Samsung ‘Solve for Tomorrow’ accepting applications

Samsung “Solve for Tomorrow,” a competition for students to creatively address problems in their local communities through STEM, is accepting project ideas through Nov. 8

TULARE COUNTY – Earlier this year, seven Tulare Union High School students brought home $80,000 in funding, technology and class materials after placing as finalists and winning a community choice award for their artificial intelligence (AI) technology in automobiles for Samsung’s Solve for Tomorrow contest, which rewards students for bringing ideas to life that creatively address problems in their local communities through science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Now, Samsung is launching its 12th annual Solve for Tomorrow contest for grades 6 through 12, with $2 million in prize money available to public classrooms across the nation. This year’s applicants are encouraged to use responsibly sourced materials in their prototypes and align their project ideas with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. The judging rubric for this year’s contest will also include a component that will evaluate factors like the sustainability of the project idea over time.

Ann Woo, senior director of corporate citizenship at Samsung Electronics America, said the contest was founded more than a decade ago as an environmental program, and this year they’d like it to be a central focus.

“While it has since evolved to make room for the other issues that the next generation is most passionate about such as mental health and student safety, we want to keep the environment in mind through this contest that aims to promote meaningful change,” Woo said. “We have seen the incredible projects that have emerged from the minds of students through this contest, and we cannot wait to see the ideas that come to life this year that will undoubtedly ignite lasting impact on communities while reducing our collective impact on the planet.”

Solve for Tomorrow will award $2 million in technology and supplies to classrooms as they advance throughout the contest, all redeemable through DonorsChoose.org. As part of the strive for sustainability, Samsung will encourage schools to select Samsung Energy Star products as part of their packages. Once lesson plans are submitted, schools will have the opportunity to move ahead to the following phases:

100 state winners from the pool of applicants will be awarded $6,500 in Samsung technology and supplies for classroom use along with a video kit to help them with the next phase of their project

10 national finalist schools will be selected to participate in the pitch event where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving National Finalist status, seven of these schools will be awarded $50,000 in technology and supplies while the remaining three will be named National Grand Prize Winners

Three national winner schools will each receive $100,000 in classroom technology and supplies

Of the top ten schools, one community choice winner will also be determined through online public voting and will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 in Samsung technology, as well as one employee choice winner, determined by Samsung employee votes to win an additional $10,000.

Six of the seven students from Tulare Union High School who participated in last year’s contest were in science teacher Erik York’s STEM class, where he covers the principles of science technology, engineering and mathematics through exploring aspects like AI, 3D printing, machine design and engineering design process. York said distance learning didn’t stop the team from collaborating. They used Zoom to communicate and build a physical prototype of their AI device for automobiles capable of learning from pictures to enhance driver safety.

“This was a great experience for the students, especially in light of COVID and everything that has happened this year with distanced learning and the isolation that students have faced,” said York in a previous interview with The Sun-Gazette. “This was a great way to end the year for them. Our team consisted of seven seniors. They really bonded together through this experience, created a phenomenal product and just showed the heart of our tribe here at Tulare Union.”

To enter the contest, and for official contest rules, please visit samsung.com/solve. The deadline to submit is 8:59 p.m. PST on Nov. 8, 2021.

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