Press Release

Three student teams from Durham win top awards at the national 2011 Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards

By SpaceRef Editor
May 3, 2011
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Three student teams from Durham win top awards at the national 2011 Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards
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2011 Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards in California Spirit of Innovation Awards Program Combines Entrepreneurship, Imagination and High-School Innovators

Moffett Field, CA – Demonstrating they had the most unique approaches to solving real-world challenges in aerospace, clean energy and cyber security, the winners of the Conrad Foundation’s 2011 Innovation Summit were announced Sunday at the conclusion of the four-day event held at NASA-Ames Research Center.

The annual innovation program encourages high-school students from across the country to solve the challenges of the 21st century by creating breakthrough technologies using science, technology, engineering and math knowledge and skills.

Winning more awards than any other community, three student teams from the North Carolina School of Science & Mathematics (NCSSM) and Northern High School are bringing home the coveted title of 2011 Pete Conrad Scholars in Cyber Security, the People’ s Choice Award and the NSBRI Aerospace Award.

Unisecurity, a team of three students from NCSSM, won for their Med PAL smartphone application that works with a Bluetooth enabled heart rate monitor worn by the user. MedPAL will automatically contact a call center and/or personal emergency contacts based on GPS coordinates should irregularities occur.

The Unisecurity team receives a $5,000 Next Step Grant to continue the development of their product. The teams also receive assistance promoting their product in the media and at partner events and activities.

The Scientifica White Hats team of four students from Northern High School received the People’s Choice Award. This award is bestowed on the team with the most votes cast during the online, public voting period. The Scientifica White Hats received a $500 prize for their Phone Guard all-in-one master security system for smartphones.

Additionally, the NSBRI Aerospace Award went to the two-person team Morpheus, also from NCSSM, for their Space Sleep Pod which was designed to provide better noise reduction, comfortable, private sleep area for astronauts in space for better rest and sleep.

“This competition is what’s right about education. We typically hear about what’s wrong with our education system, not what’s right,” said Dr. Myra Halpin, coach for the two NCSSM student teams. “Our teams have solid next step plans to get their products to market beginning with simulations and manufacturing along with market development. They are leaving here even more excited than when they arrived.”

In addition to the funding and product support, every team member receives a one-year student membership in American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and a one-year affiliate membership to Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. The team coach receives a $500 stipend via the AIAA Coaches Award.

“By providing an outlet for students to use their knowledge in relevant and practical ways and by connecting them with mentors who can help make their vision a reality, we open avenues for discovery and build interest in the careers available in STEM industries,” said Nancy Conrad, Conrad Foundation chairman and CEO.

Each of the 27 finalist teams created a technical report, a business plan and a graphical representation for their product. The winning teams were selected by a panel of judges made up of top-level academia and industry representatives, with input from public voting at www.conradawards.org.

After the event, all teams have the opportunity to raise additional funds to facilitate the continued commercial development of their projects. Visitors to the teams’ profile pages have the opportunity to donate directly to the development of their favorite team’s project, or they can donate to the team’s sponsoring school, helping continue excellence in science and technology education. Information about each team can be found on the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards official Web site: www.conradawards.org.

Additional category winners include:

– Conrad Scholars in Aerospace – Ouroboros, Upper Clair High School, Pittsburg, PA (aerospace exploration) – for their Perpetual Harvest Space Nutrition System that takes organic waste created during long duration space flight and creates compost that is then used to grow fresh foods also serving as an air filter for human habitation.

– Conrad Scholars in Clean Energy- West Philly EVX Team, West Philadelphia High School Auto Academy, West Philadelphia, PA (clean energy)- their Electric Very Light Car (EVLC) is being prepared for commercial market and will set the standard for efficiency with their electric car

People’s Choice Awards

– Aerospace- Ouroboros, Upper St. Clair High School, Pittsburg, PA

– Clean Energy- CIRPSICSR, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA

– Constellation Energy Award- CIRPSICSR, Alexandria, VA

– Facebook Challenge- R Squared, Beverly Hills High School, Los Angeles, CA

In addressing the attendees during the closing ceremony NASA Ames Director Pete Worden said, “You represent the future and you are an inspiration to us all at NASA.”

The teams were joined by notable leaders such as Pete Worden, director, NASA Ames Research Center; Adam Savage, MythBusters Co-host; Brynn Watson, Director, Software Engineering, Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company; Ed Lu, Former Astronaut, Former Head of Google Advanced Projects; and Jon Fougner, Principal, Product Marketing Monetization at Facebook.

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 21st century education.

About The Spirit of Innovation Awards

The Spirit of Innovation Awards is an annual Conrad Foundation competition challenging students to solve real-world problems by creating commercially viable science and technology based solutions to global challenges.

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Contact:
Carrie Taylor, Griffin Communications Group
(832) 864-7226 (office)
(281) 642-6981 (cell)
carrie@griffincg.com

SpaceRef staff editor.