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2023 Year In Review | Make48 “Year of Innovation & Collaboration”

Updated: Dec 14, 2023

 It’s hard to believe that we’re writing our yearly recap for the seventh time. So much has changed since our first Make48, and today we’ll reflect on the milestones and successes that have shaped the past 12 months. Make48 continues to be a catalyst for innovation and collaboration and as we wrap up 2023, the anticipation builds for an even more ambitious 2024 year ahead.

This year Make48 brought its programming and competitions to some amazing spaces. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (MO), KS State School for the Blind (KS), Purdue Polytechnic Anderson (IN), The Lincoln Academy (WI), Northwest Arkansas Community College (AR), University of Wisconsin-Stout (WI), and The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub (AR) all hosted 48-hour competitions, each marked with resounding success, showcasing the power of creativity and collaboration.

Two National competitions took center stage in 2023, with one in March at the University of MO-Kansas City for the 2022 regional competition and another in November at AR Innovation Hub-North Little Rock, Arkansas, for the 2023 city competitions. These events not only provided a platform for participants but also generated public and media attention, extending far beyond the intense 48-hour competition window.

We never cease to be inspired by the work our teams, tool techs, and sponsors do using our platform. Let’s zoom in on a few of the many significant highlights our company has gone through during 2023:

  • Our events provided opportunities to encourage innovation and collaboration with students, entrepreneurs, and Makers across several disciplines and diverse backgrounds.

  • We were supported by world-class brands, including; T-Mobile, Fastenal, Corteva Agriscience, 3M, and Alliant Energy. These partnerships not only contributed to the success of the competitions but also emphasized the importance of industry collaboration in fostering innovation and creativity.

  • Efforts started with the partnership of the DeBruce Foundation on the Make48 Innovation Curriculum, set to be available soon. Additionally, Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is gearing up to launch this into classrooms in August 2024 with 20 school pilots, further solidifying Make48's commitment to skills development and cross-functional collaboration among young minds.

  • We renewed our commitment to be part of the solution by supporting events in smaller, underserved communities. These efforts aim to bridge gaps and provide opportunities for those who may not have access to these hands-on STEM competitions, truly embodying the spirit of inclusivity and community support.

  • One of Make48's core missions is to inspire future makers to explore STEM degrees on college or high school campuses. By providing a platform for hands-on experiences and real-world problem-solving, Make48 plays a pivotal role in encouraging the pursuit of STEM education.

We could go on and many inspiring stories came out of this year at Make48. Speaking for my whole team, it is such an honor to be a small part of good work. So without further ado, I invite you to hear from each member of the Make48 team – Amy, Katie, Courtney, David, and Cassandra – as they share the moments from 2023 that had the most significant impact on them.

Katie Cappozzo: My favorite part of 2024 was working with our teams in Beloit and UW-Stout. As the Wisconsin Ambassador, I get the opportunity to not only work with the teams that compete but also with the host location and the sponsors. The unity and support that both of these communities show towards forwarding innovation is truly inspiring. I was grateful to have the opportunity to work with such amazing people! 

4 people standing in front of banner
Katie Cappozzo with Beloit VIP's (Kerry Ingredients)

Courtney Rosenquist: The Bentonville event was my first event back from maternity leave and it felt like no time had passed. I had such a blast getting to know the contestants and working side by side with the tool techs and my M48 fam! Plus, the challenge theme of 5G in the Great Outdoors could benefit me directly while I am hiking.

several people standing inside NWACC makerspace
Bentonville-NWACC Group Portrait

David Marshall: My first highlight came at the KSSB event. All the teams were divided into their assigned workspaces, with a large team of people to support them in bringing their ideas to life as we do in all of our competitions. Last June several team members visited other teams from time to time, and were observed joining in problem-solving with the other team, collaborating with what could have been perceived as “the enemy”, but in their eyes were helping out their friends. 

KSSB students smiling and posing
KSSB teams celebrating after M48 competition

Cassandra Muñoz: Purdue Polytechnic-Anderson showcased seven high school teams from the Anderson and Indianapolis area. The students were brilliant throughout the weekend and the staff at Purdue were amazing to work with. I thought overall the ideas and pitches were the most entertaining and some of the best of the season! 

Purdue Anderson makerspace building
Tool Tech Tyler assisting team at Purdue Anderson

Amy Gray: We had two Nationals this year to celebrate the winning teams from two different years of competitions. A highlight for me from the S6 nationals was seeing a group of all females win it. We’ve come a long way from our very first Make48 and it’s a testament to our encouragement and efforts to involve those who may not first think they have what it takes to innovate. Seeing that happen sets the stage for future generations of STEM leaders and I’m proud to be a small part of that.

5 people standing in front of banner
Amy and Tom Gray with Stellar Tech Girls

Ramping up for 2024: Innovating For The Future

Make48 is poised for a groundbreaking year in 2024 with nine large competition events set to launch, starting in Kansas City with Project Lead The Way. The success of these events is made possible by the unwavering support and dedication of sponsors committed to fostering innovation and providing real-life building experiences for the next generation. Make48 remains steadfast in its commitment to inspiring, educating, and empowering the makers of tomorrow.

As we celebrate the achievements of 2023, Make48 thanks everyone who participated in our events this year.  It was a memorable one!

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