Congratulations to our 2022 Pre-Engineering Award Winners! 

The 2022 Pre-Engineering Awards Banquet was a celebration of senior Engineering Design and Development year-long projects and junior Engineering Science Fair projects. It was an impressive display of prototypes and ideas! Prior to the awards banquet,17 juniors and 4 seniors were evaluated by our four judges based on interviews and demonstrations of their prototypes.

Junior Winners

1st Place - Areesh Sobhani - Automated Setting of Guitar Amplifier Presets
2nd Place - Isaac Wachsman - Programmable Braille Reader
3rd Place (tie) - Ruby Levenston - Touchless Simon (for Pediatric Waiting Room)
3rd Place (tie) - Liam Boyd - Quantum Computing Tug of War Video Game (demonstration of Quantum Computing)

Senior Winners

1st Place - Team Self-Defense (Cole Anderton, Katie Coyle, Reese Gosselin) - wearable, concealed holster for rapid access of a stun gun (faster than retrieval from backpack or purse)

2nd Place - Team Cane (Ben Ahrendts, Semira Benjamin, Mariana Garcia) - compact, small, portable device to secure white canes for the visually impaired in restaurants.

The awards banquet ended with a surprise! Patent Attorney (and AHS Broward parent), Andrew Rapacke, offered to draw up provisional patents on a pro bono basis for the top 2 projects. The judges considered which student solutions were the most patent worthy.

Winners - Most Patentable Idea

1st Place - Liam Boyd - Quantum Computing Tug of War Video Game (demonstration of Quantum Computing)
2nd Place - Team Master Grippers (Michael Politoski, Krishna Sorna, Lily Stein) - adjustable handles for track and pulley weight room equipment to reduce workout injuries.

Approximately 85 students, parents, administrators, and friends of the Pre-Engineering Program attended. Both internship sponsors also interviewed juniors for full-time work-for-hire summer internships at their respective companies.

Juniors Projects

To up their game at Engineering Science Fairs and encourage students to develop multiple prototypes, an Engineering Science Fair project was added to the junior year Digital Electronics curriculum.

Students had a 3-week period, starting in late January, to select a project, identify 4 stages of prototypes, and make a first working prototype to demonstrate proof of concept or a portion of their project as a deliverable at the end of three weeks. The second-generation prototype was to be developed on their own and ready on the day of the awards banquet - to be judged by a panel of judges and presented to parents and the pre-engineering community. The top students and their projects are being invited to continue developing their prototypes - during the Honors Summer Science Research class and during the fall - for entry in county, state, and national engineering science fair competitions.

These projects represented 10-15 hours of class time and an additional 5-10 hours on their own. The top students will be given resources and technical advisors/coaches to continue developing their prototypes.   

Junior projects were judged on:

  • Quality of the problem they were trying to solve

  • Quality of their prototype and supporting documentation

  • User feedback

  • Creativity

  • Likelihood of winning an engineering science fair competition if the student were invited to develop a third and fourth-generation prototype

Seniors Projects

Seniors have worked as teams since mid-September to select and research a problem worth solving, develop a design, build a prototype, and test it. As a group of three, they have had 120+ classroom hours plus additional after-class hours to develop a design. The time, scope, and degree of difficulty are equivalent to a one-semester individual senior design project for a 4th-year mechanical engineering student at an accredited engineering school.

A problem worth solving requires: 

  • finding academic research defining the size and economic impact of the problem.

  • researching patents and similar commercially available products or services.

  • identifying and interviewing experts on the problem.

  • conducting market surveys to confirm customer needs and the size of the market.  

The Laurie family generously provides each senior EDD team with a $1,000 budget to purchase materials and testing equipment to build and test a working prototype of their solution.

The Senior Team EDD projects were judged on:

  • Quality of the problem statement and justification - did they prove this was a problem worth solving?

  • Quality of their prototype and supporting documentation

  • User feedback

  • Compelling presentation - would an angel investor want to invest to help commercialize their product?

Meet the Judges

Andrew Rapacke - Managing Partner, Rapacke Law Group (Specializing in Intellectual Property)
- BS - US Naval Academy
- MS Electrical/Computer Engineering - USF
- JD - FSU
- AHS Broward Campus Parent

Jim Falcone - Mechanical Engineer, Bruker Semiconductor
- BSME - University of Miami
- Prospective AHS Palm Beach Campus parent

John Praleston - Mechanical Engineer, Parametric Solutions
- Prospective AHS Palm Beach Campus parent

Lily Arias-Duval - Chemical Engineer, Formerly Bristol Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly
- BSChe - University of Michigan
- MS Pharmaceutical Engineering - U of Mich
- AHS Palm Beach Campus Parent

Notables in attendance included:

Mary Murphy - Director - East Region - PLTW
Subi Katragadda - General Manager - SV Microwave, Inc; AHS Palm Beach Campus parent
Christina Soltes - Director of Human Resources- SV Microwave, Inc.
Daniel Cerdeira - Engineering Manager - SV Microwave, Inc.
Jonathan Whitney - Pre-Construction Engineering Manager; AHS Broward parent 
SV Microwave (West Palm Beach) - Internship Sponsor
DPR Construction (FtL) - Internship Sponsor