Buckhannon-Upshur dominates Student Ag Innovation Challenge

Students from Keyser, Moorefield also finalists for grand championship

Students from Buckhannon-Upshur High School captured four of six finalist spots in the statewide Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge sponsored annually by the Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University, Eastern West Virginia Community & Technical College, and the West Virginia Departments of Agriculture and Education.

They will join two additional finalists from Keyser and Moorefield high schools to compete for the grand championship award February 24 at 10 a.m. during the live-streamed West Virginia Agriculture Innovation Showcase. The public is invited to join the event at https://youtu.be/lGVXEb2bspY.

Finalists are Elijah Bryant, Kaylin Walton, Avery Starkey and Keldon Shiftlett of Buckhannon-Upshur High School; Kooper Riggleman of Moorefield High School; and Drew Matlick of Keyser High School.

Each finalist will receive $100 and a package of maker tools that includes a desktop 3D printer. The grand champion will win an additional $500 as well as a $1,000 technical assistance package from RCBI to help develop the winner’s innovative idea into a commercially viable product.

The finalists’ entries and accompanying videos can be viewed at www.wvmakes.com/vote. Members of the public are invited to participate in the People’s Choice Awards by voting for their favorite student entry and school. The winning student will receive a laptop computer and a 170-piece tool kit while the winning school will receive a 3D printing package that includes two printers and accessories.

“The level of creativity and ingenuity we see year in and year out from students in this competition suggests a bright future for the agricultural sector here in West Virginia,” said Bill Woodrum, director of Entrepreneurship and Agricultural Innovations at RCBI. “We’re proud to support and reward their entrepreneurial efforts and help build their business skills.”

Middle and high school students from across the state compete each year in the Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge by submitting their innovative ideas for improving agricultural production and processes. The Challenge is made possible through the financial support of the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture.

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The Robert C. Byrd Institute (RCBI) at Marshall University delivers expertise and innovative solutions with leading-edge technology to advance manufacturing and entrepreneurship.

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