A group of students from Miss Linnette Hill’s Health Sciences class at Evanston Township High School was featured Thursday at the Fourth Annual STEM Challenge Student Showcase at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

The event, sponsored by the Illinois Science and Technology Institute, matched science students from some of the area’s leading high schools with innovative companies in the area to help identify and solve major challenges facing today’s society.

STEM is shorthand for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

The ETHS students were mentored by Deerfield-based Takeda Pharmaceuticals to help develop solutions for patients in the areas of diabetes or depression.

The ETHS group took on the problem of helping teens with indications of depression to seek professional help before their depression becomes a major problem that could ultimately lead to teen suicide.

One of several signs distributed throughout the school to help identify students with depression.

Their solution was to distribute signs throughout the school that would encourage students who felt depressed to seek professional help that was available to them at the school.

A group of 12 students met regularly over the last several months with their industry mentors to identify problems associated with depression and to come up with workable solutions.

Other schools featured at the Showcase addressed other problems, many of them associated with energy efficiency and environmental issues.

Diverse groups, working collaboratively on societal issues, represents a significant part of public education today. The technique works particularly well in communities like Evanston, experts say, because of the diverse nature of its residents.

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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