Enlighten Me: Concord High students' invention competing for national award
While there’s been numerous local and national efforts to employ those with disabilities -- numbers show that we could be doing better. Only 58 percent of 20-somethings with autism are employed in the U.S.
So there’s a huge need for innovation to help more people with disabilities find work -- and to work more productively. At Concord High School in Wilmington, six seniors - Nick Adinolfi, Sophia Friedeborn, Devlan Horner, Carson Hughes, Taylor Nguyen, and Michael Slemko - worked with Christiana Care Health System to engineer a solution for one of their interns, Justin Hall.
Hall’s job is to sort unused medications alphabetically. But the text printed on bags of medication are small and difficult to read. So to help, the Concord High team built a barcode scanner that recognizes names of medications.
Hughes says this device, which they call the Scan ‘n Sort, will help those like Hall find employed after his internship.
“We have the ability to hopefully give Justin the opportunity to have a paid position so he can work more efficiently and get a job,” said Hughes.
And the students involved say they are getting something out of the project too.
For example, Slemko says it has inspired him to pursue a career in the field of biomedical engineering. He will major in that at Temple University this fall.
“After working on something on like this and being in a hospital and seeing how everything works, I think it’s really neat and I like the idea of medicine and building all the same time," said Slemko. And I think incorporating the two together is a really awesome job and a field I want to get myself into.”
Their project has recently become one of five finalists in the SourceAmerica Design Challenge -- a national engineering competition. The six seniors - will present their device in early April in Washington D.C.