Whitfield Participates in WWT STEM Student Forum Hackathon

Whitfield is one of 19 schools participating in the 2019-2020 World Wide Technology (WWT) STEM Student Forum, an annual program that encourages high school juniors and seniors to consider careers within the industries of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The STEM Student Forum consists of two sessions: a half-day company overview held at WWT’s campus facilitated by company leaders, and a hackathon event.

Whitfield student participants are Kaelyn Beeman ’20, Xingda “Danny” Chen ’20, Agha Haider ’21, Danny Sallis ’21, Josh Schmidt ’21, Dane Shuler '22, Owen Taylor ’20, Robbie Wetzel ’20, and Yutiancheng "William" Yang ’20. Whitfield’s Assistant Director of Technology Lisa Barry Jenkins and Computer Science Integration Specialist Andrew Asikainen are the faculty sponsors.

For the hackathon, students are asked to develop a solution that uses technology to solve a problem that exists at their school. WWT provides each team with a professional mentor volunteer to help the students refine their ideas. Since the Student Forum kickoff session at WWT on January 16, Whitfield’s team has been meeting once per week after school to identify their problem and develop a solution.

“We are going to keep our topic under wraps until after the competition,” said Mr. Asikainen. “At the kickoff event last month, students had the opportunity to brainstorm during a full consultancy and identify a problem they want to address. It’s cool that they have the opportunity to work with professionals from World Wide Technology in solving a ‘real-world problem’ that they perceive will be beneficial to Whitfield.”

At the hackathon event on February 29, each team will have just seven minutes to present to a panel of judges from WWT followed by a three minute Q&A. Teams will be judged on the effectiveness and technical quality of their solution; the overall creativity and innovation of their project; how well they articulate their solution; and how well the team displays the STEM Hackathon Core Values (team work, consistent effort and commitment, embrace change, and learning).

“At Whitfield when we talk about collaboration that includes partnerships outside of these walls,” said Mr. Asikainen. “This is an opportunity to give our students an up-close look at what types of STEM-related careers are out there and how their classwork translates into the real world.”

Other schools participating in the 2019-2020 WWT STEM Student Forum include: Chaminade College Preparatory School, Clayton High School, Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience, Confluence Prep Academy, Edwardsville High School, Fort Zumwalt West High School, Gateway STEM High School, Hazelwood West High School, John Burroughs School, Lindbergh High School, Notre Dame High School, St. Louis, Pattonville High School, South Technical High School, St. Dominic High School, The Fulton School at St. Albans, Timberland High School, University City School District, and Webster Groves High School.