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International Student Entrepreneurs Awarded Top Honors in 2020 Conrad Challenge Virtual Innovation Summit

37 finalist teams of high school-aged innovators from around the world convened for the three-day summit and showcased inventions designed to solve pressing global challenges

Conrad Challenge logoHouston, Texas―May 29, 2020―Seven teams of high school-aged student innovators from around the world were awarded top honors during the 2020 Conrad Challenge Virtual Innovation Summit, held May 27-29 on the Hopin platform. The Summit was the final round of the 2019-20 Conrad Challenge, the annual competition that unleashes the potential of students to use their innovative and entrepreneurial skills to create solutions for some of the most pressing global challenges. More than 600 teams of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18 entered the 2019-20 competition, a Conrad Challenge record. 

This was the 14th year of the Conrad Challenge, but due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Innovation Summit was held online for the first time. This successful pivot in event planning allowed the Summit to proceed and gave these deserving students the opportunity to experience the culmination of their year-long efforts.

The Challenge began in August, when teams submitted their initial entry and worked on their investor pitch, which they completed in November. Qualifying teams then advanced to the second round in mid-November and worked through mid-January to develop and refine a business plan, market study and visual representation of their commercially viable solutions. Their products were then reviewed and scored by subject matter experts and judges before the finalist teams in each category were selected.

The 37 finalist teams who competed for top awards at the Virtual Innovation Summit hail from eight different countries: Australia, India, Nigeria, the Philippines, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States. Each presented their new product in one of six categories: Aerospace & Aviation; Cyber-Technology & Security; Energy & Environment; Health & Nutrition; Transforming Education through Technology; and Smoke-Free World. After submitting a video pitch and executive summary the week prior, the finalist teams participated in a live video question and answer session with the panel of judges with expertise in business, industry, research and academia.

“Once again, the Conrad Foundation hosted a record number of young innovators who participated in the Conrad Challenge. Due to the pandemic, we were unable to host our in-person Innovation Summit at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Like seasoned entrepreneurs, our students pivoted to an online platform and delivered their fantastic product ideas to our expert judges,” said Nancy Conrad founding chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “They have proven, once again, that they are truly the game-changers who will shape the future. We are so proud of them and their dedication to creating commercially viable solutions to global and local challenges. We can hardly wait to see what they accomplish.”

The following teams were recognized as Pete Conrad Scholars, the competition’s top award named in honor of Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad and his three-decade pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship:

• Aerospace & Aviation: EcoAero, Naperville North, Naperville, Ill.

• Cyber-Technology & Security: Opioid Overdose Prevention System, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax, Va.

• Energy & Environment: The PowerCycle, The British School, New Delhi, India; Lunair, Score Academy, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

• Health & Nutrition: NeoSigno, Columbus Academy, Galena, Ohio

• Transforming Education through Technology: StutterLess, Foothill High School, Pleasanton, Calif.

• Smoke-Free World, Eliminating & Reducing Teen Vaping: VapeEscape, team members from N.J., N.Y., and Dominican Republic

• Smoke-Free World, Repurposed Farmlands & Tobacco Crops: TobaccOats, Peak to Peak Charter School, Lafayette, Colo.

Each winning team received a distinctive medal and Pete Conrad Scholar certificate, a Dell 2-in-1 Chromebook, a market research assessment from the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, and a one-year associate membership to Sigma Xi. Individual team members are also eligible to receive a $25,000 per year scholarship to Menlo College; a $22,000 per year scholarship to Lewis & Clark College; a $15,000 per year scholarship to Thomas Jefferson University or Clarkson University; a $10,000 per year scholarship/partial abatement award to College of Charleston; or a $2,500 per year grant to Florida Institute of Technology.

Further, one Pete Conrad Scholar was selected to attend a NEXUS Global 2020-21 event, all expenses paid; one Pete Conrad Scholar Team was selected and each team member will receive a $2,500 scholarship to attend the LeanGap Summer Program; and all winning teams have the opportunity to apply for pro bono services from both Arent Fox and Dentons to support the patent process. 

Smoke-Free World, sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), was a category for the third consecutive year and was divided into two distinct subcategories to address specific global challenges. FSFW will provide a grant to the Conrad Foundation, which will allow students from the two winning Scholar teams in the Farmlands and Vaping categories to receive a $1,500 grant each from the Conrad Foundation. The grant must be used for charitable, educational, or scientific purposes relating to ending smoking in this generation. 

Transforming Education through Technology was a special category sponsored by SMART Technologies for the second consecutive year. Students in this category were invited to design new technologies or services that will help transform education experiences leading to better outcomes for individual students, schools or communities. Each member of the winning Pete Conrad Scholar Team was awarded a SMART Podium and the team’s coach will receive a SMART Board to use in their classroom. In addition, the team will have the opportunity to collaborate with Harvard fellows via an online session. 

The “Power Pitch” awards, also presented by the Conrad Foundation, were earned by the teams who best presented their virtual pitch to the panel of judges, along with their peers and industry professionals. The following teams were recognized with this honor:

• Aerospace & Aviation: Astronyx, Oxford, United Kingdom

• Cyber-Technology & Security: NeuroSecure, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Fairfax, Va.

• Energy & Environment: Team Recycle Rex, Nigeria

• Health & Nutrition: PiezoPace, The Village School, Houston, Texas

• Transforming Education through Technology: ScintillaVR, Mission San Jose High School, Freemont, Calif.

• Smoke-Free World, Eliminating & Reducing Teen Vaping: eduVape, Ed W. Clark High School, Las Vegas, Nev.

• Smoke-Free World, Repurposed Farmlands & Tobacco Crops: Nexkap, Cary Academy, Raleigh, N.C.

In addition to the Conrad Foundation awards, the following special awards were also distributed:  

• NASA Goddard Technology Award: Etiam, The Village School, Houston, Texas, Singapore and United Kingdom 

• AIAA Scholarship Award: Arjun Shah, EcoAero, Naperville North, Naperville, Ill.

• LeanGap Award: NeoSigno, Columbus Academy, Galena, Ohio

• Global Collaborator Award: Etiam, team members from The Village School, Houston, Texas, Singapore and United Kingdom ; VapeEscape, team members from N.J., N.Y., and Dominican Republic; SpokeScience, team members from Ariz., Calif., Mass. and N.H.

• Teacher of the Year: Dr. Meg Hennessy, PiezoPace, The Village School, Houston, Texas

• Social Media Award: Astronyx, Oxford, United Kingdom

The 2019-20 Conrad Challenge was made possible by the support of its partners: The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, SMART Technologies, Bezos Family Foundation, NASA, Delaware North, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Griffin Communications Group, Arent Fox, Dell, Dentons, LeanGap, NEXUS, Tranquility Lodge, Sigma Xi, Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, AIAA, Clarkson University, Menlo College, Lewis & Clark College, Thomas Jefferson University, College of Charleston, and Florida Institute of Technology. The Challenge was also supported by media partners and champion partners. Learn more about all sponsors and partners here

To learn more about the 2019-20 winners, visit www.conradchallenge.org/2020-summit-awards. Students and educators interested in participating in the 2020-21 Challenge can sign up to receive more information by visiting this page

About The Conrad Foundation

The Conrad Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting collaborative, student-centered, real world-relevant learning that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programs, the Foundation unleashes students’ potential to create impactful solutions and a sustainable society for generations to come. For more information, visit www.conradchallenge.org.

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