Kerry Ao and Naina Muvva of Signature School in Evansville won first place in the UE High School Changemaker Challenge. (photo provided)

The University of Evansville has awarded substantial scholarships to several Indiana high school students as part of its High School Changemaker Challenge. The challenge, now in its seventh year, is designed to motivate young people to take a leading role in identifying and solving challenges in the world.

The university says the winners, if they choose UE to further their education, will each receive four-year scholarships.

Kerry Ao and Naina Muvva of Signature School in Evansville won first place and are awarded full tuition. They developed an online, interactive simulator used in schools to enhance students’ understanding of finance through portfolios, stocks, and more. It’s called Intertwined Financial Literacy.

Second place goes to Neva Verbik of Avon High School. The prize is valued at $23,000 per year. Verbik created Uptown Gardens, which UE says addresses solutions to the constant issues of pollution and increasingly less space for plants to grow.

Jack Deig of Castle High School in Newburgh came in third with his hydration station. The system provides “easily accessible” water dispensing units placed throughout Evansville for a more hydrated community.  The prize is worth $18,000 per year.

The university says the event included pitches from the top 20 teams who were invited to compete. Six ideas were selected for the championship, in which the top three were chosen.

UE says projects from previous competitions can be found throughout the city of Evansville, including the Upgrade Bike Share stations and the solar-powered CommuniTree at Mickey’s Kingdom Park downtown.

The competition is supported by the UE Center for Innovation and Change. It was sponsored by Toyota Indiana.