05.04.21 / Economic Impact

Generation Innovation: Students Unveil Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM Projects

Talking Points

  • On April 28th, Samsung virtually assembled the 10 National Finalists of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.
  • Three students from each school were allotted ten minutes to present their visionary approach to tackling challenges within their communities by applying STEM thinking.
  • “The students showed great passion in solving incredibly challenging problems. They had the courage to tackle extraordinarily complex social issues using technology. They are bold, fearless, and innovative,”

On April 28th, Samsung virtually assembled the 10 National Finalists of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition. Three students from each school were allotted ten minutes to present their visionary approach to tackling challenges within their communities by applying STEM thinking, showcase their prototypes, and participate in a quickfire Q&A session with an esteemed panel of judges.

Now in its 11th year, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a national 6th-12th grade public school classroom competition that’s challenging young minds to create empathetic, real-world solutions for salient societal issues. Much like many initiatives during the pandemic, the 2020-2021 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition transitioned to fully remote. Samsung programmed engaging digital workshops in parallel to the competition for teachers and students, offering Teacher to Teacher Mentorship Panels, a Virtual Escape Room Team-Building Experience, and a Samsung PowerUp Series spanning wellness and gaming, among other topics. And, for the first time ever, the virtual Final Pitch event was livestreamed and open to the public, including family, fellow educators and classmates, and community members.

Science has always been something I’ve been extremely passionate about, but this competition has really opened my eyes as to the real-world context and possibilities of STEM.

Kayla Tucker Middle School (Tucker, GA)

The 10 National Finalist projects in this year’s competition boldly addressed some of the most critical social problems, including several COVID-19-related matters; social justice and accountability; school safety and violence prevention; hunger and food insecurity; urban sustainability; accessibility for the visually impaired; and mental wellbeing for senior isolation. To bring their projects to life, hundreds of students across the country worked tirelessly behind the scenes with their teachers, community leaders, Solve for Tomorrow alumni guides, and Samsung employee mentors to build prototypes, learn to code, create mobile apps, develop efficient UX designs, and beyond. What’s more is that while these students were completing their projects, they were also in the midst of a challenging school year, navigating virtual, hybrid or in-person instruction.

“While the pandemic created extraordinary challenges for middle and high school learning, we’re deeply moved and encouraged by the resiliency and cutting-edge creativity of the students and teachers who chose to compete – and compete BIG – in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow STEM competition,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “The National Finalists approached the issues we face as a society head-on, and I’m blown away by the forward-thinking solutions presented.”

2020-21 Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Pitch Event

Participating students and teachers, as well as the judges, sounded off on their experience thus far in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition:

The students –

  • Kayla, Tucker Middle School (Tucker, GA): “Science has always been something I’ve been extremely passionate about, but this competition has really opened my eyes as to the real-world context and possibilities of STEM.”
  • Sahil, Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy (Erie, PA): “I’ve never tried to use STEM to solve a problem before. Since the competition began, my brain now automatically turns to STEM when I encounter a challenge. It allows me to think about different ways to approach and resolve it.”
  • Drake, Richland Two Institute of Innovation (Columbia, SC): “The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow project has meant everything to our school. Over the past few months, we put a lot of work into it and to see the results has really been amazing. We also get to show incoming students what we’ve accomplished and inspire them to explore their STEM potential.”
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The teachers –

  • Nathan Williams, Tucker Middle School (Tucker, GA): “Samsung Solve for Tomorrow has been incredible. This contest made me ask, ‘Why not us? Why can’t we solve this problem that has yet to be solved?’ And as we got further along in the competition, we started to believe in ourselves more and the difference we can make.”
  • Myesha Wallace, Jackson Public Schools Career Development Center (Jackson, MI): “This year has been so hard for my students. And to see them overcome and get this far… It’s life-changing. And it’s the opportunity that they don’t always get. We entered the competition to put more technology in all our classrooms, not just our classroom. STEM will help ensure these kids can have a bright future.”

The judges –

  • Gary Xu, Vice President of Research at Samsung Research America: “I’m impressed with how well the students prepared for the pitch presentations and the projects they worked on. They showed great passion in solving incredibly challenging problems. Many of them had the courage to tackle extraordinarily complex social issues using technology. These young people are bold, fearless, and innovative. They represent the next generation superbly and the hope of this country.”
  • Janelle Lin, Senior Vice President of Business Development at DonorsChoose: “If these students are any indication of all U.S. students, I’m extremely impressed and hopeful. I look forward to seeing what they do when they embark on their careers. I can see a lot of huge innovations and positive change come from just this group of students alone.”

Each of the 10 National Finalists has already received $65,000* in Samsung technology and classroom supplies. Three Grand Prize Winners will ultimately take home $130,000* each in Samsung technology and classroom supplies. And the general public will get to elect two Community Choice Winners from the pool of National Finalists, who receive $15,000* for their school. Tune in on May 18th at 6:00 p.m. EDT to find out which of the 10 National Finalists will become the winners of the 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition.

*Prize is based on an estimated retail value. | Not open to the general public: No purchase necessary to enter or win. Open to employees at eligible schools in the fifty (50) United States/DC twenty-one (21) years of age or older. To enter/official rules: visit www.Samsung.com/Solve to complete the application form. | The school is responsible for ensuring the proper handling and security of all data potentially shared and/or collected as part of their project. Samsung takes privacy very seriously and encourages all Semi-Finalists to consider how information that is part of their project is being handled. | The school is responsible for ensuring safety, security, bias and privacy matters related to artificial intelligence (AI) as part of their project. Samsung takes privacy very seriously and encourages all Semi-Finalists to consider all safety precautions related to their projects throughout development.

 

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