Proto St. Lo Travels to Michigan for Great Lakes Aquahacking Challenge

St. Lawrence students Merrick Marshall and Alejandro Poirier Corcuera travelled to Michigan in March to take part in the Great Lakes Aquahacking Challenge. The duo, who were representing the Science and Technology club Proto-StLo, were invited to the Lakemore resort in Traverse City for the 3-day expedition that kicked off Phase 2 of the Hackathon.

The hackathon is hosted by AquaAction, a charity with the mission of restoring freshwater health in North America. AquaAction’s hackathons have the aim of fostering a new generation of innovators in the water remediation sector. The hackathon lasts from November to May, with teams working to solve a water issue affecting the Great Lakes: lead, PFAS, microplastics, or nutrient cycling management. Participants are encouraged to translate scientific research into solutions that have a real-world impact.

Proto-StLo is tackling lead contamination by developing an algal filtration technology. Phase 1 was used to ideate and research, culminating in a 5-minute pitch of the team’s research and how it would translate into a tangible solution. Merrick and Alejandro’s pitch was a success, leading to their invitation to the Michigan expedition. Proto-StLo’s success thus far is made even more remarkable by the fact that most other participants are representing universities.

The expedition was held at Lakemore resort, where the 10 finalist teams participated in workshops on business development in the water sector, pitching, and issues contributing to the water crisis. Now in Phase 2, the group is working to develop a market-ready solution to lead contamination. The group will be returning to Michigan on May 10th for the final pitch event.

Congratulations to Merrick and Alejandro and good luck at your final pitch!

You can learn more about the event at