Press Release

Teens from Around the World Invited to Design a Sustainable Future

By SpaceRef Editor
August 19, 2013
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Teens from Around the World Invited to Design a Sustainable Future

As part of the Spirit of Innovation Challenge, five high school students from Miami developed a new water filtration device which currently serves a population of 500,000 in Nigeria. With the help of these students, children in this village can be brought into the world, bathed in fresh, clean water. Now, imagine the positive changes that can happen if all students with similar visions had the resources to make their ideas for benefiting humanity a reality.
Young innovators from around the world will come together in person and virtually Aug. 21 as the Conrad Foundation launches its 7th Annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge at Spirit of Innovation +SocialGood. This multi-phase, business and technical plan competition is free and open to students ages 13–18. The eight-month challenge offers teams of students the opportunity to innovate and create new technologies and products to address global sustainability, while encouraging entrepreneurship and teamwork.
Streamed live from Space Center Houston, NASA Johnson Space Center’s official visitor center, program founder Nancy Conrad and green tech innovator and world record holder Chip Yates, along with program alumni will talk about pursuing innovation, education and entrepreneurship,  and what it takes to change the world.
Following the presentation, virtual attendees will begin the “Worldwide Brainstorm Challenge.” Students will spend 60-minutes identifying solutions in this year’s challenge categories: aerospace and aviation, energy and environment, cyber security and technology, and health and nutrition. The event begins the process for students to formulate their world-changing, commercially-viable product entry for this year’s Challenge.
For more information, visit  
Students and teachers from more than 10 countries and 15 states will participate. Winning alumni teams, inspirational teachers, world-renowned entrepreneurs, and high-profile supporters will be on-site at Space Center Houston.
Speakers include:

  • Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation
  • Chip Yates, CEO of ePilot; world record holder, inventor electric motorcycle and battery-powered airplane
  • Madison Jones, member of Team Infinity from West Salem, Ore.; 2012 aerospace and aviation category winning team
  • Mario Chris, member of Team Xavier Falcons from Middletown, Conn.; 2013 aerospace and aviation category finalist team
  • Claude Charron, teacher at Gulliver School in Miami, Fla.; coach of two winning teams; 2013 Nancy Conrad Innovative Teacher of the Year
  • Jen Fotherby, executive director of the Conrad Foundation

Note: Media will have the opportunity to interview all speakers listed above. Interviews with virtual attendees are available upon request. 
Wednesday, Aug. 21; 6-8:30 p.m. CST
5:45 p.m. – Doors open; welcome reception; hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served
6:10 p.m. – Opening remarks by Nancy Conrad
6:15 p.m. – Keynote speech by Chip Yates
6:30 p.m. – Tips on competition success from past Challenge participants
6:45 p.m. – 2013-2014 Challenge news; Worldwide Brainstorm Challenge review
6:50 p.m. – Q&A; participation from Twitter/Google Hangout attendees
7:00 p.m. – Virtual brainstorming sessions begin; on-site guests invited to reception
8:30 p.m. – Event concludes
Starship Gallery
Space Center Houston
1601 NASA Pkwy
Houston, TX 77058
Space Center Houston serves as the command center for this global think-tank; the launch party will be streamed live via and +SocialGood.
Media note: Media will park in the main lot in front of Space Center Houston and enter through the general public entrance. Please check in at the registration table.
About the Launch Party
Students and educators are encouraged to simulcast the event and host their own celebrations and brainstorming sessions. Register for the virtual event
Participants can also join in the conversation via Twitter and Instagram using #SOICLaunch #SocialGood. Using this hashtag they can also share the number of product ideas they create, as well as party pictures.
About the Conrad Foundation 
The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to immersive learning, where students use their imagination and innovation to enrich their classroom. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind whose programs combine science and technology-based education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit
The Conrad Foundation’s Spirit of Innovation Challenge celebrates the life and entrepreneurial spirit of astronaut Pete Conrad, third man to walk on the Moon. The annual program invites teens work in teams of 2-5 students and use STEM skills along with creativity, collaboration and entrepreneurship to develop innovative solutions to benefit humanity and address global sustainability. Finalist teams receive a travel grant to present at the 2014 Innovation Summit at NASA Johnson Space Center and Space Center Houston for a chance to win a $10,000 seed grant to develop their product or service.
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Carrie Taylor, Education & Outreach Director
Conrad Foundation
832-864-7223 (office); 281-642-6981 (mobile)

SpaceRef staff editor.