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  • Writer's pictureVoltaire Santillan

Unilab Foundation launches first STEM hackathon

The future of STEM education got a dynamic boost as select senior high school students geared up and participated in the eagerly anticipated HackaSTEM: Bridging the STEM gap through technology and innovation hackathon. Organized by Unilab Foundation through its STEM+PH program, this groundbreaking competition brought together young and talented minds to ideate and develop innovative tech with the goal of promoting science, technology, engineering, and math learning among students.

Full video coverage on the ULF Youtube Channel:

HackaSTEM was a two-week learning journey for the six teams composed of senior high school students from De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, St. Jude Catholic School, President Diosdado Macapagal High School, and Vinzons Pilot High School. It kicked off with an in-person ideation seminar where participants learned about design thinking and data science principles and how to apply these in their proposals. Participating teams took turns in pitching their ideas to their mentors who are leaders in the tech startup industry. In the succeeding days were intensive online mentorship sessions that helped the teams further improve their concepts before moving forward.

Participating teams learn about the principles of design thinking and data science to help them refine their proposals.

HackaSTEM proved to be an exciting platform for these budding innovators who showcased their creativity and ingenuity in fun-filled atmospheres online and in real life. In the culminating event, the teams presented their creations to a panel of esteemed judges from the academic, technology, and business sectors, including Unilab Inc. Corporate Information Technology Assistant Vice President Mr. Ronilon M. Barretto. The judges evaluated the proposals based on creativity, functionality, potential impact, and overall innovation. Team ZH Foundation from De La Salle Santiago Zobel School emerged as the champion with their proposal that makes learning STEM interesting through a 90s-style role-playing game that involves answering STEM questions to ‘defeat the enemies’ and progress through the levels. They received a cash prize of PhP 30,000.00. Runners up Team STEM Minds from President Diosdado Macapagal High School, and Team La Sallian Spark Education also from De La Salle Santiago Zobel School, received PhP 20,000.00 and PhP 10,000.00 respectively.

“[HackaSTEM] marks a milestone for our STEM+PH program as we organized this [first-ever] STEM hackathon,” Unilab Foundation Executive Director Ms. Lilibeth C. Aristorenas remarked. “This event has been an opportunity for all the participants to dive head first into the world of problem solving, critical thinking, and collaborative innovation. Let this be just the beginning, a stepping stone towards a future ready Philippines where creativity and science unite to address the challenges of what tomorrow may bring.”

HackaSTEM is not just a hackathon; it is a movement that transforms how students perceive and engage with STEM subjects by encouraging them to think beyond the conventional classroom and create digital solutions. The event inspired a new generation STEM enthusiasts, future leaders, and problem solvers for a healthier and future-ready Philippines.

The first HackaSTEM was held from July 22 to August 5, 2023. The event was sponsored by MDI Novare, Pilipinas Shell Foundation, PHINMA Education, Deloitte, Insular Foundation, Science Star Corporation, Common Ground, and Amazon Web Services, in partnership with QBO Innovation Hub.

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