Contest In Action

Creative Thinking on Display at Chain Reaction Contraption Contest

March 13, 2024 by Westinghouse Electric Company
Categories: Blog

At Westinghouse, we empower the next generation to think outside of the box and solve tough challenges in creative ways. That is why we are proud to sponsor the annual Chain Reaction Contraption Competition (CRCC). It is a spirited, STEM-based competition for high school students in which they are challenged to achieve a simple task in 20 steps or more using general laws of physics and mechanical principles – with each triggering the initiation of the next action and eventually resulting in achievement of the final goal.

As part of this year's Engineers Week activities, we welcomed 11 teams of 9-12 grade students to our global headquarters in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania, where students showed off their imaginative contraptions – or devices more commonly known as Rube Goldberg machines.

This year’s contest task – SCORE! – brought out not only their technical skills, but also their creativity, as students interpreted the challenge through months of preparation in their own unique ways. Volunteer judges, many of whom are Westinghouse employees, saw themes tied to a variety of sports and even storytelling.

Team Close Up-1


Team in Action 2


In addition to the competition, students interacted with professionals from Westinghouse and other companies across many disciplines in a career panel discussion. They also heard from Westinghouse Chief Commercial Officer Jacques Besnainou, who highlighted the importance of engineering and STEM roles within the nuclear energy industry, as well as Westinghouse’s impact on the world.

Artboard 1

Congratulations to the top three CRCC finishers:

  • Hempfield Area High School from Greensburg, Pennsylvania
  • Cambria Heights High School from Patton, Pennsylvania
  • Mohawk Area High School from Bessemer, Pennsylvania

Also, join us in celebrating the special award winners:

  • Savinda’s Choice (sponsored by Westinghouse) – North Allegheny High School from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Most Green (sponsored by Alcosan) – Penn Trafford High School from Harrison City, Pennsylvania
  • Most Efficient Reset (sponsored by #1 Radon Tester LLC) – Springdale Junior – Senior High School from Springdale, Pennsylvania
  • Most Innovative (sponsored by Jones Day) – Hempfield Area High School (Team B)
  • Best Execution of the Theme (sponsored by Bayer) – Cornell High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania
  • Longest Successfully Executed Contraption (sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University Robotics) – Mohawk Area High School

Thank you to all volunteer judges – including from Westinghouse and the above sponsors, as well as US Steel, Fedex, Smith+Nephew and Alcosan, and some retired teachers and STEM professionals.


Event Volunteers-2

Celebrating STEM in Honor of Chris Savinda

It is with tremendous respect and honor that this year’s Chain Reaction Contraption Contest was renamed in recognition of Chris Savinda – our longtime friend and Westinghouse colleague who lost his battle with cancer in 2023.

Chris worked at Westinghouse in southwestern Pennsylvania for 22 years in various roles within Engineering. He also volunteered and then ultimately led the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest for Westinghouse for more than two decades.

“Chris lived and breathed this contest for years. He thrived on the innovative solutions and relished the wacky presentations. He inspired all of those involved with the Chain Reaction Contraption Contest … from teachers to students – who will be the next generation of engineers, doctors, lawyers or business professionals – as well as the mentors and volunteers,” said Allison Fisher, Westinghouse Safety Analysis Product Solutions Manager and event volunteer.

“His legacy lives on through each of us who continue this event in his memory and inspires these students to take on seemingly impossible tasks, use their voice to express their passion, support others in their goals and, most importantly, be kind to others.”

Chris Savinda Family-2