Columbia City High School excels in MakerMinded tech challenge, takes top spot in Indiana

Indiana students learned about high-tech manufacturing thanks to coalition hosted by Purdue

Columbia City High School in Columbia City, Ind., was recognized for their students’ outstanding performance in the 2018-2019 MakerMinded competition, a web-based collection of challenges that engages high schoolers’ interest in high-tech manufacturing, with an ultimate goal of enticing students to enter Indiana’s manufacturing industries. More than 300 students and teachers across Indiana participated in the national MakerMinded network, which also includes schools in Idaho, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. As a result of their MakerMinded success, the students of Columbia City High School will be awarded state-of-the-art STEM learning technology to enhance the school’s curriculum.

About the MakerMinded competition

MakerMinded used a “friendly competition” concept on a web-based portal. Any student and school with an Internet connection could earn points by completing tech challenges and career learning experiences and then posting photos of their adventures to the MakerMinded website and in social media. Participants choose activities from six categories that include “Connect with a Local Manufacturer,” “In-Class Activity” and “Experience STEM in the Community.” Activities were worth 3-7 points, depending on the degree of difficulty and involvement.

As part of the competition, the Columbia City High School students:

  • attended a STEM event
  • visited local manufacturing facilities
  • hosted manufacturing guest speakers
  • completed programs in Youth Employment Solutions (YES!), Junior Achievement, Manufacturing Day, Adventure Science Engineering Day, A World of Motion, FIRST Robotics and Connect with Safran Landing Systems


MakerMinded is sponsored by Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT), a Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute and member of Manufacturing USA, and by the Indiana Manufacturing Competitiveness Center (IN-MaC), a coalition hosted by Purdue University and delivered in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and Vincennes University to address Indiana’s manufacturing challenges, such as:

  • Shortage of trained workers capable of filling open positions
  • Integration of modern technologies and practices throughout the value chain
  • Smart investments in research with near-term applications to strengthen our manufacturing ecosystem

“The Indiana MakerMinded platform provides educators and students the opportunity to share learning experiences and curriculum that encourages regional collaboration,” said Lisa Deck, program manager, education and workforce, IN-MaC. “Columbia City High School is being rewarded for their innovation and focus on career awareness and exploration, which is helping their students make informed decisions about their future.”

“MakerMinded students in Indiana are becoming the next generation of innovators and makers,” said Emily DeRocco, vice-president, education and workforce development, LIFT. “They prove we have the talent and the passion in our students to be a globally competitive manufacturing force; we just need to provide opportunities for young people to hone their skills.”

“The Indiana MakerMinded platform creates peer learning opportunities and a catalog of knowledge to help further identify, explore and develop STEM practices and to create a diverse STEM ecosystem regionally and nationally,” said Sascha Harrell, director, education and workforce, IN-MaC. “Together, with the community, educational partners and industry, we can expand the ecosystem and foster a network of resources that influences and shapes the community in which we all live and work,”

The 2019-2020 MakerMinded competition will begin in August 2019. Students, school officials and employers interested in joining the Indiana MakerMinded campaign should visit

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