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Student takes home Stantec Developing Future Communities Award at the Big Bang Competition

August 03, 2023

Precious Okeowo, from Mayfield Grammar School, Kent, won with a project aiming to provide a sustainable, affordable solution for water scarcity

Student Precious Okeowo’s project, BIO-clean H2O, wowed the judges of the 2023 Big Bang Competition. The student from Mayfield Grammar School, Kent, took home the Stantec Developing Future Communities Award. This award recognises a project that demonstrates how science and engineering can advance the quality of life in communities, whether around the corner or across the globe. 

The Big Bang Competition is an annual contest designed to reward young people's achievements in all areas of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), helping them build skills and confidence in project-based work.

Stantec’s Katie Wade and Lewes Jenkins were involved in the shortlisting process and reviewed a record breaking 43 entries developed by students aged 11 to 19. Katie explains, “From this, we narrowed down a shortlist of 10 projects to progress through to the finals stage. We then held 20-minute video interviews with each of our finalists, from which we selected a winner and two runners up. The standards across the competition were incredibly high, and I was truly impressed by the passion, ingenuity, and diligence of all the contestants I was able to speak to—this was not an easy decision to make.”

Precious’ project aims to provide a sustainable and affordable solution to water scarcity and quality through a hydro-powered bio-char water filtration system. It’s designed to be flexible for varying water sources and volumes, and easily implemented in communities with limited access to clean water.

Stantec’s Liz Chapman, consulting engineering director, United Kingdom and Ireland, said, “Stantec’s promise to ‘Design with Community in Mind’ means we understand the importance of having our professional and technical expertise shaped by connection with the communities we serve. Precious Okeowo’s project demonstrated excellent application of engineering problem-solving to improve quality of life, while also demonstrating an understanding of the particular context. As our world faces huge challenges from energy security to climate change, we’ve never been in more need of these skills and abilities and it’s an absolute pleasure to see so much potential and talent in the Big Bang Competition again this year. Precious’ project on low-cost, sustainable water filtration systems stood out as particularly impressive and we’re delighted to be recognising her with this award.”

Having presented the award, Stantec’s Jack Lonsdale, senior data analyst, United Kingdom and Ireland reflects, “I was overwhelmed by the displays of innovation, talent, and enthusiasm at the Big Bang Fair—from the range of stalls and activities through to every project presented by students on the day. I was genuinely inspired by some of the entries and the dedication put into trying to address some of the challenges we face as a global community. It was an honour to present the Developing Future Communities award on behalf of Stantec to a very worthy winner, whose project showed real passion towards creating meaningful change. I think I can confidently say the future of engineering is in safe hands!”

For more information visit The Big Bang Competition.

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