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Michigan Teens Engineer Success at 2021 Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge

FLINT, Mich. – Calls for batteries, tools and zip ties came from the row of pit tents at Kettering University’s Mobility Research Center test track as dozens of Michigan high school and middle school students worked on their autonomous, electric and hybrid vehicles in between races this week to compete in Square One’s 14th Annual Innovative Vehicle Design (IVD) Challenge.

Teams from 24 schools competed in four competitions: Autonomous Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge, Mini Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge, V2X Innovative Vehicle Design and the Full-Scale Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge. Twenty-one teams competed in person, while 17 teams competed virtually during the two-day event May 18-19.

“The 2021 Square One Innovative Vehicle Design Competition reflected the perseverance and determination of our students and their teachers. Despite the ongoing challenges faced this year, these middle and high school ‘engineers’ built valuable STEM skills and were introduced to college and career pathways around the future of transportation,” said Barb Land, CEO of the Square One Education Network. “These projects offered in-class and after-school, are the ‘hooks’ that inspire kids to engage in STEM, growing the future, tech-savvy workforce that industry needs.”

Students also had the chance to check out Kettering University’s AutoDrive Team’s car Bulldog Bolt and a pace car from Michigan International Speedway.

The Autonomous Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge project challenges students to re-engineer a “Power Wheels Jeep” into an autonomous vehicle. The Mini Innovative Vehicle Design Racing Challenge requires teams to re-engineer an electric 1/10th scale RC vehicle, for optimal performance, and the V2X challenge simulates the sensors and coding necessary for successful autonomous movement. The Full-Scale Innovative Vehicle Design Challenge inspires teams to transform a gas-powered go-kart kit or build a car from the ground up into an electric or hybrid electric vehicle, featuring an innovative component that sets it apart
from the rest.

“As I have always said, the kids will get more and learn more in this one day than they may all year long in the classroom,” said Montcalm Area Career Center teacher Michael Johnson, after the event. “I was able to see who steps up and leads, how much teamwork under pressure works and perseverance and attitude.”

The Montcalm Area Career Center won multiple awards during the competition, including the Engineering Award in the Full-Scale IVD competition.

The winners in each competition were (* indicates the team competed virtually):

Autonomous IVD
• Innovation Award: Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center Team A1902*
• Engineering Award: Canyon Lake High School (Fischer, TX) Team A2008*
• Design Award: Divine Child High School Team A1401
• Performance Awards: Divine Child High School Team A1401 (first); Northwest High School Team A1701 (second)
• Ambassadorship Award: Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center Team A1901*
• Square One Award: Grandville High School Team A2103 and Team A2105 (tie)
• Craftsmanship Award: Divine Child High School Team A1401
• Presentation Award: Fitzgerald High School Team A2101*

Full-Scale IVD
• Innovation Award: AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School Team F1505
• Engineering Award: Montcalm Area Career Center Team F1801
• Design Award: Unionville-Sebewaing High School Team F2002*
• Performance Awards: Innovation Academy Team F2001 (first); Williamston High School Team F1601 (second); Montcalm Area Career Center Team F1801 (third)
• Ambassadorship Award: Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School Team F1502*
• Square One Award: AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School Team F1505
• Craftsmanship Award: Oxford High School Team F1501
• Presentation Award: Oxford High School Team F1501
• CAD and Manufacturing Award: AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School Team F1505 and Montcalm Area Career Center Team F1801 (tie)

Mini IVD
• Innovation Award: Reese Middle School Team M1601
• Engineering Award: Huron Area Technical Center Team M1201
• Design Award: Roseville High School Team M1501
• Performance Awards: Reese High School Team M2005 (first); Reese Middle School Team M1601 (second); Huron Area Technical Center Team M1201 (third)
• Ambassadorship Award: Clinton High School Team M1204
• Square One Award: Flint Cultural Center Academy Team M2101
• Craftsmanship Award: Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School Team M1502*
• Presentation Award: Huron Area Technical Center Team 1201
• Top Speed Challenge: Reese High School Team M2005 (65 mph)

V2X IVD (Completely Virtual)
• Innovation Award: Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School Team V2003*
• Engineering Award: Davis Middle School Team V2015*
• Performance Awards: Davis Middle School Team V2015* (first); Roseville High School Team V2008* (second); Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center Team V2006* (third)
• Ambassadorship Award: Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center Team V2006*
• Square One Award: AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School Team V2010 and Northwest High School Team V2004 (tie)
• Presentation Award: Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School Team V2003*
• Remote Control Award: Stockbridge Jr/Sr High School Team V2003*
• CAD and Manufacturing Award: AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School Team V2010

Scholarship Winners
• Kettering University Mobility Scholarship: Matt Hughey of Ogemaw Heights High School; this scholarship is up to $5,000 a year and is renewable.
• Umlaut $500 Scholarship: Alexxandria Davey of the Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center
• ITS Michigan Masters of Mobility $500 Scholarship: Ashley Bouse of Clinton High School, Jameson McKnight of Huron
Area Technical Center and Luke Lawson of the Traverse Bay Area Career Tech Center
• Mike Bammer Memorial $500 Scholarship: Simon Yeldo of AGBU Alex-Marie Manoogian School and Luke Lenton of the Southfield High School for Arts and Technology
• Zach MacLean Memorial $500 Scholarship: Josh Schaffner of Clinton High School

Square One is a Michigan-based educational organization focused on developing talent for the future workforce. The non-profit does this by empowering teachers and students with hands-on learning experiences around high-quality STEM projects in partnership with higher education institutions, industry organizations and more.

This was the second time the competition took place at Kettering University. Plans are in the works for it to return next year.

It was the eighth year umlaut, a global full-service engineering and consulting firm, sponsored the event. In addition to umlaut, this year’s competition was supported by the Michigan Department of Education, Kettering University, Washtenaw Community College, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Brose, ITS Michigan, MiSTEM Network and Good Sense Media.

About Square One Education Network
The Square One Education Network (Square One) develops talent within our nation’s classrooms by providing authentic, leading edge content that is real-world applicable for tomorrow’s workforce needs. Recognized as a premier partner in igniting student potential toward STEM careers in manufacturing and mobility, Square One offers personalized service to partners and schools for optimal results. Youth participating in Square One programs develop skills that are directly applicable to tomorrow’s workforce
needs. Square One Education Network offers a unique blend of teacher training, student programming and industry access to future talent that is affordable, high impact, scalable, replicable, and valued.

About Kettering University
Kettering University, formerly known as GMI, is a Flint, Michigan-based private, nonprofit university recognized as one of the nation’s premier science, technology, engineering and business leaders in higher education. Dedicated to offering a curriculum that uniquely integrates classroom learning with experiential co-operative opportunities, Kettering consistently ranks in U.S. News & World Report’s listing for elite specialty schools. The University has more than 27,000 square feet of lab and research space used by faculty, students and industry collaborators, and boasts the only ABET-accredited applied physics program in the world. It also
houses the first and only FIRST Robotics Community Center on a college campus in the United States. According to a 2019 analysis of federal data ranking 4,500 schools nationwide, Kettering University degree holders have the highest lifetime return on investment (ROI) in the state of Michigan. The University celebrated its centennial year in 2019. For more information, go to kettering.edu.