PORTLAND – Seven high school students, pitching an idea they called “Yett-e” (self-driving snowplow to help elderly Mainers access necessities), won the Future Innovators Camp pitch competition and were each awarded $10,000 of scholarships to attend Thomas College in Waterville. Student winners included: Adrian Darlington from Portland High School, Glenn Keene from Bucksport High School, Rishi Duvvuru from Hall-Dale High School, Stephen Worthley-Argraves from Overman Academy (CRCS), Turner Fadiman from Kennebunk High School, Wynn Therrien from Bucksport High School, and Zachary Ferioli from Marshwood High School.

Second-place winners, pitching an online game for young children designed to increase aspirations in STEM fields for women and minorities, were Carrigan Cyr from R.W. Traip Academy, Corbin Richter from Cheverus High School, Daniel Howard from Richmond High School, Izzabella Simmons from Morse High School, Jamie Harrington from Kennebunk High School, Natalie Libby from Sacopee Valley High School, Tianna Eames from Winslow High School, and Sarah Al Wakeel from Westbrook High School, were awarded a $8,000 scholarship to attend Thomas College.  

Third-place winners, pitching a new type of green crab trap, were Alexander Price from Portland High School, Bay Nadeau from Searsport District High School, Victoria Suslova from Thornton Academy, Grace Bergeon from Kennebunk High School, Isaac Widmer from Mount View High School, and Josh Bragdon from Searsport High School were awarded a $6,000 scholarship to attend Thomas College.  

In total, $170,000 worth of scholarships were offered as prizes.

These students are part of a group of more than 50 Maine high school students who spent the week in Portland as part of Future Innovators Camp. Educate Maine, Thomas College, and the Roux Institute at Northeastern University have partnered to develop a unique college and career readiness opportunity for Maine students who wish to make a difference in the future of Maine’s economy. The goal is to help grow local and diverse talent in entrepreneurial and tech-forward fields, especially those that tie directly to Maine’s traditional industries such as biotech, green tech, aquaculture, fintech, e-commerce and cybersecurity.  

Students spent their nights on Cow Island learning outdoor leadership and teamwork with Rippleffect and their days at the Roux Institute learning design thinking with Thomas College and Roux Institute professors to prepare for their innovative pitch that they presented at the end of the camp. They were also visited by many professionals across industries in Maine who served as project mentors or shared expertise during lunch talks (learn more about those professionals in the Daily Recaps – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).  

“Future Innovators was a fantastic experience. Being in a room surrounded by such like-minded and intelligent people was energizing. The collective contributions of the members of Team Yett-E allowed us to fully conceptualize and present a winning solution in just a week. Hearing from Maine business leaders and having the opportunity to visit with local businesses was really interesting and gave me insight into career possibilities here in our own state,” said one of the winning students, Turner Fadiman from Kennebunk High School.  

Second-place winner Natalie Libby, Sacopee Valley High School, “The innovators experience was a great one. It was very hard to sum it up. Working on our project all week nonstop was the hardest thing I did, but it came out amazing!” 

Second-place winner, Jamie Harrington from Kennebunk High School said, “Over the course of four  days, my group and I learned about connecting with our consumer base, creating prototypes, and effectively pitching an idea to our audience. Our STEM education game helped solve real world problems such as limited access to education and lack of diversity in STEM fields. It was a great learning experience and I’m grateful to have been accepted into the program!” 

Third-place winner, Bay Nadeau, from Searsport District High School, said, “What an amazing week! This was a real personal-growth experience for me, and I loved getting to work with such a diversity of other kids to find solutions for real-life problems. I had tons of fun, and it was definitely a great way to start my summer!”

“We were fortunate to be able to recruit from across the state – Madawaska to Kittery, Hiram to Danforth – and everything in between. Schools sent us their top talent – and beyond being individual stars, we learned that these students can work together well to create solutions to some of Maine’s toughest challenges. I have a lot of hope for the future of Maine and I’m excited to see what they all do next!” said Thomas College Program Director for the Centers of Innovation Amanda Nguyen

“The enthusiasm and creativity these students brought to campus was energizing,” said Elena Coronado, director of partnerships at the Roux Institute at Northeastern University. “We are thrilled that these students not only gained awareness of tech careers in Maine from industry partners, faculty and Roux Institute resident founders, but also chose to use their newly honed skills to tackle some of society’s most pressing challenges, like sustainability, and accessibility for underserved communities.” 

Jason Judd, executive director of Educate Maine said, “The students were able to learn essential skills like problem solving, design thinking, and entrepreneurship to offer solutions for both local and global challenges. It was great to see students from across Maine working closely with college faculty and local employers to develop skills that will help them be college and career ready.” 

“The Future Innovators Camp is something I wish all high school students could experience,” said Bangor Savings Bank Senior Vice President/ Director Talent, Diversity & Inclusion David Pease. “The experience was inspiring and magical as the students build their ideas from surveys to final pitches. I was very honored to coach and mentor these amazing students and future Maine leaders!”