Wasatch CAPS student-workers describe semester of life experiences

KPCW | By Ben Lasseter

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CAPS students Nicholas Anderson (right) and Duncan Watt present a project for a smart shoe insole product he developed with several classmates to listeners at the CAPS semester showcase.

Wasatch High School CAPS students showed off semester-long projects at a showcase last week. Some of the work on display will be featured in national exhibitions this summer.

About 100 Wasatch high-schoolers presented 45 projects at the Utah Valley University Wasatch Campus CAPS headquarters Thursday.

CAPS stands for Center for Advanced Professional Studies and connects students with professional opportunities through local businesses and industry mentors. This semester, students worked in tech labs, headed up marketing campaigns and sold plants they grew for scholarships funds. Aside from daily responsibilities, they learned to advocate on behalf of their work through real-world negotiations, sales pitches and presentations.

Brooklyn Letzelter, a junior, just wrapped up working with the research and development team at the Kodiak Cakes factory in Park City. During the previous semester, she carried out a mental health awareness campaign with Purple Sky Counseling in Heber City.

“It’s definitely made an impact on my life,” she said. “Because right now, I’m 17 — I don’t know what I want to do for the rest of my life. So, why not explore it? I’m definitely interested in food science and development now.”

Her responsibilities included testing pancake mix and other products to develop new recipes that she said will hit store shelves in Target this July. That involved finding balances between plant-based protein content, taste and shelf life.

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Students and visitors discuss semester projects in the UVU Wasatch CAPS center.


Across the hall during the showcase, Eli Nokes and Rosalyn Giese showed how they helped Soldier Hollow Nordic Center market events like the International Youth and Junior Biathlon Championships.

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Spencer Ailshie (left) and Zack Jorgensen stand with their design for a grain drill.


Spencer Ailshie and Zack Jorgensen displayed a 3D rendering of an industrial tractor attachment they designed. They said student welders would build the final product, a grain drill valued at about $10,000, for a local farmer.

Meanwhile, the IDEAL Farms program reported raising $15,000 in scholarship money for seven students in its first year. To do that, students harvested trees, plants and crops, and sold them to local businesses and customers at the farmer’s market.

Seniors Derek Colon and Nicholas Anderson presented a prototype for a smart-technology shoe insole. It senses bone structures to help people overcome foot and leg injuries, and they’re working on manufacturing it to fit into regular shoes.

Colon and Anderson, along with several other students, won three statewide engineering and technology competitions for their design. In their pitch, they argued the product, named the “Right 25,” could prevent people from needing surgeries that cost $30,000 to $45,000. They said they hoped to one day sell the technology to insurance companies.

“I think the end-goal is to try to treat it like crutches,” Anderson said. “If you break your leg, you get a pair of crutches so you can move around. And when you go to physical therapy, you get one of our products to help you heal faster.”

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Derek Colon (left) and Nicholas Anderson hold their Right 25 prototype, a smart insole designed to help with foot rehab.


After winning state competitions, they had to choose between attending two national invitations for the same weekend in June. They chose to take their product to the Future Health Professionals Leadership Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, where they will congregate with other young innovators from around the world.

For more on the CAPS program at Wasatch High School, visit wasatchcaps.org.