HOUSTON--(Spirit of Innovation Challenge to encourage students to create technologies and products that solve global issues. For the past four years, the innovation competition helped transform the way science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) is embraced by high school students.)--Today, Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation, launched the 2011-2012
“Using a network of world-renowned scientists, engineers, academics and business leaders, the competition connects teams with mentors to assist in making their ideas a reality”
“If we are to ignite passion for STEM education, we must embrace an academic plan to focus on the relevance of the knowledge we share with our students,” Conrad said. “Memorizing facts to pass a test just won’t do the job. The hallmark of America’s culture is innovation and entrepreneurship. It’s how we got to the moon. It’s how companies like Apple, Facebook and Google were formed. It is how our country will continue to explore the universe, discover cures for disease and become good stewards of the world we share with our global neighbors.”
Hosted by the Conrad Foundation, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites high school teams to use STEM skills in developing commercially viable, technology-based products in one of three categories - Aerospace Exploration, Clean Energy, and Health and Nutrition. It is the only competition of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship, giving students the tools they need to create and sustain a knowledge-based economy.
“Using a network of world-renowned scientists, engineers, academics and business leaders, the competition connects teams with mentors to assist in making their ideas a reality,” said Jennifer Fotherby, executive director, Spirit of Innovation Challenge.
This year’s challenge is supported by Lockheed Martin and PepsiCo and in partnership with U.S. Department of State and NASA. Additional involvement comes from Kraft Foods and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. This year’s Challenge Partners who provide the experts, mentors and judges include: the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Foundation, The William James Foundation and the American Society for Nutrition.
The top five teams from each category will travel to the annual Innovation Summit, hosted at NASA-Ames Research Center March 29-31, 2012, to present their innovations and vie for awards and commercialization opportunities. The Conrad Foundation is also currently in discussion with the Department of State about sending the winners of the 2011-2012 Spirit of Innovation Challenge to Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 during the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.