Judges Surprise Students In Class Revealing They Are Top 20 Finalists In The Burns & McDonnell Battle Of The Brains Competiton

By , in PR PR Sci/Tech on .

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Nov. 16, 2017 — After reviewing a record number of submissions, judges chose a unique way to tell 20 student teams they are finalists in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains, Kansas City's favorite K-12 competition for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Armed with everything from streamers and banners to popcorn and pennants, the judges surprised the winners in their classrooms and hand-delivered invitations to the Nov. 30 Battle of the Brains awards ceremony at Union Station.

A record 7,000 students submitted 820 exhibit proposals to the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition.
Students celebrate after being named a top 20 finalist in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains Competition.
Judges surprised students at school to reveal they were a top 20 finalist in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition.

“The students and teachers were screaming, hugging and jumping up and down. It was truly one of the most special moments of my career,” says Ray Kowalik, chairman and CEO, Burns & McDonnell, who was part of the surprise caravan traveling to 20 winning schools in the metro.

The top 20 finalists in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains are:




Focus Program-CAIR Building

Grandview (MO)

The Big Brain Theory

Wolf Springs Elementary

Blue Valley (KS)

Geology ROCKS!

Blue Springs High School

Blue Springs (MO)

Sound of Science

Cordill-Mason Elementary

Blue Springs (MO)

Magical Me

Delta Woods Middle School

Blue Springs (MO)

Going Viral: Making Learning Infectious

Olathe East High School

Olathe (KS)

The Magic of Magnets

Olathe North High School

Olathe (KS)

Makes Sense

Merriam Park Elementary

Shawnee Mission (KS)

Journey to the Abyss

Tonganoxie High School

Tonganoxie (KS)

City of Lights

The Barstow School

Private (MO)

Mission: Cosmos

John Paul II

Private (KS)

Power of the Swarm: From Nature to Robots

Eudora High School

Eudora (KS)

Living the Green Dream

Summit Technology Academy

Lee's Summit (MO)

Science Stadium

Lee's Summit High School

Lee's Summit (MO)

Perfect Timing

Hawthorn Hill Elementary

Lee's Summit (MO)

Mesozoic Mayhem

Alexander Doniphan Elementary

Liberty (MO)

Math Mania

Liberty North High School

Liberty (MO)

Full STEAM Ahead

Alexander Doniphan Elementary

Liberty (MO)

Captivating Chemistry

Ridgeview Elementary

Liberty (MO)

Cranium Craze

Northland Innovation Center/

SAGE Center

North Kansas City (MO)

Colorful Science

Each top 20 finalist team is guaranteed to win a piece of $155,000 in grant money to use toward STEM education. The grand prize-winning team will receive a $50,000 grant, along with the opportunity to work alongside Burns & McDonnell and Science City STEM professionals to transform the winning idea into a $1 million permanent exhibit at Science City.

This year, participation in Battle of the Brains hit a record level:

7,000 students

250 schools

820 submissions

55 school districts

“Participation rose nearly 60 percent since the last competition,” Kowalik says. “Our goal is to continue the momentum and keep that STEM spark burning.”

Judges, comprised of STEM professionals from Burns & McDonnell and Science City, followed a stringent evaluation process to rank entries according to specific criteria, ranging from creativity and inspiration to how interactive and engaging the exhibit could be with visitors.  

The public weighs in for the final round of the judging process beginning Friday, Nov. 17. Everyone is invited to vote for their favorite entry by going to www.BOTBKC.com. There were more than 70,000 votes cast during the last competition. Online voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 24, 2017.

For photos and support materials, please visit our MEDIA KIT.

About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,700 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100 percent employee-owned and is proud to be No. 16 on FORTUNE's 2017 list of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit burnsmcd.com.

About Science City, Kansas City's Science Center

Internationally awarded for “Visitor Experience” by ASTC and named one of the country's TOP 25 science centers, Science City annually educates and entertains hundreds of thousands of science-thirsty children of all ages.  Kansas City's Science Center — opened in 1999 — is THE place for inquisitive young minds to create, explore, and experiment with the BIG world of science through hands-on learning and non-stop fun. Featuring over 200 interactive exhibits and host to countless STEM-based events — including the annual Greater Kansas City Science & Engineering Fair — Science City leads the region in recognition from educators, parents, caregivers AND children alike.

Kristi Widmar, Burns & McDonnell
[email protected]; 551-208-5922
Michael Tritt, Union Station
[email protected], 816-460-2278

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SOURCE Burns & McDonnell

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Maria Burns

Maria Burns

Maria is a Viral News Editor who graduated from the University Of California. She likes social media trends, being semi-healthy, Buffalo Wild Wings and vodka with lime. When she isn’t writing, Maria loves to travel. She last went to Thailand to play with elephants and is planning a trip to Bali.
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