JUMP Into STEM Final Event Exemplifies Commitment to Equity From the Next Generation of Building Science Professionals

Virtual Conclusion to Collegiate Competition Crowns Winning Teams and Awards National Laboratory Internships

Feb. 8, 2022 | Contact media relations

A screenshot of virtual event participants.
JUMP into STEM Winners were awarded a 10-week paid internship at NREL, ORNL, or PNNL.

The JUMP into STEM Final Event—held virtually Jan. 27 and 28, 2022—showcased holistic solutions from student teams covering three challenge areas: equal access to indoor air quality, resilience for all, and accelerated market adoption. The event, hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), also featured virtual tours of national laboratories and sponsor facilities, interactive trivia sessions, networking opportunities with industry professionals, and a keynote address by Trina Bilal from the Department of Energy's Office of Economic Impact and Diversity.

2022 JUMP into STEM Final Event Judges

  • Claire Behar, chief commercial officer at Hy Stor Energy, a renewable hydrogen and hydrogen storage company headquartered in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Dr. Lauren Cooper, associate teaching professor in mechanical engineering at University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Dr. Odessa Gomez, research associate with the University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Damon House, solutions and strategy manager for healthcare and education at Microsoft Industry Services.

"It was a great experience," said Alka Khadka, a Final Event competitor from Oklahoma State University. "I got to learn about various topics and ideas that are really fascinating. And, I also got to know more about the labs and their real-world contributions."

Each of the nine student teams invited to the Final Event had 15 minutes to present their innovative building industry solutions to representatives from the Department of Energy, national laboratory researchers, and a panel of expert judges. The two-day event concluded with a live announcement of winners, who were each offered 10-week paid internships at ORNL, NREL, or the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL).

"I was greatly impressed with how inclusive this event was, even in the virtual platform. I felt inspired, I learned a lot, and I would participate again, as well as encourage other students to join in!" said Hayley Matthews from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

"I sincerely enjoyed the lively event of the competition; it was great to have a platform to speak about something that I'm passionate about," added Matthews' teammate Aryanna Sanchez. "The networking sessions were a great way for me to find out what it's really like to work in these places."

JUMP into STEM Final Event Competitors

Congratulations to the following teams invited to compete at the 2022 JUMP into STEM Final Event:

Challenge Topic: Equal Access to Healthy Indoor Air

  • Jason Talford – University of Idaho
  • Eliott Meyer – University of Nebraska, Omaha

Challenge Topic: Resilience for All in the Wake of Disaster

  • Samantha Eddy, Xiang Huo, Xinyan Liu, and Xinyang Rui — The University of Utah
  • Alexandra Kahl and Kyra Owensby — University of Tennessee, Knoxville
  • Carolina Herrera – Vanderbilt University
  • Alka Khadka and Grant Walker – Oklahoma State University
  • Katie Frey – University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Challenge Topic: Solving Market Adoption for Emerging Efficiency Technologies

  • Haley Matthews and Aryanna Sanchez – Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
  • Keshav Panthi and Daniel Charles – The University of Texas, Dallas
A screenshot of two virtual event participants.
JUMP into STEM Final Event competitors Keshav Panthi and Daniel Charles from The University of Texas, Dallas high-five after their presentation.

"It was wonderful to work on a project aiming at improving the life quality of communities in rural, remote areas," said Xinyang Rui from The University of Utah. "Participating in the competition also helped me improve my communications and teamwork skills."

JUMP into STEM Final Event Winning Solutions

At the conclusion of the JUMP into STEM Final Event, the following student teams were crowned winners. Each member of the winning teams has been offered a 10-week paid internship at a national laboratory to provide enhanced training in the building sciences.

Haley Matthews and Aryanna Sanchez from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University presented a market deployment plan for keycard light switches to greatly decrease wasted electricity that is attributable to lights left on or appliances and devices left plugged into outlets. The low-barrier technology provides the opportunity for multi-unit building owners to reduce energy use at an affordable price while residents live more sustainably and save money on utility bills.

A screenshot of two virtual events participants.

JUMP into STEM Final Event winners Haley Matthews and Aryanna Sanchez from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Samantha Eddy, Xiang Huo, Xinyan Liu, and Xinyang Rui from The University of Utah proposed an approach to advance resiliency in remote areas, focusing on a self-sustaining and replicable solution based in Dennehotso in Navajo Nation. The team's holistic strategy to advance the underserved community covers building retrofits, resilient power supply, access to broadband networks, culture preservation, and community education.

A screenshot of four virtual event participants.
JUMP into STEM Final Event winners Samantha Eddy, Xiang Huo, Xinyan Liu, and Xinyang Rui from The University of Utah show their school spirit.

Alka Khadka and Grant Walker from Oklahoma State University designed a plan to improve disaster preparedness through modular, sustainable, and energy-efficient shelters. The team's solution increases efficiency and speed of construction through the use of 3D printing; maximizes monetary and nonmonetary benefits through alternative uses; and alleviates social, economic, and wellness burdens.

A screenshot of two virtual meeting participants.
JUMP into STEM Final Event winners Alka Khadka and Grant Walker from Oklahoma State University show their school spirit.

Alexandra Kahl and Kyra Owensby from University of Tennessee, Knoxville proposed a two-tiered solution to provide safe, effective, and reliable electricity for communities during a blackout. Using social vulnerability data and community input, the solution would deploy batteries and window fans to impacted areas. When not in use, the backup batteries are stored and charged in a facility powered by solar energy.

A screenshot of two virtual event participants.
JUMP into STEM Final Event winners Alexandra Kahl and Kyra Owensby from University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

JUMP into STEM is supported by the U.S. Department of Energy. Visit the Building Technologies Office website for more on energy-efficient building initiatives.