For the third consecutive year, students from Bishop Shanahan High School in
Downingtown won the PA Governor’s STEM Regional Competition held at the Chester
County Intermediate Unit-Brandywine Campus. This annual STEM competition
challenges teams to answer needs of Pennsylvanians, while also exploring STEM
careers and developing communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills. This year’s theme is “Improving Pennsylvania Through STEM.” The Shanahan team winning device will now advance to the State Championship in Harrisburg.
The BSHS team developed ELIAS (Emergency Location Indexing Application System),
a device that will decrease the response time for emergency personnel to locate
vulnerable individuals during emergencies. Response time is critical in countless
situations including fires, abductions, natural disasters, active shooters, and acts of
The official presentation team: Noah Brady, Nicholas McLaughlin, Riley McLaughlin,
Brendan Pappas, and Sergio Ulloa, unveiled ELIAS during the competition against other
excellent Chester County high schools on February 5 th . The presentation team received vital support from auxiliary members: Liam Lavin, Alyssa Montalvo, and Michael Sisti, and faculty advisor John P. Janasik, PhD.
The BSHS team developed the project concept and prototype with the support of
community partners. CTDI (Communications Test Design Inc.), a global engineering
company, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) of Pennsylvania, and Matthew
Lash, Esq., a constitutional attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, assisted the
team during their research and project development. Such partnerships enabled the
students to witness first-hand what skills are necessary to be employable and
successful in PA.
The BSHS team will continue developing ELIAS in preparation of the State
Championship in May. In the meantime, BSHS is preparing a robust academic program,
STEM Pathways. This program will provide opportunities for more students to
participate in a specialized learning experience that includes collaborative research,
workshops, competitions, mentoring, and college counseling all focused in STEM.
BSHS STEM Pathways will launch in fall of 2020.