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Nationals Team Spotlight: LITTLE RED HENS Representing KSSB

Get to know the teams competing at the Sixth Make48 National Competition.

Seven teams will compete from March 31-April 2nd at The University of Missouri-Kansas City. Participants, tool techs and mentors will collaborate throughout the 2-day event at UMKC’s Innovation Studio, a hub for students and the community to discuss, design, build and innovate. Features include a 3D printing lab, fabrication studio, high-performance computing equipment and $3 million of augmented and virtual reality equipment.

Meet the Kansas City, Kansas hometown team, The Little Red Hens! Mariah Presley, Callie Dyches, Cecilia Leal and Lyra Thompson will represent The Kansas State School for the Blind at this month’s event. Read more about the all-girl team, written by Little Red Hen team member, Lyra Thompson!

Little Red Hens + Make48 Team

At the Make48 competition hosted at Kansas State School for the Blind, six teams competed to design the best product that would hold, display, and possibly dispense farm-fresh eggs. One of those teams was the Little Red Hens, the team I was on. Our team was the winning team. We took home a prize of $2,000 split evenly among our members, accessible watches gifted by one of the judges, Chris Carr (Founder of the Blind Spot KC), and the egg-themed trophy.

The winning prototype our team built was called The Egg Barn. It was a wooden, barn-shaped egg storage unit with three shelves, slanted downward at a slight angle to make for easier access. We also added hooks on the sides and open roof space for more storage. You could place it on a countertop or use the hooks on the back to mount it to a wall.

We went for an aesthetic appeal. While the shelves themselves aren’t anything too unique or interesting, the cute barn shape is what makes our design stand out. It was made out of mostly walnut wood with a set of clear acrylic doors on the front.

Our team consisted of three visually impaired students and a team captain from one of the sponsors. The students were myself, Callie Dyches, and Cecilia Leal. Our team captain was Mariah Presley, from Trane Technologies.

I interviewed each team member and asked the same questions.

L to R: Mariah, Cecilia, Callie and Lyra

Lyra Thompson

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m left-handed!

What was the biggest strength of the team?

I think that how well we got along was a big benefit. If we were constantly arguing or disliked each other, we wouldn’t have worked so well together. There were a few minor disagreements, but overall we got along great and had a lot of fun.

What do you think you’ll do differently, if anything, at Nationals?

I would maybe say getting more sleep. I didn’t get as much sleep as I probably should’ve during the KSSB event. The more awake and alert I am, the better we will probably do.

What are you most excited about with Nationals?

I’m just excited to have the team together again and to be hanging out and working together. Our dynamic was great and it will be a lot of fun to have that again.

Lyra, Callie and Cecilia pitching The Egg Barn

Callie Dyches

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m on the waitlist to get a guide dog, and I’ve been on the waitlist for 271 days.

What was the biggest strength of the team?

I think we were really good at working together, and we were good at challenging each other's ideas without being mean about it.

What do you think you’ll do differently, if anything, at Nationals?

Well, the first day I thought we had a ton of time, and then it got kind of stressful by the end of the second day. So maybe managing time better.

What are you most excited about with Nationals?

I'm excited to meet the other teams and compete with people I don't already know because I knew a lot of people at KSSB.

KSSB Makerspace

Cecilia Leal

What’s a fun fact about you?

I like to burn designs in wood.

What was the biggest strength of the team?

Our communication and planning.

What do you think you’ll do differently, if anything, at Nationals?

Better planning

What are you most excited about with Nationals?

Having fun with the team!

Congratulations Little Red Hens!

Mariah Presley

What’s a fun fact about you?

I’m a painter – everything from classic portraiture to street art and vehicle body work and painting – I love it all!

What was the biggest strength of the team?

This group was especially collaborative and agile! They knew one another’s strengths and would work together to figure out problems, leveraging the unique superpower each person brought to the table. And, when things got tough or we ran into a problem, they persisted and created forward anyway.

What do you think you’ll do differently, if anything, at Nationals?

One of my favorite parts of the experience was how we were able to take the feedback from the focus group, and with only a fraction of time left to go, adjust our model to be more relevant to the consumer. I think being part of that feedback loop opened our eyes to being flexible and adapting. Walking into the next one, I look forward to leaning into this agile mindset more from the beginning and embracing as much creativity as possible throughout the entire project.

What are you most excited about with Nationals?

The most exciting part about all of this is seeing the confidence that blooms from the students and someday creators of the world. Being surrounded by an environment that uplifts what’s possible and empowers future generations with the confidence to “go there” is what it’s all about!

Good luck to the Little Red Hens! To learn more about KSSB follow them on Instagram and on Facebook.

Make48 will be returning to KSSB this summer. To learn about sponsorship opportunities please email Kansas Ambassador David Marshall at

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