2014 USA Student Finalists

Emma Baker
West Liberty High School
West Liberty

Summer Reading Program for at Risk Readers
My project was a Summer Reading Program for third through fifth grade students who were considered to be on the edge of proficiency in reading. A group of 3 volunteers and myself worked with 6 students for 6 weeks. We met for an hour a day, 5 days a week at the library to simply read with them.

Ashley Brown
Louisa-Muscatine High School

Hope From Within
My project focuses on the Muscatine Domestic Violence Shelter. I collected basic need items for the victims. The bulk of my project was the self-help library I built. I did many fundraisers and got donations to purchase the books which focused on topics such as inspiration, relationships, personal finances, interview skills, etc.

Catelyn Graham
Grinnell Newburg Community High School

Intergenerational Relationship Enrichment
Studies have shown that feelings of loneliness and lack of self worth raises the potential for certain health risks in the elderly like depression, stroke, and diabetes. The Intergenerational Relationship Enrichment program involves youth service organizations planning interactive events, like puppetry. This builds and nurtures intergenerational relationships enhancing the quality of life in the increasing elderly population in my community.

Caleb Hoffman
Muscatine High School

Helping Students “Catch a Vision” for Their Future
Inspiring elementary students toward a STEM future

– Compelling student led kick-off presentations
– Innovative, proven, and engaging STEM curriculum – “A World in Motion”
– Grant funded via the Iowa “Governor’s STEM Council” – ‘Scale Up Programs’
– STEM professionals mentor students during the hands-on curriculum
– Personally mentoring 10 students during their rookie F.I.R.S.T. LEGO League (FLL) robotic competition season

Lexington Kennard
Ankeny High School

Teens Against Human Trafficking
I developed a curriculum and handbook for Teens Against Human Trafficking (501c3). TAHT teams will raise awareness in their communities about human trafficking issues through events and peer prevention education. This curriculum and handbook has all of the necessary resources and information needed to set up a successful TAHT team thus contributing to the abolishment of modern day slavery.

Miranda Liebsack
North High School

Stay Strong & Carry On
For this project guides and an inspirational video have been made to help victims of bullying cope. At the end of the day, it is up to the victim to stay strong and carry on. My project provides the victims will tools to develop healthy coping mechanisms and teaches them how to independently boost their own self-esteems.

Ankur Parupally
Linn-Mar High School
Cedar Rapids

Water Filtration Education
Water Filtration Education is a community service project I’m doing in my native country — India, to help the small villages with acute drinking water problem. When I visited India this past summer I not only visited two villages and spent time educating the villagers about the importance of clean drinking water, but also the positive impact it would have on their health. I also gathered the various cost effective options available to the villagers and shared the positive outcome from my dad and grandparents’ hometown.

Paige Plate
Nevada High School

Painting Our Town
I founded ‘Painting Our Town’ in order to make my hometown a more beautiful place through my passion for art. Through this project I was able to bring our community together through volunteer work, donations, and support. The people of Nevada, Iowa, all ages and kinds, now have a project they can look at and say “I helped do that.

Shalini Raichur
Muscatine High School

Blankets for Babes
Blankets for Babes is a project dedicated to providing young children in Grand Bois, Haiti with hand-made tie blankets from Muscatine, Iowa. A blanket serves as a symbol of comfort and security – feelings every child deserves to feel.

Erica Ramirez
Columbus Community High School
Columbus Junction

Cultural Connections: The Bridge
Project Cultural Connections: The Bridge aims to establish a common ground between the diverse population of Columbus Junction, Iowa and the surrounding areas by publishing a multicultural, trilingual newspaper as well as hosting cultural activities. With articles in English, Spanish, and Hakha Chin, The Bridge has created a “bridge” that encourages communication between our neighbors.

Riley Ries

Operation BackPack
The most important thing for a child to do is to eat healthy food on a daily basis. Many families of the Vinton-Shellsburg School District are unable to feed their children everyday. The goal of Operation BackPack is to send home foods with K-5 students that are shelf-stable, kid-friendly, and healthy to ensure they have access to food regularly.

Lucia Ruppert
Roosevelt High School

The Adventures of Lucy and Lulu
The Adventures of Lucy & Lulu is a children’s book that follows a young girl, Lucy, and Lulu, her stuffed giraffe, as they travel with her parents who are Red Cross Volunteers. It promotes volunteerism at a young age. The book shows children that they can help in the smallest ways. It also presents disasters in a less scary way.

Megan Slattery
Calamus-Wheatland Secondary

Putting Mockridge Back on the Map
The Mockridge Wildlife Preserve is a place of unique and natural beauty. The 75-acre preserve holds nearly three miles of winding trails to hike along, as well as an ambulance of plants and animals. But this place was fading from existence — until I decided it was time to put Mockridge back on the map.

Elliot Suiter
Johnston H.S.

Harnessing the Wind
I am passionate about renewable energy, so my project was to design and build a 400-watt wind turbine. My wind turbine can power lights and household appliances. Currently it powers an aeration system to keep the pond on my property oxygenated and algae free. My plans are posted online so others can create clean energy in their backyards also.

Jena Van Marel
Sheldon High School

Glimpse of Change
Glimpse of Change is a transformative mission for numerous individuals in Kenya. Glasses changed my view of the world and I want to do the same for others. I’ve collected, organized, and tested the prescription for over 1,000 pairs of glasses to be distributed in Kenya in December. Receiving a pair of glasses will be a life changing event.