2016-17 STEM Challenges

STEM Challenges are partnerships between industry and high schools which allow students to help solve authentic problems in the world today.  It is a research and design process that develops critical thinking and collaboration with peers and mentors.  Mentors from these organizations are working with students from ISTI's STEM Challenge partner schools over the course of the year to explore, create, and build innovative solutions. 


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AbbVie Foundation

Design and recommend an innovation or process that will improve the lives of patients with cancer. It is important that you focus on the patient, particularly those in low-income communities. Using your knowledge of health literacy and discovering new knowledge from experts and patients, consider what you can do to find new or improved solutions that make an impact.



ADM's team is seeking your help and expertise to re-develop your favorite snack food to make it healthier.  As part of the ADM team, you will need to research and consider origination of ingredients, processing, marketing and distribution of your product. 

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Baxter international inc.

Baxter would like to hear from you, as the next generation of scientists and innovators, about ways to improve home healthcare technologies. Your Challenge is to research renal dialysis and parenteral nutrition, focusing on treatment and care that can take place in the home. What new design innovations to new or existing approaches would you recommend in order to improve usability, accessibility, and patient healthcare outcomes?


Horizon Pharma invites you to develop new or improved innovative methods of delivering this drug to patients. Consider different patient populations, and their needs or limitations. Where possible, develop a prototype for your solution.  


Illinois State University - Center for Renewable energy

Illinois State University invites you to help us solve a problem: develop a prototype, product, plan, process, or system that suggests an innovative and "smart" way to manage everyday energy and/or water use.  How can we measure and reduce the carbon footprint?  How can we apply technology innovations to mitigate this?


Loyola University Chicago

Loyola challenges you to develop a plan that describes a new energy conservation effort at Senn High School. Your team will provide data and evidence that document the need, and propose a solution that addresses this need.



Microsoft challenges you to identify a problem in your community and use IoT technology to build a solution or improve upon existing technology using tools like sensors and analytics.  The connection between the physical world and technology can multiply the effects of actions to enable a more targeted or broader reach. 


Motorola mobility foundation

How might we use mobile phones to investigate and solve a current problem for people in our local, or possibly global community? What would it take to make these new uses for technology work, and what are their future applications? 


MOTOROLA Solutions foundation

Motorola Solutions challenges you to investigate and recommend new mobile technology applications and tools that you might develop to help save lives and keep people safe in emergency and disaster situations.  What types of critical information could be shared using technology, and how can those tools and systems be developed and validated?


Northrop Grumman Corporation

Northrop Grumman invites you to address SHADE: Solar Heat-Shield Automatic Deployable Experiment. This Challenge is to design and build a remotely operated, weight efficient, self-powered device that deploys a self-supporting structure from a 6-in. cube to shade the largest area on a $500 budget.  The device will be placed on a pad above the ground and must deploy, without touching the ground, in less than ten minutes. 


State farm

State Farm invites you to identify a problem around a community issue that is relevant to the insurance and/or IT industry.  Draw on your own experiences and those in your community to identify areas for innovation.  Use one of the following product areas to focus on - Auto Insurance, Home Insurance, or Financial Services. 


Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Takeda invites you to address and improve the problem of medication adherence in the area of depression or diabetes.  Develop solutions by understanding the disease state and treatment challenges in order to determine what innovations can be made for patients.