Press Release

Recipe for the Future: Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards Program Combines Entrepreneurship, Imagination and High-School Innovators

By SpaceRef Editor
April 13, 2010
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Recipe for the Future: Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards Program Combines Entrepreneurship, Imagination and High-School Innovators

Moffett Field, CA – April 12, 2010 – The Conrad Foundation’s 2010 Innovation Summit concluded over the weekend with the announcement of this year’s Spirit of Innovation Award winners. The program encourages high-school students to solve the challenges of the 21st century by creating breakthrough technologies in one of four categories: aerospace, green schools, renewable energy and space nutrition.

All winners were chosen from the 21finalist teams that assembled for the annual Spirit of Innovation Awards’ Innovation Summit at the NASA Ames Conference Center in Moffett Field, Calif., from April 8 to 10, 2010. The teams were joined by notable leaders such as Lori Garver, deputy administrator of NASA; Miles O’Brien, chairman of the NASA Advisory Council for Education and Public Outreach; Steve Westly of the Westly Group; Chairman Jon Wellinghoff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and entrepreneurs Rafe Furst, John Gage, Fred Nazem and Ari Meisel.

For the awards presentation, Foundation chairman Nancy Conrad was joined by special guest, recording artist and music producer Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D.

Grand prize winners, taking home the coveted title of 2010 Pete Conrad Scholars, were Falcon Robotics (aerospace), Green MAST (green schools), ACWa (renewable energy) and AM Rocks (space nutrition). In addition to the $5,000 cash prize awarded to each winning team, every member also receives a one-year student membership in American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and a one-year affiliate membership to Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society. Each team’s coach also receives a $500 stipend via the AIAA Coaches Award.

The National Space Biomedical Research Institute Award for Innovation in Space Exploration Health Care went to Hexigami from Littleton, Colo., for their lunar habitat’s unique ability to shield future explorers from radiation. The $5,000 cash prize is awarded to the team with the best aerospace-related human health product.

As the name implies, the People’s Choice Award was bestowed on the team with the most votes cast during the online, public voting period. The top vote-getter, AM Rocks, received two seats on a zero-gravity flight. And, in a last-minute bonus, they will be joined on the flight by Williams. Runners-up were Ramana, TJ Alpha and Falcon Robotics.

Also of note for all participants, Clarkson University will award up to 12 merit scholarship to finalist team members who apply and are accepted to the university. Recipients will receive a scholarship of up to $6,000.

About the Spirit of Innovation Awards

The Spirit of Innovation Awards and Innovation Summit are presented by The Conrad Foundation in partnership with the NASA Ames Research Center. The teams participating in the Conrad Awards program at the Innovation Summit are designing the future.

About The Conrad Foundation

The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit foundation designed to energize and engage students in science and technology through unique entrepreneurial opportunities. The Foundation builds upon the legacy of heroes in our past to nurture the heroes of our future. By enabling young minds to connect education, innovation and entrepreneurship, the Conrad Foundation provides a bold platform for enriching human capital.

Links to Available Photos

Cutline: People’s Choice Award winners, Team AM Rocks, with Foundation chairman Nancy Conrad (far left), and special guest Pharrell Williams of N.E.R.D. (far right).
Photo credit: NASA/Dominic Hart

Cutline: Lori Garver, NASA deputy administrator, and Miles O’Brien, NASA Advisory Council for Education and Public Outreach chairman, address the audience during the closing ceremony.
Photo credit: NASA/Dominic Hart

Cutline: The 2010 Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Award winners, advisors, entrepreneurs, government representatives and The Conrad Foundation staff.
Photo credit: NASA/Dominic Hart

SpaceRef staff editor.