Students Compete to be Featured at TEDxNaperville

A transportation system on the moon was just one idea recently brought to a Nokia stage – proving that the “next big thing” on the moon isn’t so far away.

“I’ve always loved engineering and research projects have been a big part of my school life and my friends’ as well. And our teachers brought this to our attention. They were like ‘oh you can do this project and just look into a possible mission to the moon.’ So we thought that would be really interesting so we just started digging into it and investigating,” explained Prateek Dullur, a Naperville Central student.

Prateek’s Team S.O.A.R.N.E.T. joined seven other teams of students from districts 203 and 204 presenting proposals to a panel of judges in a “Shark Tank”- style competition. It was all for a shot at being a part of TEDxNaperville.

“I definitely love TED and especially all the TEDx talks we learn in school. And just being able to stay on the same stage as people who bring new ideas to the table, it’s very inspiring to us. Especially when we’re entering the first stages into our careers and our colleges, being able to say ‘hey I was on a TEDx stage,’ that’s definitely an appealing aspect,” said Carolena Lund, a Waubonsie Valley student on Team Moonable.

After having only three minutes each to pitch their “out of this world” proposals, the teams answered hard-hitting questions from the judges, who all come from the science, engineering, and business industries.

“I think overall it was a great experience for us, in terms of seeing that freshness, the aliveness of a bunch of high school students. After I’ve gone through the process it’s pretty impressive what the students were able to do in a short amount of time. The amount of research taught me a lot. I learned a lot about the moon that’s for sure! But I was really impressed with the work that they put in,” said judge Michael Kinnavy, the head of Small Cells Software R&D.

In the end, first place was given to Neuqua Valley’s Team Space-Bricks for their pitch to use the moon’s rocks and materials for building infrastructure.

The team gets to go to TEDxNaperville on November 10 to present their idea at the Nokia table.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.

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