Hamilton County Virtual School Is Winner In Samsung Solve For Tomorrow STEM Competition

  • Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Samsung Electronics America on Wednesday announced that 50 schools have advanced as state winners in the 14th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) competition. Hamilton County Virtual School in Chattanooga was selected as the state winner for Tennessee.

Each state winner has earned a Samsung technology prize package worth $12,000; the full list of state winners is available at Samsung.com/Solve. These GenZ innovators now move forward in their quest to be named one of three national winners that each unlock $100,000 for their school. Overall, Samsung will award more than $2 million in prizes to this year’s participating schools.

State winners were selected from among 300 state finalist public middle and high schools who submitted detailed lesson plans outlining how their students propose using STEM to address an important community issue. Sustainability, public health and accessibility featured prominently in the solutions outlined by the state winners, as were projects that had cultural significance, such as those dedicated to preserving endangered crops of cultural importance to communities and safeguarding endangered indigenous languages.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow is a nationwide competition designed to empower students in grades 6–12 to leverage the power of STEM to create innovative solutions addressing critical issues in their local communities. The competition engages U.S. Gen Z students to catalyze change by applying Problem-based Learning principles, environmental stewardship and entrepreneurship to address some of society's most pressing challenges. The competition also promotes active, hands-on learning, making STEM more tangible and showcasing its real-world applications.

Ann Woo, head of Corporate Citizenship at Samsung Electronics America, said, “Working with students involved with Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, we’ve heard time and again that helping people in their local communities and society at large are key motivators. That’s certainly borne out by this year’s round of Gen Z-led STEM projects, where roughly one-third of our finalists are focused on solving public health issues, and another third on promoting environmental sustainability. Accessibility for people with disabilities, public safety, and agriculture were also top trending projects.”

Showcasing a forward-looking approach to problem-solving, nearly half of the student STEM-based solutions embrace the use of emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing, big data analytics, geo-mapping, and robotics. Moreover, a number of the entries exhibit promising elements of entrepreneurship, or incorporate design thinking principles, highlighting the students' innovative approaches and potential for building impactful solutions that endure beyond the competition.

Each state winner will receive a video production kit from Samsung to help document their project and produce a three-minute video demonstrating how they are using STEM to address the community issue raised in their lesson plan. Samsung employees will once again serve as mentors, assigned to the state winners on a one-to-one basis to help guide the student teams as they develop their projects and build a prototype. State winners will need to submit their videos for review ahead of the video deadline on Thursday, March 7.

One school will be honored as a climate visionary with a Sustainability Innovation Award for driving sustainable change through STEM innovation, and an additional $50,000 prize package that includes Samsung ENERGY STAR technology.

One school will be selected for the new Rising Entrepreneurship Award, receiving a $25,000 prize package to foster the development of a scalable, sustainable venture that will extend beyond the competition.

Ten National Finalist Schools will be chosen to participate in a live, in-person pitch event in April where they will present their project to a panel of judges. From the National Finalists:

Judges will name three National Winners, each of whom earns a prize package worth $100,000.

The remaining seven National Finalist schools will be awarded $50,000 in Samsung technology and classroom supplies.

A Community Choice Winner will be determined through online voting by the general public, winning an additional $10,000 in prizes.

An Employee Choice Winner will be selected by Samsung employees to receive $10,000 in prizes in addition to their National Finalist winnings.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 as a way to boost interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM. The education-based citizenship program is now a catalyst for a change in the perception of STEM, a crucial aspect in fostering a skilled future workforce and informed citizens of the modern world. To date, Solve for Tomorrow has awarded $27 million in Samsung technology and classroom supplies to 3,500-plus public schools across the United States. 

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