2018 Solve for Tomorrow National Finalists: Driven to Make a Difference

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is in its 8th year and has selected 10 national finalist teams from middle schools and high schools across the country that developed original ideas — using science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) skills — for solving a challenge in their community.

As national finalists, each of the 10 teams have already won $50,000 in Samsung technology for their school and will now travel to New York City in early April to compete in the final phase of the contest, a pitch event where they will present their prototype to a panel of judges in an effort to win one of three grand prizes: $150,000 in Samsung technology for their school.


Project Description:Developed a device that notifies authorities when a tractor rolls over to ensure a timely emergency response for the farmer in need

On making a difference: “My great uncle and my granddad’s friend both died in [tractor] rollover accidents and my dad works with tractors on our farm so I’m just really excited we made it to the top 10 [Solve for Tomorrow teams],” Braylea P., Middle School Student

“We’re very excited because what we’re making right here has the potential to save lives and I think that’s super important,” – Ian H., Middle School Student

Read more about how students from Lee County Middle School Campus West invented a device to keep farmers in their community safe.

Project Description: Created virtual reality app that empowers educators and families to help students with Autism develop classroom social skills

On making a difference: “I got bullied many times when I was younger because I just couldn’t understand how to express myself correctly and as I grew up it just got easier with help from my teachers, from my friends, from my family and this project means so much to me because it really can help [those with autism develop their social skills]. I really do believe we can make a difference.” – Leanna I., High School Senior

Read more on how Kent Career Tech Center students developed a virtual reality app to benefit their classmates with autism.

Project Description: Constructed energy-efficient window shades to heat and cool their school which lacks an AC system

On making a difference:“Being a national finalist can help us develop the project more and be able to implement it more into our school and community and further our engineering skills for the future and college.” – Curtis K., High School Senior

Read more about how the Omro Wisconsin team built a passive ccooling solution for their school.

Project Description: Developed software and sensors for football helmets to quickly and more accurately identify potential concussions

On making a difference: “The kids were really passionate about the project because their friend experienced a severe concussion earlier this year and it affected them on a very personal level. The experience drove them to come up with a solution so that all kids have the chance to get properly diagnosed for a concussion.” – Jonathan Harvey, Teacher

Read more on why Cavallini Middle School football players wanted to invent a STEAM solution to keep students safe while playing sports.

Project Description: Developed a rooftop hatch with an integrated SOS alert that allows residents to safely escape through the attic and signal rescuers during hurricane floods

On making a difference: “I think that all families deserve the gift of life and not die because of something [like a natural disaster] they had no part in creating.” – Ondreka M., Middle School Student

Read more on Clear Creek Middle School students’ solution for saving lives.


Project Description: Created a filtration system for home appliances to help purify the community water supply that is polluted with micro plastics

On making a difference: “Here in Nebraska fishing and agriculture is a way of life for many. Therefore, finding ways to limit the pollutants that we add back into the water supply is very important here at home. Beyond a local view this affects all of us globally.” — Adam M., High School Senior

Read more on how Gering High School’s Solve for Tomorrow win last year fueled interest in STEM learning.


Project Description: Constructed an app-based outdoor home fire extinguishing sprinkler system to contain wildfires and help save lives and homes

On making a difference: “We were hit close to home by the devastation of wildfires. To see firsthand the horrors through ourselves and others allows for the reality and grimness of the problem to settle in tenfold.” — Manbir S., High School Senior

Read more on how the Santiago High team overcame resource challenges to build their app-based fire suppression system.


Project Description: Developed a water filtration system that will remove elevated levels of manganese found in the local water supply

On making a difference: “We feel that we could use STEAM knowledge and skills to solve the real problem in our community. We want our community to have the safe water to drink and use.” – David Xue, High School Senior

Read more on how the Noble High team found a more cost-effective solution to improve their community’s water supply.


Project Description: Built a water sensor and barrier system that deploys when flash floods make roads unsafe.

On making a difference: “According to our Fire Department our county has more flash flood areas than we have barricades for, so as a community we are in desperate need of a technology solution these students created and have now seen first-hand how their purposeful and well-planned idea could possibly save a life.” – Mark Schnably, Teacher

Read more on how the Thomas Jefferson team won much needed technology for their school.


Project Description: Created a device that allows first responders to safely collect hazardous needles left behind by opioid and other drug users

On making a difference: “To be in nationals – the top 10 – it doesn’t just represent Ashland Middle School, and it represents Kentucky, but it doesn’t just represent them, it represent Appalachia as a whole because we’re often sterotyped to be uneducated, unhealthy and drug addicts and it means a lot for us so our generation can overcome those stereotypes and that we can work and make our community a better place,” –Aubree H., Middle School Student

Read more on how the Ashland team took their Solve for Tomorrow project to the state capital.

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