If given the opportunity to improve your community, what innovations would you dream up? That’s exactly the mission of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest.

On Wednesday, April 26, the final Samsung Solve for Tomorrow 2017 national winners were honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.  The contest challenged high school students to create solutions for real world problems within their local communities using STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).  “It’s truly inspirational. I’m deeply inspired by our students’ desire to help other people. They are the future of our society,” said Gregory Lee, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics North America, who personally awarded the winning students.

Students from the 10 national finalist schools in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest celebrate while in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 26.

Students from the 10 national finalist schools in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest celebrate while in Washington, DC on Wednesday, April 26.

Students from the 10 national finalist schools in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest took the stage to pitch their STEAM-driven projects to a panel of judges at the National Union Building in Washington, D.C.  From creating a vending machine that supplies free hygiene products to the homeless, to creating a robotic car seat that can detect if a child was left in a hot car, these remarkable young students united together to develop tangible solutions for their communities, which have the potential to benefit communities around the world.  “This is much bigger than us. We wanted to be able to help our communities,” said Gabriella F., a student at The Secondary School of Journalism and a Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest finalist.

As part of our Samsung’s commitment to advancing education and encouraging the next generation of innovators, Samsung hosts the Solve for Tomorrow Contest each school year to challenge 6th through 12th graders to solve an issue in their community using STEAM. Throughout the contest, Samsung recognizes the top projects on a local and national level, and awards more than $2 million* in technology to public schools nationwide.

“Our hope for Solve for Tomorrow is to instill confidence in today’s youth and give them the tools to imagine and pursue a career in STEAM, and ultimately, take an active role in improving the world,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “I’m in awe of the brilliant students, their boundless creativity and their visionary projects that foster a future of innovation, community and positive change.”

After advancing through multiple stages of the contest, the final three 2017 national winners are:

  • Snowflake Junior High School from Snowflake, Ariz. – Created a low-cost wildlife detection system to alert drivers of animals crossing the road and mitigate accidents.
  • Gering High School from Gering, Neb. – Developed a drone-powered spraying system to target weeds and use fewer chemicals on crops.
  • The Secondary School for Journalism from Brooklyn, N.Y. – Created an app that helps fellow students in need get an after-school meal from local restaurants that might have otherwise gone to waste.

Samsung also recognized Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-9), Congressman Will Hurd (R-TX-23) and Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) – all champions of STEAM education in K-12 schools nationwide and encouraging students to pursue careers in STEAM.  Students were also able to meet with their local representatives.  “Samsung really sees the need for STEAM, they see the need for innovation, and they see the need for young people to become interested in technological fields,” said Congressman Adrian Smith (R-NE).

All three schools won $150,000* in technology products, as well as a $20,000 charity donation to their local NGO of choice – the Phoenix Herpetological Society, University of Nebraska Panhandle Research & Extension Center and WhyHunger, respectively. In addition to being named a national winner in the contest, Snowflake Junior High School was also named the community choice winner for receiving the most votes on social media, winning an additional $20,000* in technology and an additional $15,000 donation to The Phoenix Herpetological Society.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest reaches thousands of public school students every year, thanks in large part to the dedicated teachers and school administrators that are committed to hands-on learning and real-world application. For more information about the contest and this year’s national winners, please visit Samsung.com/solve.

*Estimated Retail Value