Samsung Unveils National Winners in $2 Million STEM Competition for Innovations that Address Urban Sustainability, Social Justice and Isolation-Induced Depression amid COVID-19
Schools in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas recognized for tackling pressing issues in 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest
Samsung Electronics America, Inc. announced today the three grand prize National Winners in the 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest – a $2 million* national competition that challenges public school students in grades 6-12 to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to address real-world change in their communities. Revealed during a livestream virtual celebration event, each National Winner school will receive $130,000 in technology and supplies to meet the needs of their classrooms.
Three National Winners were selected following a virtual pitch event where students presented their STEM projects to a panel of judges. From urban sustainability to social justice and isolation-induced depression from COVID-19, each National Winner used problem-based learning to respond to an issue of national importance impacting their local communities. Throughout the academic school year – while learning in virtual and hybrid environments – students and teachers forged new pathways using creativity and innovation to create their STEM solutions.
“We are in awe of the resilient, bright young minds who remained nimble despite a challenging school year. Met with virtual and hybrid learning environments, their ability to empathetically approach three of the most critical issues facing our society and each transform an idea into a STEM innovation is nothing short of incredible,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America. “Tackling social justice, the pandemic and health of our planet, these are the problem-solvers and changemakers who build hope for our future.”
The three National Winners in the 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest and their grand prize-winning STEM innovations are:
Hope of Detroit Academy – Detroit, Michigan
The student’s local community in southwest Detroit faces excessive amounts of garbage, used tires left in open spaces and unsecured abandoned homes. In Detroit, a significant percentage of housing parcels in the city are vacant, and abandoned lots are prevalent throughout residential areas. The students created an app – the Green Warrior – that tracks these sites and reports them to local community organizations that help lead clean-up efforts. For example, Green Tree Plastics will help collect plastic from abandoned sites and convert it into park benches, and Cass Community Social Services will help pick up and recycle tires.
View Hope of Detroit Academy’s project video here:
Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy – Erie, Pennsylvania
After witnessing recent events locally and nationally where people were challenged while advocating for social justice, the students recognize that many people fear encounters with law enforcement during protests, rallies or traffic stops. Wanting to be allies and protect the civil rights of people using their voice in potentially threatening situations, the students created a voice-activated mobile app that turns the phone into a body camera or dashcam to record the events and interactions.
In addition to being named a National Winner, Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy has also been named the Samsung Employee Choice Award Winner, winning an additional $15,000.
View Northwest Pennsylvania Collegiate Academy’s project video here:
Porter High School – Porter, Texas
As many as one in four elderly individuals report having anxiety or depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and a study by the CDC showed that isolation and loneliness are associated with a 50% increased risk of developing dementia, a 32% increased risk of stroke, and a nearly fourfold increased risk of death among heart failure patients. To combat isolation-induced depression and loneliness, students created an app-website combo, Gen-Bridge, that enables students and others to connect in various ways – including video calls, games and more – with seniors residing in assisted living facilities.
View Porter High School’s project video here:
Students and teachers from each National Winner school have met with local representatives to discuss their respective projects.
In addition to the three National Winners, Tulare Union High School in Tulare, California, and Tucker Middle School in Tucker, Georgia, were named Community Choice Winners for generating the most social media votes for their inventions addressing traffic collisions and human trafficking, respectively. These two schools will each receive an additional $15,000 in technology on top of $65,000 in technology for being named National Finalists in this year’s competition.
The three National Winners, two Community Choice Award Winners and Samsung Employee Choice Award Winner were revealed in a virtual celebration event, which brought together dozens of students and teachers from the 10 National Finalist schools. The event included remarks from Samsung executives and employee mentors as well as Solve for Tomorrow alumni and can be seen here. The event also included a guest appearance by artist and animator, Danny Casale.
Anchored in Samsung’s guiding vision of ‘Together for Tomorrow! Enabling People’, Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 to encourage innovative thinking, creative problem-solving and teamwork to discover and nurture social innovation ideas aimed at resolving society’s most pressing problems. What began as an environment-focused essay contest has transformed into a problem-based learning initiative that fosters critical thinking and creative problem-solving. Since its inception, the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest has awarded $18 million in Samsung technology and classroom materials to more than 2,500 public schools in the United States.