KANSAS CITY, MO--(Marketwired - Nov 6, 2015) -  Judges surprised 20 student teams in the Kansas City metro area to reveal they were finalists in the third Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition. A record number 5,300 students representing 520 school teams entered the challenge, which is one of the nation's most robust STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) competitions. The students are vying for thousands of dollars in grant money and the ultimate prize of having their proposals transformed into the next million dollar exhibit at Science City.

"When we surprised the teachers and students with celebration kits and told them they were Battle of the Brains finalists, they went wild! They were cheering and crying and hugging each other. It was amazing!" says Julee Koncak, director of the Burns & McDonnell Foundation. "In just a matter of days, one of these teams will learn they will be chosen to work alongside our professionals at Burns & McDonnell to make their STEM exhibit idea come to life at one of the nation's most popular science centers."

From Nov. 7 to Nov. 14, the public is invited to review each of the finalists' exhibit submissions and vote for their favorite at www.botbkc.com. The public vote will count for 30 percent of the final selection.

"This will be the fourth student-inspired STEM exhibit at Science City, but the first one to ever be featured outside," says George Guastello, president and CEO at Union Station, who announced earlier this year that Union Station is undergoing a $7.5 million expansion that will feature a premier outdoor science center. "The winning exhibit from Battle of the Brains will be a key feature of the expansion project and may influence future design plans of the special space planned outside Science City."

At 10 a.m. on Nov. 18, the 20 finalist school teams, along with their families and friends, will gather for an awards-style event at Union Station to find out which team will receive the honor of having their proposed exhibit be part of Science City history. In addition, Burns & McDonnell will distribute $155,000 in grant money among the winning teams, with the first place elementary and secondary schools garnering $50,000 each.

Judges selected these 20 schools as finalists in the Burns & McDonnell Battle of the Brains competition:

Title of Exhibit:   School District:   School Name:
Ants Enlarged: Learning from Ants   North Kansas City   Bell Prairie Elementary-SAGE Program
Camp STEM...Science, S'mores and More   Shawnee Mission   Rosehill Elementary
How it Works: Backyard Science   Blue Valley   Stilwell Elementary School
It's All in Your Head   Lee's Summit   Longview Farm Elementary
Let's Get Ready to Rumble   Blue Springs   Cordill Mason Elementary
Mission to Saturn   Olathe   Green Springs Elementary
Not-So-Simple Simple Machines Playground   Lee's Summit   Mason Elementary
Road Ready:  The Science of Bridges & Byways   Bonner Springs   Bonner Springs Elementary, Delaware Ridge Elementary, Edwardsville Elementary
Survive!   Blue Valley   Valley Park Elementary
Uniquely Kansas City   Shawnee Mission   Highlands Elementary
A Bug's Eye View   Pleasant Hill   Pleasant Hill Middle School
Cultivating the City   Easton   Pleasant Ridge High School
Electri-City   Belton   Belton High School
Every Which Wave   Olathe   Olathe North High School
Know Your Enemy   Blue Valley   Oxford Middle School
Liftoff! KC   Gardner Edgerton   Gardner Edgerton High School
Living in a Material World   Olathe   Olathe Northwest High School
Nature's Fault   Lee's Summit   Summit Technology Academy
Newton's Playground   Pleasant Hill   Pleasant Hill Middle School
Simple Six   Drexel   Drexel High School

About Burns & McDonnell
Burns & McDonnell is a company made up of more than 5,300 engineers, architects, construction professionals, scientists, consultants and entrepreneurs with offices across the country and throughout the world. We strive to create amazing success for our clients and amazing careers for our employee-owners. Burns & McDonnell is 100% employee-owned and is proud to be No. 15 on FORTUNE's 2015 List of 100 Best Companies to Work For. For more information, visit burnsmcd.com

Contact Information:

Kristi Widmar
Burns & McDonnell

Michael Tritt
Union Station