The R&D Forum Recap

Posted on Thursday, April 30th, 2015 by
In Community, Culture, Helping Out, tagged in

Yesterday, we shared a brief overview of Project Lead the Way, but today, Les Hamilton is sharing his thoughts on the importance of STEM education and events like the Research & Development Forum.


The Research and Development (R&D) Forum is a Shawnee Mission School District, district-wide showcase of student projects. Held April 24 – 26 at Shawnee Mission West High School, the forum has four defined subject areas that students may enter:

  • Career & Technical Education (CTE)
  • Science
  • Performing Arts
  • Social Studies.

Entries are judged according to established criteria for each category.

CTE includes engineering, business, health science, industrial technology, family and consumer sciences, and teacher education. Entries are related to a student’s curriculum area and showcase creative usage of technology and a mastery of technical skills. I had the privilege of serving as a judge for the engineering and industrial technology entries: architectural design (residential house plan), introduction to engineering design (reverse engineering), and engineering design and development (development of the SMESL site).

The students exhibited an understanding of engineering and design principles and analytical techniques. Their displays portrayed the project and their results and reflected the engineering practices and methodologies utilized. It was very difficult to rank the projects. All were impressive. The projects represented performances beyond the respective grade levels of the students.

I hope the students remember the R&D Forum as a positive experience and continue their pursuit of a career in STEM professions. These students will be creating our future.

SMSD – R&D Form page
SMSD – CTE page
SMSD – PLTW – Engineering

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