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Article: Students Place in College Engineering Competition

Students Place in College Engineering Competition

Trent Stillwell and Trinity Blum

Two Lorain County JVS PLTW-Engineering students placed in the Lorain County Community College NEO LaunchNET Hackathon event.  

A hackathon is a workshop where people solve problems or create innovations. The theme for this year’s event was “Reboot, Rethink, Regenerate.”  

Trent Stillwell, senior from North Ridgeville, placed first in the competition with his eWaste Research idea. “The idea is to take people’s e-waste, or electronic waste, and make machines that can do crowd computing for cancer research institutions.” 

Crowd computing uses computer power to upload data that needs to be analyzed to the cloud and then sends it back to researchers.  

Stillwell said that eWaste Research would create a computer research box that contains a Raspberry Pi 4, which is a tiny single-board computer, have two wood panels, one of which can be engraved with a loved one’s name and years of life, and a few 140mm PC fans.  

“The idea is that you can get a loved one that has passed away from cancer memorialized on a machine that is helping to find a cure for cancer,” said Stillwell.  

Stillwell shared that this project was created for a very personal reason. “My grandma died of liver cancer in 2008 after fighting it for over three decades. I thought why not use computing power to help people, and that is how the eWaste Research idea came to be.  

Trinity Blum, a junior from North Ridgeville, took second place in the competition. “For my hackathon, I presented the need to encourage beneficial hobbies, specifically knitting. Knitting is repetitive and some benefits of it include being mentally stimulating, lowering blood pressure, slowing the onset of dementia, easing joint pain, increasing hand-eye coordination, and helping people get over an addiction,” shared Blum.  

Blum references various sources, such as the Mayo Clinic, during her presentation. “I also incorporated my personal experience when I volunteered at a nursing home with residents in the memory care unit.”  

Bryan Wanosky, Lorain County JVS PLTW-Engineering instructor was so proud of his students, not only for placing but for simply participating. “I am always grateful for the opportunities our students are offered at LCCC and LCJVS. When I introduce this competition to them, I remind them that if they prepare and share their idea with confidence, they have just as good a chance to win as any of the college students entering. I cannot be any prouder of my students!”  

For his first-place finish, Stillwell was awarded a $500 gift card to the LCCC bookstore, and Blum was awarded a $250 gift card.  

The NEO LaunchNET offers guidance, mentoring, coaching and access to local resources to students from any major, alumni, and faculty, so they can gain experience in entrepreneurship.  

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