Solve for Tomorrow: The Next Generator of Innovators
Proudly continuing in Samsung’s tradition, ten teams of students from public schools convened from across the country on Capitol Hill yesterday to meet with Members of Congress — among notable tech leaders — and present their award-winning inventions that seek to improve their local communities and solve problems unique to their respective states.
Now in its seventh year, our annual awards ceremony for Solve for Tomorrow continues to inspire youth and adults alike. We began this nationwide competition to challenge students to solve tough problems facing their communities with a creative application of STEAM principles and tech — and, every year, we find that it is not so much that we inspire the students, but that they rise to the challenge and inspire us.
As one of the largest tech companies in the world, composed of a diverse set of scientists, engineers and designers, we know the importance of supporting kids in their quest for brighter futures. Our company may be known for innovative products, but the heart of such innovations lie in the minds and hearts of the next generation — and, that is why we created Solve for Tomorrow, which awards $2 million in Samsung technology to a pool of State Winners (representing all 50 states and Washington, D.C.), the 15 National Finalists, and ultimately, three National Winners and a public-vote Community Choice awardee.
Over the course of seven years, we’ve seen tens of thousands of applications. Needless to say, the projects we’ve seen are at a minimum, inspiring — not simply in the way they reflect the students’ collaboration with their teachers, schools and neighbors to address a community problem, but also in the incredible level of creative and critical thinking applied to develop simple, cost-effective solutions for what can potentially be a large-scale issue.
Last year alone, Solve for Tomorrow’s Grand Prize winners brought us a fully-functional EV solar charging station that requires no fossil fuel, a safety alert system for a crime-ridden public hiking trail, accessibility furniture for their disabled classmates, and cost-effective prosthetic limbs for local wounded veterans.
The three 2017 National Winners joined the ranks of the next generation of innovators we’ve seen in years past, and to no surprise, unveiling new ways of solving the old problems their diverse communities face:
Snowflake Junior High School in Snowflake, Ariz.
As 150 people die each year in car accidents due to wildlife collisions, students at Snowflake Junior High School have created a detection system to alert oncoming traffic that an animal is nearby. With this device, students hope to lower the amount of human fatalities and preserve the community’s wildlife. Students at Snowflake Junior High School have won a donation for the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
Samsung also named Snowflake Junior High School as this year’s Community Choice winner, for securing the most public votes on social media. As the Community Choice Winner, students have won an additional $20,000* in technology for their school as well as an additional $15,000 donation for the Phoenix Herpetological Society.
Gering High School in Gering, Neb.
Students in the small farming community of Gering, Neb. noticed that there seemed to be an overabundant use of herbicides and pesticides on crops. With a growing concern for a safe water and food supply, an electronics class from Gering High School designed and built a drone-powered spraying system to precisely target weeds and eliminate the need to blanket spray large fields. Students at Gering High School have won a donation for the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research & Extension Center.
The Secondary School for Journalism in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Students at Secondary School for Journalism identified an important issue facing their community — 1 out of 4 kids go to sleep hungry every night. At the Secondary School for Journalism, 78 percent of the school receives free lunch, and for some students, that may be the only meal they have all day. To ensure their fellow students don’t go hungry, they created an app that curates a network of local schools and restaurants that will donate free dinner that might otherwise have gone to waste. Students at The Secondary School for Journalism have won a donation for WhyHunger.
We were so proud to announce and honor these national winners at our awards ceremony at the Eastern Market North Hall in Washington, D.C. yesterday. In addition, Samsung recognized the contest’s other seven national finalists for their creative work to develop solutions for their respective local communities, and we truly believe that all of our national finalists were winners. As our company is founded on shaping the future for consumer technology, we are very proud to spark student interest in STEAM and the resulting improvements in their communities through Solve for Tomorrow. Moreover, we hope it will encourage the next generation of technologists to continue dreaming up solutions today that will effectively address tomorrow’s challenges.