Casco Bay High School science teacher Anne Loughlin and her engineering students are among the grand prize winners in this year’s Autodesk Make It Real Challenge 2020, an engineering competition. The win means CBHS will receive more than $10,000 in makerspace tools for its DIY lab.

“I am so proud of Ms. Loughlin and our engineering students for their creative and provocative solutions for addressing knotty, vital tech and social justice challenges,” said CBHS Principal Derek Pierce. “Hooray for Anne and her students!”

In the contest’s Make Justice challenge, Loughlin led her students in researching issues of poverty, disaster relief, and affordable housing, according to the company’s blog post on the winners.

Designs like an emergency shelter made from shipping containers had personal meaning for students whose families had emigrated as refugees.

Loughlin encouraged students to design for the context of their oceanside community — resulting in innovative ideas such as a tidally influenced generator, an affordable housing design, a portable, solar-powered heater for the homeless population, and a caddy for collecting gray water.

“I think as much as possible, [the students] tended to think about their projects in the context of our community, Portland, and what they have seen and experienced. Our school serves a large immigrant community,” said Loughlin, whose students include refugees fleeing violence and persecution. “Issues of poverty are part of daily life for many of my students. This also provides a personal perspective on the needs of the user.”

Loughlin has been teaching science in Portland Schools since 1991. Ms. Loughlin earned recognition as one of the nation’s top teachers by winning the prestigious Miliken Award in 2003. Loughlin created CBHS’ Digital Fabrication lab and teaches engineering, STEM investigations and AP environmental science.

Pictured are a tidally influenced generator, an emergency shelter made from shipping containers, and an affordable housing design with a portable, solar-powered heater for the homeless population.