Keyser High wins top awards during Ag Innovation Showcase

Drew Matlick named grand champion student innovator

Keyser High School and Mineral County Technical Center swept the top Student Agriculture Innovation Challenge Awards during the statewide West Virginia Agriculture Innovation Showcase presented Feb. 24 during a live online broadcast. The Challenge and Showcase are sponsored yearly 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.

Drew Matlick, a freshman at Keyser High and student in the agricultural program at Mineral County Technical Center, captured the grand champion award for his creative idea to development a software app to assist livestock producers with vaccination timing to improve efficacy. The app also would provide booster shot details and withdrawal dates to prevent meat or milk contamination. Matlick will receive $500 in cash and a $1,000 technical assistance package from RCBI to help develop his innovative concept into a commercially viable product.

The other finalists were Elijah Bryant, Kaylin Walton, Avery Starkey and Keldon Shiftlett of Buckhannon-Upshur High School; and Kooper Riggleman of Moorefield High School, who was runner-up to the grand champion. Each finalist will receive $100 and a package of maker tools that includes a desktop 3D printer.

Matlick’s video submission of his entry also garnered the most votes in an online contest to capture the individual People’s Choice Award. In addition to the other prizes, he will receive a laptop computer and a 170-piece tool kit. Mineral County Technical Center won a separate People’s Choice Award and will receive a 3D printing package that includes two printers and accessories so its students can create and innovate.

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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