the local citizens of all of the rich history that surrounds them in their Sun City and for tourists and the nation alike to see the culture and traditions of our city while having fun doing so. For students exploring Texas, they can learn while exploring and being tested on the fun facts they learn in the different cities and locations highlighted in the game’s different levels.

VAL Navigations created an emergency evacuation plan for the El Paso-Ft. Bliss community in case of a natural disaster or terroristic invasion. The city will be divided into regions, and each region will be assigned a different evacuation route in order to leave the city to reach a safe area. This plan will be designed to be in the form of a smart phone application. Also, this plan would be useful if we were to ever get another historic weather blast.

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Michael Acosta Director, Border Office U. S. – Mexico Foundation for Science The University of Texas at El Paso MAES National President The Honorable Andres Alcantar Commissioner Representing the Public Texas Workforce Commission Jose F. Cardenas, P.E. President Moreno Cardenas Inc. Dr. Ken Cheung President Mad Science of El Paso Sandra Diaz Chief Meteorologist KFOX TV

Ernesto C. Gamboa Deputy Director, Economic Development Department of Planning and Economic Development

Benjamin D. Sanders Financial IT Systems Administrator NASA - White Sands Test Facility Jacobs Technology Inc.

Debra K. Koch Human Relations & Security Manager The Boeing Company

Guillermo Silva, Jr. Corporate Secretary El Paso Electric

Charles A. Kohlhaas, Ph.D. Principal Stockholder Kohlhaas Corporation

Samuel Sustaita Business Planning Manager Applications Development - Americas Hewlett-Packard Enterprise Services

Paul Maxwell, Ph.D. Executive Director and CEO The Bi-National Sustainability Laboratory Rick O’Brien, BSEE, MBA, CEO, Certified Business Coach & Executive Coach, ActionCOACH West Texas Clinical Professor for UTEP- Leadership Engineering Program

Eli Velasquez Executive Director Innovate El Paso Barbara Walker Territory Account Manager CISCO Systems

Special thanks to the experts on our business plan review team: Teofilo Ugalde Chief Operations Officer Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande

Leo Alvarado Project Coordinator Innovate El Paso

Cesar Valenzuela Information Technology Manager Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande

Dr. Alberto M. Correa President The International Institute for Entrepreneurial Advancement, Inc.

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Jose Angel Diaz ECE Senior Project Teacher Assistant University of Texas at El Paso

Dr. Diana Natalicio, PhD President The University of Texas at El Paso

Congressman Silvestre Reyes

Honorable Andres Alcantar Commissioner Texas Workforce Commission

Interested in participating or contributing towards STEM contact us at or call 915.772.2000

QR Code Copyright © 2011 Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande. Workforce Solutions Upper Rio Grande is an Equal Opportunity Employer/Program. Auxiliary aids available upon request to individuals with disabilities. Relay Texas: Telecommunication Device for the Deaf (TDD) “711” or (800/735-2989), *800/735-2988 (Voice). Ayuda y servicios están disponibles para personas con discapacidades. Relay Texas: Sistema de comunicación para personas con problemas auditivos (TDD) “711” o (800/735-2989), *800/735-2988 (Tel.) Funding comes from the U.S. Department of Labor through the Texas Workforce Commission.

STEM Challenge 3  
STEM Challenge 3  

High School Competition