Competition provides hands-on, real-world learning experience for high school students around the state

MADISON, WI. FEB. 28, 2019 – Four schools were selected to present their designs for a Wisconsin protocol gift today at the Marshfield campus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

The presentation was the final round of judging for the Wisconsin Economic Development’s (WEDC’s) protocol gift design competition, which launched in November with an invitation to the state’s 40 fabrication laboratories (fab labs) to submit a design showcasing their skills and fab lab tools to design and create protocol gifts that will be given by top state dignitaries in their official capacity.

The four finalists include Black River Falls High School, Northwood School District, Turtle Lake School District and Waupun Area Junior/Senior High School. Students from these schools presented their designs for a new protocol gift using technology from their fabrication laboratories (fab labs).

After this final round of judging, two winning designs will be chosen to be mass produced and used by state leaders to present to foreign delegations visiting Wisconsin and to business and government leaders on WEDC trade missions led by Governor Evers as well as global trade ventures led by WEDC’s international business development team.

Each participating fab lab was asked to design drink coasters that prominently included Wisconsin in the design and featured elements that represent the state’s positive economic, cultural, historic or other attributes. Each design was required to be made from materials representing the state.

A panel of judges, including delegates from the Wisconsin State Historical Society, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, the University of Wisconsin-Stout, Fox Valley Technical College and WEDC, judged the designs on appearance and representation of Wisconsin’s industries, production time and cost for the item, and completeness of the design and project description.

WEDC’s Fab Labs Grant Program supports hands-on science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) education by assisting public school districts with equipment purchases for instructional and educational purposes in fab labs. Fab labs are high-tech workshops with the latest equipment, including computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers and computer numerical control routers. Since the program’s inception, WEDC has awarded nearly $1.6 million in grants statewide.