WENATCHEE — GWATA and the Apple STEM Network hosted the Virtual STEM Showcase Feb. 1 through March 14. Sponsored by Microsoft and supported by Verizon Media, the Virtual STEM Showcase was a unique opportunity for students to participate and showcase projects in science, technology, engineering, design and math (STEM) over an eight-week period. There were six different STEM categories with open project ideas for K-12 youth to try at home, and our regions’ public voted on their favorite student projects.

At the conclusion of the virtual challenge, the top two projects from each age range (elementary, middle and high school) with the most votes were selected as the 2021 People’s Choice Winners. Each winner will be awarded a $100 VISA gift card prize, and showcased on the Apple STEM Network website and social media networks in North Central Washington. Over 180 submissions came in from K-12 students across Chelan, Douglas, Grant and Okanogan counties. The Virtual STEM Showcase gallery had more than 10,000 views and 1,700 votes were recorded for student projects.

GWATA and Apple STEM Network would like to highlight and recognize the students with the 2021 People’s Choice Awards:

Grades K-5

Two sisters from East Wenatchee came in with the greatest number of votes in their category, and overall!

  • Paislee Downey, first grade, Eastmont Virtual Academy
  • Hazeline Downey, kindergarten, Eastmont Virtual Academy

Grades 6-8

  • Peter Kyle, eighth grade, Cascade Christian Academy: built an autonomous robot
  • Damian Armenta, eighth grade, Chelan Middle School: built and hand-painted a wine stand

Grades 9-12

  • Victoria Conner, ninth grade, Eastmont Junior High Virtual Academy: created demonstration of a more efficient way to cool electronics
  • Karen Spinosa, ninth grade, Cascade Christian Academy: created animation entirely by code

Community members can view the entire gallery of project submissions at wwrld.us/2IhtZQN.

The annual NCW Tech and STEM Showcase highlights the ways students and educators are utilizing technology and STEM in the classroom. The original Wenatchee School District event has grown to include 29 regional school districts. It is made possible through the collective efforts of GWATA, the Apple STEM Network, students, educators, school officials, families and STEM professionals who work together to provide support and encouragement for students across the region.

This year the showcase also featured seven local STEM professionals to help students and community participants connect the value of STEM education as it prepares students for critical personal and professional skills needed to be successful in their future careers. Those who participated were:

  • Farah Fareed Lutfi Ali, visual designer for GWATA
  • Jesse Rose, entrepreneur for Basin Street Design in Ephrata
  • Jacob Cunnington, Washington State Department of Transportation engineer
  • Tina Nicpan-Brown, Wenatchee Valley educator
  • Gerardo Sanchez, network engineer from Blackbox
  • Will Little, technology entrepreneur of Prota Ventures
  • Ken Bevis, wildlife Biologist for state Department of Natural Resources.

Community members can view a collection of Career Connect videos at wwrld.us/2IhtZQN.

Jenny Rojanasthien is executive director of the Greater Wenatchee Area Technology Alliance, a consortium of businesses, organizations and individuals championing growth and development in North Central Washington.