Uniontown, PA – The Pennsylvania
Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students
from Norwin High School in Westmoreland County has been selected as the PennDOT
District 12 winner for its fifth Innovations Challenge.
Mentored by Thomas
Harskowitch, team members include Robbie Chappell and Zachary Moffatt.
Now in its fifth year,
the PennDOT Innovations Challenge invites high school students in grades 9-12
to use their problem-solving, creative and strategic-thinking abilities to
solve real-world transportation challenges. The Innovations Challenge aims to not
only help students explore actual transportation challenges that PennDOT is
facing, but also open their minds to the very real possibility of working for
PennDOT after graduation.
Since last fall,
students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge. Taking
Pennsylvania’s diverse demographics into consideration, this year’s Innovations
Challenge asked students to develop a comprehensive and cost-effective public
engagement strategy, beyond the current public engagement procedures (outlined
in detail in Publication
295) that uses innovative technologies and tools that PennDOT can
implement to more effectively engage and connect with all age groups during the
transportation planning and project development process.
“Public engagement is
vital to PennDOT’s transportation planning and project development efforts,”
said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “However, it can be challenging to
bridge technology and generational gaps to ensure everyone is engaged and
involved as we plan for transportation improvements.”
The winning regional
team’s innovation was “Google Ads”. This
proposed innovation would allow PennDOT to interact with the public to receive
input from a large and diverse group of customers utilizing advertisements and
surveys through Google platforms.
Regional winners will
now move on to compete for the state championship with other schools through
virtual meetings with PennDOT executives based in Harrisburg.
For this year’s
challenge, the Associated Pennsylvania
Constructors (APC) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of PA (ACEC/PA) are providing a combined total award of $4,000
to the statewide winning team.
For complete Innovations Challenge details, visit http://www.penndot.gov/innovation and click on Innovations Challenge.
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