Irvine High Engineering Students Awarded for their Innovation, Inclusivity, and Entrepreneurship

ocmaker competition

Irvine High School engineering design and development students shined during the recent ocMaker Challenge, with three teams receiving recognition.  The first team won the Most Innovative Award, the second earning the Community Focused Award and the third received the Emerging Entrepreneurs Award.

Organized by OCDE’s Career Education and STEM teams, the ocMaker Challenge annually calls students to design and build, or significantly repurpose, a product that solves a problem, need or want. The goal of the ocMaker Challenge is to provide students with an integrated approach to learning. Students developed projects that showcase the interdependencies between Science, Math, Engineering, Technology, English, Art, Invention and Entrepreneurship.

Irvine High’s Engineering Design and Development students identified a problem that they wished to solve and performed market research. Each team researched prior solutions and patents so that their solution is not violating intellectual property. Once they identified their design, the teams created prototypes and connected with industry professionals for feedback, and finally, tested their product.

At the ocMaker Challenge, each team took part in a professional “product pitch,” where they explained how they would bring their ideas to market with an overview of their problem statements, competitive landscapes, market validation, financial returns and actions needed. Submissions were judged by Chapman professors and students from the university’s entrepreneurship program. 

The IHS team who earned the Most Innovative award developed a solution to reduce litter at school lunch tables by attaching trash cans on the ends of lunch tables, making it easy for custodial staff to empty and replace. Another team received the Community Focused Award for their work in developing a keyboard design to help those with finger and hand injuries/disabilities. The third team, students Akhil Ramalingam, David Culciar, and Sarah Ahsan were awarded the new Emerging Entrepreneur Award. Their project, “Overhead,” uses an artificial muscle to help individuals with upper-body disabilities to increase their arm’s range of motion. 

The Chapman University Ralph W. Leatherby Center for Entrepreneurship and Business Ethics, in partnership with the ocMaker Challenge, introduced this special award to support and recognize future entrepreneurs.

“This challenge gives my students a great perspective about how engineering can be used in a wide variety of ways to solve problems that they sometimes did not know existed.” said Archana Jain, Irvine High School’s Engineering teacher and project advisor. “I am extremely proud of all the teams in my class that participated.”

To learn more about the student project “Overhead,” click here.