Press Release | Mass STEM Hub

Middle school students showcase computer science prototypes to STEM professionals at Microsoft NERD Center

Middle school students showcase computer science prototypes to STEM professionals at Microsoft NERD Center

Microsoft computer scientists and Boston-area STEM professionals provide authentic feedback to students’ computer science projects

[Cambridge, MA, January 29, 2020] Congratulations to student teams from Kuss Middle School (Fall River), Sandwich STEM Academy, and Rogers STEM Academy (Lowell) for winning awards for their problem-solving mobile apps and interactive, automated devices prototypes presented at the Mass STEM Hub Computer Science Innovators Showcase. This showcase was held for Project Lead The Way (PLTW) middle school students by Mass STEM Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation, in partnership with Microsoft at Microsoft’s NERD Center in Cambridge.

70+ middle school students from seven Massachusetts schools were selected to represent their schools to present computer science prototypes to STEM professionals.

The PLTW computer science curriculum covers critical STEM content and allows students to apply what they have learned to solve real world problems. The One8 Foundation and the Baker-Polito administration are scaling PLTW in the Commonwealth to help educators bring critical STEM content and the applied learning method into MA classrooms. Today 45,000 students are engaged in PLTW classrooms across the state.

Students received expert, authentic feedback from industry experts, from organizations including Microsoft, Liberty Mutual, CogoLabs, and Dell EMC. After viewing student work, judges scored projects to determine award winners.

Students in PLTW’s App Creators course learned foundations of computer science, user-centered design principles, and how to apply computational thinking and technical knowledge and skills to create mobile apps. The course’s final project challenges students to develop an app to solve a personal or community problem. A team from Rogers STEM Academy in Lowell won the App Creators Innovation Award for their dating app for elderly individuals.

Students in PLTW’s Computer Science for Innovators and Makers course learn to blend hardware design and software development to create innovative products. Students collaborate to design a wearable safety device for their final project. Judges chose students from Sandwich STEM Academy as the winner of the Computer Science for Innovators and Makers Award for their automated pet food dispenser. The Overall Showcase Winner award was presented to a group from Kuss Middle School in Fall River who created an automated pencil dispenser.

Mass STEM Hub partnered with Microsoft to create this opportunity for students to showcase their projects to industry professionals.

“Microsoft is excited to be partnering with Mass STEM Hub for their Design Showcase at the New England Research and Development Center in Cambridge, MA,” stated Jason Aviles, Microsoft Community Development Specialist. “We are passionate about encouraging curiosity and confidence, while connecting in-class experiences to real-world concepts, and preparing today’s students for a promising future. Hearing our team engage with these students and providing feedback on their projects to encourage them is phenomenal. We are thrilled to see all the opportunities that are ahead for these students.”

“We are thrilled with our partnership with Microsoft, through which we were able to connect students and STEM professionals in a cutting-edge space,” stated Andreina Parisi-Amon, Director of Partnerships for Mass STEM Hub. “It was so energizing to hear the software developers sharing ideas with the students, drawing parallels to their own work, and providing authentic feedback to help students take prototypes to the next level. We’re excited to continue building opportunities like this for students.”

National Grid is a continued sponsor of Mass STEM Hub programming.



Collins Middle School, Salem
Garfield Middle School, Revere
Kuss Middle School, Fall River
Leicester Middle School, Leicester
Rogers STEM Academy, Lowell
Sandwich STEM Academy, Sandwich
Young Achievers School, Boston

Mass STEM Hub is a program of the One8 Foundation and its mission is to provide schools with access to and support for the applied learning and STEM education that builds knowledge and skills students need to succeed in a rapidly changing, high tech world. Mass STEM Hub has helped scale Project Lead The Way’s K-12 curriculum in engineering, computer science and biomedical science to over 45,000 students in Massachusetts, enabling students to learn how to take theory to practice with real world problem solving.


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