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PennDOT Announces Regional Innovations Challenge Winner


​Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) today announced that a team of students from the Reach Cyber Charter School, Dauphin County, has been selected as the PennDOT District 8-0 winner for its third Innovations Challenge.

Mentored by Jessica Vernouski, team members include: Audrey Vereshack, Madelyn Vereshack & Elyssia Good

Since last fall, students have been working hard to solve this year’s challenge: Aside from laws, programs and educational campaigns, what cost-effective, innovative solution can be developed in the next five to 10 years to help PennDOT more efficiently, effectively and safely control litter along roadways?

“Last year, PennDOT spent nearly $13 million cleaning up roadside litter across Pennsylvania,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “These dollars could have otherwise been spent on delivering a better transportation network and making Pennsylvania a better state in which to live.” 

The winning regional team’s innovation was Litter Impact, an app to get users involved in community cleanup in a fun way.

Now in its third 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.

“The Innovations Challenge not only gets students engaged in issues faced by PennDOT, it also introduces them to the many career opportunities available to them with the department,” said District 8 Executive Michael Keiser, P.E. “I congratulate Audrey, Madelyn and Elyssia for their innovative approach and wish them and all of the challenge participants continued success in their future endeavors.”

Regional winners will now move on to compete in Harrisburg for the state championship.

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) and the Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful (KPB) organization are providing a combined total award of $3,000 to be divided among the first, second and third place statewide winning teams.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Fritzi Schreffler, 717-787-4335