Years Running


ME Student Participants


Internship Value


Cost to Students

What is the Windstorm Challenge?

The Matthew R. Simmons Windstorm Challenge, hosted by the University of Maine at the Harold Alfond W2 Ocean Engineering Laboratory, is the ASCC’s investment in Maine’s next generation of innovators, engineers, and clean energy champions. This annual STEM carnival invites student teams to engage in a hands-on experience that combines engineering, innovation, and a commitment to sustainable energy solutions.

STEM Carnival

In conjunction with the Windstorm Challenge, the Advanced Structures and Composites Center hosts a STEM Carnival, providing students with a full and free day of hands-on engineering fun alongside UMaine’s black bear engineers. The event showcases the practical applications of STEM principles, offering an engaging experience for participants.

Event Structure:

The challenge tasks teams of students with designing and constructing a floating platform for a scale model wind turbine. Teams present their creations to a panel of expert judges, showcasing their engineering prowess and problem-solving skills. The competition is tailored for both middle and high school students, with an emphasis on fostering a diverse range of experiences.

Highschool Teams:

Comprising four or fewer students, high school teams vie for the opportunity to secure internships at UMaine’s Advanced Structures & Composites Center. The top qualifying team is offered an internship valued at more than $60,000, contingent upon their enrollment at the university.

Middle School Teams:

Teams of up to 10 middle school students participate in the challenge, testing their floating platforms. While not eligible for the internship award, winning middle school teams receive an alternative recognition. The competition encourages a collaborative and inclusive atmosphere, engaging students at an early age in the exciting world of engineering.


To Register, please email Taylor.Ward@maine.edu

May 10, 2024

University of Maine | Orono


Windstorm Guidebook ’24

Matthew R. Simmons (1943 – 2010)

Matthew R. Simmons Acknowledgement

Matthew R. Simmons was the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of Simmons & Company International, a global leader in providing research, investment banking, and financial advisory services to the energy sector. Matt was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and raised his family in Houston, Texas. He had a home in MidCoast Maine and he and his wife, Ellen, became active members of the MidCoast community. In 2005 his book ‘Twilight in the Desert: The Coming Saudi Oil Shock and the World Economy’ questioned the sustainability of current levels of Middle East Oil production. It was an international bestseller. In 2007 Matt established the Ocean Energy Institute, with the vision to make Maine a leader in offshore wind. The Ocean Energy Institute aimed to replace the world’s fossil fuel reserves with energy from the ocean. His life’s work and vision for Maine’s offshore wind continue posthumously.

UMS Photo Release Agreement

We ask that all participants have a signed photo release form prior to the Windstorm Storm Challenge.

The Windstorm Challenge Micro-Credential:

The Windstorm Challenge micro-credential is designed to verify skills acquired through participation in the Windstorm Challenge. This micro-credential is a series of digital badges attesting to the student’s proficiency in engineering design, collaboration, and creative problem-solving—core competencies emphasized in the competition. By earning this micro-credential, students gain recognition for their hands-on experience and practical application of STEM principles in a real-world context.

Micro-Credentials Overview:

Micro-credentials are digital badges that encapsulate a student’s learning and skill development, offering a portable and shareable record for schools and future employers. Issued by the University of Maine System, these credentials are personalized and private, allowing students to selectively share their accomplishments. This initiative aligns with UMS’s broader effort to showcase skills through digital credentials, offering students a tangible way to present their capabilities as they pursue higher education or enter the job market.

Uses & Benefits

Students can leverage the Windstorm Challenge micro-credential to showcase their capabilities when applying for higher education opportunities or jobs. The digital format allows for easy sharing with educational institutions and potential employers. This micro-credential serves as a tangible representation of the skills developed during the Windstorm Challenge, offering a competitive edge in academic and professional pursuits.

UMS Photo Release Agreement

We ask that all participants have a signed photo release form prior to the Windstorm Storm Challenge.

Support the Windstorm Challenge

The Matthew R. Simmons Windstorm Challenge at the University of Maine is made possible by the generous support of sponsors who share a commitment to fostering innovation, engineering excellence, and sustainable energy solutions among Maine’s youth. This event stands as a testament to the collaborative efforts of the community in investing in the next generation of engineers and climate solutionists.

100% Free Event, Thanks to Our Sponsors:

The Windstorm Challenge is proud to be a completely free event, made possible by the dedicated contributions of our sponsors. These sponsors play a pivotal role in ensuring that students from diverse backgrounds across Maine can participate in this transformative experience. By offering their support, sponsors actively contribute to the future of Maine’s students and address the challenges posed by the climate crisis.

Sponsors Support Maine Students and the Future of the Climate Crisis:

Our sponsors are instrumental in empowering Maine students to explore the exciting world of engineering and renewable energy. Their commitment extends beyond the event itself; it reaches into classrooms, providing material support, travel assistance, and aiding in curriculum development. By investing in the Windstorm Challenge, sponsors directly contribute to shaping the next generation of engineers and climate-conscious individuals who will play a vital role in addressing the global climate crisis.


May 10, 2024

University of Maine | Orono


2024 Sponsors


Matthew RSimmons Foundation



The City of Old Town, Maine