HOUSTON -- Officials with the Conrad Foundation today announced the names of 15 high school teams from across the country and the Isle of Man that will compete in the final round of the 2011-2012 Spirit of Innovation Challenge. The annual competition, presented by Lockheed Martin Corporation and PepsiCo, challenges high school student teams around the globe to combine innovation and entrepreneurship along with STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to create commercially-viable products to solve global and local challenges.
"Our Spirit of Innovation Challenge encourages students to design the future by focusing on some of the world's most pressing issues," said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation. "Once again with this year's competition, the students have amazed us with their concepts to solve 21st Century Challenges. I like to call them the Innovation Generation. By combining STEM education with innovation and entrepreneurship, these high school students will be the innovative workforce of tomorrow."
Finalist teams will present their product concepts at the Innovation Summit, March 29-31, to a panel of industry experts, leading entrepreneurs, government officials and world-renowned scientists at NASA Ames Research Center in Northern California. Products will be evaluated for technical content and marketplace viability.
Prior to the Summit, from March 12 to March 23, the public will have the opportunity to select the People's Choice Award winner by viewing finalist team videos and voting on their favorite innovative product. To review each team and their projects, visit http://www.conradawards.org/pages/finalists.
This year's competition challenged students to develop new ideas in the areas of aerospace exploration, clean energy, and health and nutrition. The finalist teams in each category include:
Aerospace Exploration: creating an innovative product for use in the aerospace industry - vehicles, spacesuits, planetary exploration, satellites, space medicine, Earth observation and more.
* Flex; Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, Va.
* Frontier Space Industries; Randolph-Macon Academy, Front Royal, Va.
* Infinity; West Salem High School, West Salem, Wis.
* Moonwalking Manakins; Cinco Ranch High School, Katy, Texas
* Stellar Strips; North Carolina School of Science and Math, Durham, N.C.
Clean Energy: creating an innovative product to address energy efficiency; energy storage; solar, geothermal and wind energy; biomass fuels; and renewable energy solutions to improve everyday life.
* Bright Ideas!; Sustainability Workshop, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Humatics; Monta Vista High School, Cupertino, Calif.
* Maverick Robots; Eastern Technical High School, Baltimore, Md.
* Operation Gulliver International; Gulliver Preparatory, Miami, Fla.
* The Bros; North Carolina School of Science and Math, Durham, N.C.
Health and Nutrition: creating solutions that address growing more nutritious food with less water and land; creating better eating habits amongst youth; and encouraging healthy lifestyles through products and innovations.
* Allergy Watch; Whitehorse High School, Montezuma Creek, Utah
* Ballet, Autism, and Mirror Neurons; Milken Community High School, Los Angeles, Calif.
* FOOGLE; St. Ninians High School, Douglas, Isle of Man
* Lettuce help you grow!; Abraham Lincoln High School, Philadelphia, Pa.
* Team H2O; St. Francis Academy, Baltimore, Md.
Each category's winning team will be recognized as Pete Conrad Scholars and will receive a Next Step Grant of $5,000 to continue product development.
About The Conrad Foundation
The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the current methods of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high schools. Its Spirit of Innovation Challenge is free to all who wish to participate and reaches all socio-economic levels. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit www.conradawards.org.
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Kim Nahas, Griffin Communications Group
(281) 335-0200 (office)