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The Conrad Foundation: Getting Youth to Think for STEMselves

October 26, 2011

Awards from the Conrad Foundation's Innovation Summit

We frequently hear about science competitions, fairs, conferences, and contests and the amazing first-place students who have managed to snag hefty awards, ranging anywhere from cash scholarships to extensive hands-on trips at high tech R&D facilities. We see a competition or contest through its winning team – its golden chalice of achievement – but rarely do we hear about the process entailed to seize that first-place prize.

The Spirit of Innovation Challenge is unique in the sense that it attempts to incorporate a “real world” mentality into our country’s conventional academic system, while also generating a sense of individual responsibility towards societal betterment. The Challenge encourages 9-12 grade students to create commercially-viable, technology-based products that will help to advance Clean Energy, Health and Nutrition, or Aerospace Exploration. The 2009 PISA Report indicated that American students rank number one in confidence; the Conrad Foundation capitalizes on that attitude and channels that energy towards the public good in a market-friendly manner.

Charles “Pete” Conrad, astronaut, entrepreneur, the late husband of Nancy Conrad and the source of inspiration for The Conrad Foundation, struggled with dyslexia throughout his adolescent and it was a new “systems” approach to learning that enabled him to excel in a conventional academic environment. By having a competition that extends throughout the entire school year, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge strives to incorporate and promote many different learning methods, highlighting the importance of the process of a competition as well as the end result/awards.

If you are interested in participating in the Spirit of Innovation Challenge, find more information here. Hurry! The deadline is November 29, 2011. 

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