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Columbus High STEM Club wins at global innovation summit

Meet Team TIER: Columbus High STEM Club students David Perez, Hans Rueckschnat, Jesus Capo, Chris Perez, and Alexander Cordero pose with their awards at the Conrad Innovation Challenge at Kennedy Space Center.

Photographer: COURTESY PHOTO

Meet Team TIER: Columbus High STEM Club students David Perez, Hans Rueckschnat, Jesus Capo, Chris Perez, and Alexander Cordero pose with their awards at the Conrad Innovation Challenge at Kennedy Space Center.

MIAMI | Five members of Christopher Columbus High's STEM Club won first place at the prestigious Conrad Innovation Challenge held April 29 at the Kennedy Space Center. The innovation and entrepreneurial competition aims to develop extraordinary and viable solutions to benefit the world. 

Team TIER, consisting of Jesus Capo, David Perez, Chris Perez, Alex Cordero, and Hans Rueckschnat, competed against high school teams from around the world and brought home first place in the Cybertechnology and Security Category. Their innovative product, the Mini BlackBox, is a rugged casing for high performance computers, supercomputers and servers which implements a modular design.

The team won the competition through a multi-phase process:

  • They became semifinalists when their video submission was selected from over 600 submissions globally.
  • Their excellent business plan, ranked first in the competition, advanced them to the finals.
  • The six-minute Power Pitch given by Hans and Alex clinched their win over 39 other teams, many from different parts of the world including China, Australia, and India. TIER shocked the judges and the audience by including in their presentation the working prototype of the Mini BlackBox - something no other team in the category had done.
All of the team members were named "Pete Conrad Scholars," the highest honor possible in the competition. They

received a gold medal, $5,000 for use toward a patent, free business consulting (a $5,000 value) from the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, and free membership to Sigma XI, a research society of more than 8,000 researchers, scientists, and engineers.

Columbus teachers Alina Sanchez, Raul Mederos, Kevin Corazon, Cesar Diaz and Antonio Oses helped Team TIER achieve this feat. To view a video of the team's winning presentation and their product demonstration, click link below:

https://youtu.be/LK_PUU26OVA

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