Chain Reaction Contraption Contest

December 26, 2018 by Westinghouse Electric Company
Categories: Outreach

On Friday, December 7, more than 25 high school students, most of whom had gotten up before dawn, descended upon the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to compete in the 2018 Chain Reaction Contraption Contest (CRCC).

CRCC, sponsored by Westinghouse and presented in cooperation with the Science Center, is a spirited competition challenging students grades nine through 12  to create a machine that will accomplish a specific task using a series of steps. Now in its 18th year, the contest draws students curious about the world of STEM from the tri-state area.

This year’s contest task­—TIE A KNOT! —brought out not only their technical skills, but also their creativity, as students interpreted the challenge in their own unique ways. Volunteer judges, many of whom are Westinghouse employees, saw themes including weddings, Star Wars, pirates and natural disasters.

The students were scored on not only their technical execution, but their presentation, creativity and teamwork.

”It is very rewarding to be involved in a contest like this; helping our next generation of leaders build the skills necessary to be successful, whether they choose a career in STEM or not. The volunteers, many of whom are currently STEM professionals, get excited to see the creativity and commitment of the students,” said Chris Savinda, coordinator for the contest and Westinghouse NPB project quality manager. “Every year, these teams step it up and exceed all of our expectations.”

After the judges had seen all projects in the morning, special awards winners and finalists were announced. All teams moving on to the finals will be invited to exhibit their projects at Westinghouse during Engineers Week in February.

“Regardless of whether you’ll be an engineer or a scientist, this provides a way to think and solve problems. I’m glad I’m not coming out of school trying to compete against you for a job,” said Terry Rudek, Westinghouse, vice president of Global Engineer Services, address at the afternoon Special Awards Ceremony.

“I’m hopeful some of you will end up working at Westinghouse. We are focused on clean, reliable energy and look for people with dedication….like you have shown.”

The eight finalists each had the opportunity to give an in-depth presentation to the panel of judges in the afternoon. While the judges had their work cut out for them, three teams rose to the top:

2018 Winners

  • Greater Latrobe Senior High School, First Place
  • Hempfield Area High School, Second Place
  • Mohawk Jr./Sr. High School, Third Place

2018 Remaining Finalists

  • Blackhawk High School
  • Carlynton High School
  • Pine-Richland High School
  • Cambria Heights High School
  • Indian Creek High School

2018 Special Awards Winners

  • Blackhawk High School - Longest Successfully Executed Contraption, sponsored by Westinghouse
  • Beaver Falls High School – Rookie of the Year, sponsored by Carnegie Science Center
  • Hempfield Area High School – Best Use of Gravity, sponsored by the Carnegie Science Center
  • Moon Area High School – Most Green, sponsored by Alcosan
  • Fox Chapel Area High School – Most Efficient Reset, sponsored by Bayer HealthCare
  • Best Execution of a Theme – Seneca Valley Senior High School, sponsored by Kennywood Amusement Park
  • Mars Area High School – Most Innovative, sponsored by Jones Day