Introductions - Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge

Welcome to the Jacobs Teen Innovation Challenge! We want to get to know each of you better and help you make connections with each other. Please reply to this thread and:

  • Introduce yourself

  • Let us know what you are hoping to hear during the Understand webinar on January 14th

Hi Everyone!

My name is Tobey Tam. I’m a teacher in San Marcos Unified, 8th grade science. My middle school group that is in the Innovation Challenge is from Girl Scouts/Society of Women Engineers. The group has some middle school students from San Marcos and others from Rancho Penasquitos.

At the January webinar, I’m hoping to get a clear understanding of how to use Pactful - how my students are supposed to log in and submit work. And steps that are required for the challenge, what students need to submit.

Looking forward to a new year!


My name is Sarah Stratman and I teach Computer Science at Duchesne Academy in Omaha, Nebraska. I agree with Tobey’s post and would like more information on how to use Pactful for creating and submitting projects. I am also curious if there are opportunities for students to connect with other groups participating in the challenge to share what they have created.




My name is Tim Heim. I teach an Engineering Design Capstone class for seniors at Maine West High School in Des Plaines. Illinois.

I am hoping to gain some understanding in how to guide students through the Understand Phase. Great big open ended challenges allow for interesting results, but can be overwhelming. I want to make sure that I give my students enough room to explore with enough guidance to be successful.

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My name is Ken Adkins and I teach Engineering & Design Capstone for Junios/Seniors at Maine East High School in Park Ridge, IL (near O’hare Airport). I teach in the same district as @Timothy_Heim and he talked me into joining this program. I look forward learning more about it. My students are almost all Virtually attending class and I look forward to learning more about using this program in that setting. I am a bit overwhelmed at the scope of possibilities for projects and would appreciate ideas for narrowing the scope or guiding students to manageable project ideas.


Nice to meet you Tobey! We look forward to seeing you at the Understand Webinar next week!

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Nice to meet you Sarah! I’m sure there are other teachers participating in this challenge who would love to connect with you and your students. Thanks for bringing that up on your post and please feel free to mention it at the Understand webinar to see who might be interested!

Welcome @kadkins and @Timothy_Heim! We look forward to meeting you at the Understand webinar and providing support for you as you navigate through Pactful!

It’s nice to meet you @dspieg, @StGabriels, @senkay, and @Branka_Ranisavljevic! It’s so awesome to have teachers locally from San Diego and all the way from Texas to even Serbia! As Stefanie mentioned, this is a great tool for “empowering our students to used design thinking to make a difference in the world!” In these times, we need as much positivity and hope we can get to make great changes. I’m looking forward to seeing you next week!

Hi everyone! My name is Daniel Spiegelberg and I teach American Literature, and also German and History at Mount Everest Academy in San Diego. I’m looking forward to learning more about how to get my students set up and help guide them through the initial stages! I introduced them to the 17 Global Goals today, and they will be choosing one soon! I’d like to hear any suggestions you have as Ken said "to narrow the scope or guiding students to manageable project ideas! I’m getting excited about offering this opportunity to my students, and meeting you all next week!


Hello, my name is Stefanie Nguyen. I am the STEAM Director at St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Austin, Texas. My colleagues, Dr. Blanca Snyder and Barb Creed, and I will be using Pactful with our 8th graders this year. We look forward to empowering our students to use design thinking to make a difference in the world!


Hello fellow educators!

I’m excited to be in year two of Pactful. It had an amazing impact on my students last year and was a wonderful addition to my curriculum. My students had projects that won 1st, 2nd and 4th place last year! I was so proud of them. I also did a testimonial for Pactful that is noted here, Testimonials - Pactful

The curriculum is super well packaged and thorough. But, I would be remiss if I didn’t note how great the people are behind this project. As they rolled this out with us beta testers last year they were super responsive and worked with us to mitigate issues and create a more robust platform Thank you Monte especially.

Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about how rolling it out from the educators side. And, congratulations for joining this community. I think you will be really surprised at how will this project works in the classroom.


Hello, I am Branka Ranisavljevic, high school teacher of maths and computer science in Serbia, Europe.
My students and me do about 50 project around the world.
Shortly : member of T4 Squad, WEW, The best teacher of exYu-Serbia,Msc Math,Computer science,so many eTwinning European awards,MIE, SDGs Ambassador - Earth project, MSFTEduChat
I am first time here


Happy New Year! My name is Kelly Owens. I teach HS social studies at an international school in Bamako, Mali (AISB). My former boss introduced me to the Innovation Challenge. I will most likely be doing the challenge with my 11th-grade students, in place of their internships (cancelled due to covid).

Due to the time difference, I can not participate in the live webinars. However, I am looking forward to learning more about the challenge.


Welcome to the Innovation Challenge @kowens! We completely understand about the time difference. We’re happy to have you join us all the way in Mali! If you have any questions or need support along the way, please feel free to reach out to me and Monte!

Hello Educators,

My name is Laneshia Lamb-Boone. I teach HS Mathematics in Rural, NC. My mother, an administrator at one of our feeder schools, came across this challenge and shared it me. I look forward to this opportunity for my students and myself. My goal is to expand their views on the impact they can have on their communities.

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I am Beth Francis. I teach Gifted STEM for grades 2-8 at Felicity Franklin Local Schools. My 8th grade class will be participating in the contest this year. I am looking forward to the webinar to get ideas to get started with the challenge.

My name is Jonathan Walker and I teach Business and Marketing at Kirksville Area Technical Center. I teach 8-12th grade business and marketing class. I am also FBLA, NTHS and Esports advisor. I am always looking for opportunities to help my students become successful.


I am on my second year leading my team using Pactful at e3 Civic High. Last year our 10th grade used Pactful to help us prepare projects for our Exhibition of Learning and to present at D4SD, a design competition in San Diego. This year we are using Pactful in 9th and 10th grades.

Our program consists of four years of Design Thinking. This year our 9th through 11th are meeting on Fridays for either 45 minutes or 90 minutes depending on the week. We started the year with a small project on civic engagement and voting. We are now focused on creating projects for our end of year exhibition. A lot of the projects are focused on problems our kids see at home, we have a couple of projects focused on hybrid education models from the student point of view, we have a project that attempts to leverage the gaming community to promote social unity and we have a lot of people interested in projects around hunger.

I am currently running two types of projects. The first is my attempt to allow a non-linear process. My groups that did well on tests of the concepts of design thinking are being given a set of goals (Pactful tasks) to accomplish. They are creating calendars and driving their projects based on what they think they need to do next. The other scholars may not be doing as well on understanding the basics of Design Thinking. I am working more closely with them walking them through step-by-step. Currently they are doing individual projects but I hope to create some group projects as we move from Understand to Ideate.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Stephen Cerruti
Lead of Computer Science and Design Thinking
e3 Civic High

Hello Pactful Folks,

I am a 7th grade Special Ed teacher with the Cajon Valley Union School District. If all goes well, one (or more!) of my Tutorial periods will be participating in this years contest.

I would like to hear about best practices for all stages of the contest process.

See you Thursday.

Hello All,
I teach a capstone course in Engineering Design and Development at Point Loma High School in San Diego CA. My students are tasked each year to research a community problem and use the engineering design process to create and present a solution. They have already started the research in one of the areas of the 17 UN global goals. What I would like to get out of the meeting is info on how narrow to confine their research, and what is expected as far as presenting a solution. Is the solution an idea or do they need to create a product.