Samsung Offers $3 Million to U.S. Public Schools Who Use STEM to “Solve for Tomorrow”
For the 10th consecutive year, Samsung today launched the annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest, which challenges 6th – 12th grade public school students and teachers to use STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) to address issues in their communities. The 2019-2020 contest kicked off this morning at an event featuring U.S. Chief Technology Officer Michael Kratsios, members of Congress, local education leaders and past Samsung Solve for Tomorrow participants where they discussed the role of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education in the nation today. Public school teachers can apply for this year’s program now through October 23, 2019.
“The issues communities face today look a little different than when we first launched the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest 10 years ago, but year after year, students and teachers rose to the challenge, tackling complex issues from climate change and disaster recovery, to the opioid crisis and school safety,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “As we celebrate this 10-year milestone, we reflect on how Solve for Tomorrow has transformed from an environment-focused contest into a project-based learning initiative that fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving among thousands of students across the country. We look forward to seeing how students will continue to meet the emerging challenges of a new decade.”
The kick-off event featured a keynote address from Kratsios, who discussed the country’s vision for STEM education in America and preparing the STEM workforce of the future. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Deb Fischer (R-NE) as well as Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (D-NJ-11) and Congressman Ralph Norman (R-SC-5) also participated in a panel discussion at the event focused on how to further spark interest in STEM education and current STEM initiatives within key states.
“It was great to join Senator Rosen and Samsung leadership for a bipartisan conversation on the importance of STEM education in this country. With programs like the Solve for Tomorrow Contest, we can encourage more students in Nebraska and across the country to take an interest in these subject areas and solve problems in their communities through science and technology,” said Senator Deb Fischer. “I will continue to work across the aisle to expand access to STEM education opportunities that will deliver a brighter future for our children.”
Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill added, “STEM education is critical to building our innovation economy. I have met incredible students from across New Jersey who are ready to tackle some of our greatest challenges based on a strong foundation in STEM. As a member of the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, I am committed to helping our students prepare for the jobs of tomorrow and supporting opportunities for STEM education.”
In celebration of the 10th anniversary, Samsung is increasing the prize pool by $1 million – awarding $3 million* in technology and supplies to classrooms as they advance throughout the contest. Samsung is also increasing the total number of schools awarded and ensuring schools in every state are recognized and receive much needed learning technology for their classrooms. Details of this year’s contest process:
- 300 state finalist schools from the pool of applicants will be awarded a Samsung tablet for their classroom. From there, each teacher will submit an activity plan detailing the program execution.
- 100 state winner schools will advance in the contest and receive $15,000 in technology and supplies as well as a video kit to help showcase their project.
- 20 national finalist schools will be selected to travel to the final event where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, 15 of these schools will be awarded $50,000 in technology and supplies while the remaining five will be named national grand prize winners. Public voting will also determine one Community Choice winner, who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 in Samsung technology.
- Five national grand prize-winning schools will each receive $100,000 in classroom technology and supplies.
While STEM is the core classroom discipline, Solve for Tomorrow fosters skills development that goes far beyond, including: critical thinking, problem solving, agile iteration, civic engagement and team collaboration. Solve for Tomorrow aims to improve student outcomes and advocate for teachers while uniting communities. In addition to the contest, Samsung also offers professional development opportunities for teachers to help them grow their skills and assist in the classroom.
“I believe that problem-based learning has to be the future foundation of the American educational system. Modern technology has placed limitless knowledge and reason at our fingertips,” said John Leistner, Teacher at Ashland Middle School, 2018 National Winner. “It is our challenge as educators to utilize this technology as we transition our students beyond the simple memorization of facts or procedures and teach them how to authentically apply what they’ve learned to solve real-world problems.”
For the past decade, Samsung has provided nearly $15 million in technology and supplies to public schools in the United States. Since the contest’s inception, the number of participating schools has reached nearly 20,000, empowering thousands to positively think about how to impact their local communities with STEM, and representing 20,000 local issues being tackled, ranging from traffic and school safety to access to healthcare and much more.