For immediate release:

Online Industry Challenge Connects Students and STEM Professionals through Feedback on Real-World Project


[Boston, MA, January 25, 2019] Congratulations to student teams from Doherty Memorial High School in Worcester, Uxbridge High School, and Everett High School for being selected as winners in the first Online Industry Challenge for PLTW students, organized by Mass STEM Hub.


In the Project Lead The Way (PLTW) Introduction to Engineering Design class, high school students dig deep into the engineering design process, applying math, science, and engineering standards to hands-on projects. After learning about engineering design and manufacturing, they apply that knowledge to work in teams to design, test, and improve a manufacturing process to build boxes.  The boxes the students build are key components to a later project in the course.


Through the Online Industry Challenge, students submitted their work to two Massachusetts box manufacturing companies: Abbott-Action Inc., a corrugated and protective packaging manufacturer with sites in Attleboro, Canton, and Northboro, and Seaboard Folding Box Company, a custom structural packaging company based in Westminster. All students received feedback from industry professionals on their submitted technical drawings, manufacturing process flows, and images of their prototype boxes, connecting the work they did in the classroom to the work these experts do daily. As Uxbridge High School Principal Michael Rubin reflected, “It is certainly one thing to have your work evaluated by your teacher, and quite another to be evaluated at this level by industry professional. This brings our partnerships with industry to life and helps students see relevance in what they are learning.”


The professionals at each company were impressed by the great work and excited to share their insights with students, some of whom may one day revolutionize their industry. “There is a need in the packaging industry for the next generation of leaders that will generate the next new packaging concept and commercialize that idea and bring it to market,” shared Chris Morgan, VP of Sales and Marketing at Seaboard. “We were impressed by the level of detail and thought that went into this program and the overall efforts of the students. It was a privilege to be a participant in this process.”


Student teams were selected as winners in three categories by each of the companies. The overall challenge winners were selected for having the best overall manufacturing process, with a thorough process flow diagram that makes it possible for others to follow your designed steps, and a solid prototype that aligns to your sketches and technical drawings. These teams came from Doherty Memorial High School and Uxbridge High School. Seaboard Folding Box Co and Abbott-Action Inc. are each sponsoring a fieldtrip for the class of their selected winning team to see a complete automated box manufacturing process in action and meet some of the professionals that gave them feedback. The innovation award winners were selected for having demonstrated an innovative approach to the manufacturing process and these winning teams were from Doherty Memorial High School and Everett High School. The presentation award winners were selected for having materials that were clearly labeled, easily understandable and demonstrated their outstanding knowledge and design process. Both of these winning teams came from Everett High School.


Andreina Parisi-Amon, Director of Partnerships for Mass STEM Hub, commented, “We are thrilled with our partnership with both Seaboard Folding Box Company and Abbott-Action, Inc., through which we were able to connect students and STEM professionals. With a few hours of time and their expert eyes, the volunteer judges at each company were able to provide all students who submitted work with authentic feedback and real world context to the content they’re learning in class – a critical component of high-quality learning experiences. We’re excited to continue building opportunities like this for students.”



Mass STEM Hub is a program of the One8 Foundation that partners with schools to implement high-quality, applied learning programs. Its mission is to provide schools with access to and support for premier STEM programming that engages students and prepares them for 21st century careers. We identify proven programs, develop supports to help ensure high-quality adoption, and create complementary offerings (e.g., trainings, events) to supercharge the impact.


Supporting schools’ adoption and quality implementation of Project Lead The Way is the first Mass STEM Hub initiative. PLTW is a premier STEM curriculum and PD provider with a proven ability to dramatically shift classroom practice, transform the teaching experience, and improve students’ interest and aptitude in STEM. PLTW has grown from a high school engineering program to offering comprehensive PreK-12 pathways in computer science, engineering, and biomedical science, balancing the rigor and engagement needed to have a real impact for students


[Mass STEM Hub, a program of the One8 Foundation, is focused on helping schools implement high-quality STEM programming.]


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