The 2017 Showcase

What is the Linked Learning Showcase?


Structured as a interactive exposition, the Linked Learning Student Showcase is an annual United Way event where 7 hand-selected student groups from across Los Angeles County exhibited their semester projects for the 2017 Showcase. Guests are able to walk around, mingle, & see and hear how students show their creativity and depth of knowledge around a real world, industry-themed project. Projects may consist of small business plans, healthcare simulations, films, environmental conservation proposals, arts performances, and 3-D video CAD renderings.

The selected projects represent various industry sectors such as energy, environment, and utilities; health science and medical technology; arts, media, and entertainment; and business and finance—just to name a few.  

Presentations demonstrate the transferable job skills students learn at Linked Learning schools that will allow them to succeed in college and career. Companies see what sets Linked Learning schools apart from traditional high schools to better prepare students for their futures. Professionals meet brilliant and imaginative students to learn about their unique educational experiences and provide feedback, ultimately voting on the best-in-show project that evening.

The 2017 Showcase

This year's showcase — sponsored by AIG, PwC and the James Irvine Foundation — took place at the beautiful and inspirational Maker City in Los Angeles. The event kicked off with a keynote from Leslie Lassiter — United Way of Greater Los Angeles Board Member, Managing Director of JP Morgan Private Bank in Los Angeles, and member of the Founding Council of United Way’s Women’s Summit — speaking on the power of education and the need to come together as a community to support education.

The program then followed with the seven student presentation, which were judged by a stellar group of powerhouse business leaders:

  • Nadya Ichinomaya — Director of Information Technology for Sony’s Television Marketing & Research division

  • Claudia Andrade — Community Relations Manager for SoCalGas

  • Amiee Quon — NASA Spacecraft Mechanical Engineer for Jet Propulsion Laboratory

  • Jim White — Vice President, Human Resources for Paramount Pictures

Judged on their presentation and presentation skills, as well as their demonstrated knowledge of their topic, the Extraordinary Project Award went to De’Shawn Paton, Francesca DeCastro, Jonathan Claros, and Gisselle Esparza from Pasadena High School for their project,“The Shark Tank Integrated Project,” an innovative printer that recycles old paper and stops deforestation.

Guests at the event were invited to text in their votes for the AIG Crowd Favorite Award, which was presented by Tina Haley, Vice President of Product Management at AIG. In a clean sweep, the students from Pasadena High School took the prize!

Congratulations to De’Shawn, Francesca, Jonathan, Gisselle and all the teams who participated!

The 7 Student Projects That Shined at the 4th Annual Linked Learning Showcase 


School District
School Site
Project Title
Project Description
Grade Levels
Los Angeles Unified New Media Academy Hollywood High School American Experience Documentary Pitch “American Experience Documentary Pitch” applies historical research and literary analysis to develop the concept for a full-length documentary that tells the story about a congressional initiative to defund Planned Parenthood. New Media Academy’s team of juniors showcase their investigative creativity in the trailer for the future documentary. They pitched to a group of industry professionals and are currently working toward submitting the film to news outlets to increase public awareness and education about the political and religious rhetoric surrounding healthcare rights.  11
Antelope Valley Union LAMPE Academy Lancaster High School Energy is All Around “Energy is All Around” combines art and engineering to create a Rube Goldberg machine that shows five different energy transfers using circuits, gears and thermal energy. The machine was designed by sophomores according to engineering and design principles, in order to engage nearby elementary learners in relevant and real life scenarios with science. 10
Los Angeles Unified School for Visual Arts and Humanities RFK Community Schools Leaving a Legacy “Leaving a Legacy” is grounded in humanities and integrates visual arts and media design, geography, and writing to create a portrait and narrative that conveys the educational journey of a high school senior. Created as a project aiming to connect freshman students with senior mentors, “Leaving a Legacy” was an opportunity for a younger student to interpret a role model’s life and to learn and grow from the experience.  9 & 12
Los Angeles Unified STEM Academy of Hollywood  Bernstein High School Desperately Seeking John Doe “Desperately Seeking Jane Doe” employs investigative strategy, chemistry, forensic anthropology, DNA fingerprinting, English, and filmmaking skills to create one episode of a true crime docu-series in which students use skeletal remains to piece together the compelling story about a missing person. The students answer questions like, “Was Jane Doe a victim of foul play or misfortune?” This sophomore project takes mystery, investigation and forensics to a whole new level! 10
Pasadena Unified Creative Arts, Media and Design Pasadena High School Shark Tank Integrated Project “Shark Tank Integrated Project” is a collaboration between graphic design and visual art students. Similar to the popular show on ABC, students worked in teams to identify a market need for an invention to improve quality of life. Projects were developed through peer feedback along with corporate partner guidance throughout the entire design and presentation process. The project culminated with tenth graders pitching their inventions to experienced business partners. Problem. Solution. Pitch. Repeat!  10
Los Angeles Unified New Media Academy Hollywood High School The Hero Project “The Hero Project” combines language arts, math, computer science, and engineering to create an original multi-level video game called Mortal Defense. New Media Academy ninth graders worked together to create an entertaining game featuring a hero named Black Widow, whose mission is to prevent the villainous Loki from destroying the world. From storytelling and persuasive writing, to coding and even sound, these students showcase skills that are applicable to the trillion-dollar global gaming industry.  9
Centinela Valley Union Technical Art and Design Academy Hawthorne High School When Geometry Meets Fashion “When Geometry Meets Fashion” takes students to the cutting edge of mathematics and style! The students from Hawthorne High School used abstract geometry concepts and skills like precision and symmetry to create an elaborate and avant-garde design fit for the runway. The students produced real-life work in sustainable and socially relevant design. 10