As we look back on five years of the Broadcom MASTERS, we can’t help but be awestruck by the talent, passion and ambition thousands of MASTERS competitors have to face big issues impacting the world today.
The National Academy of Engineering has defined 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century in categories such as health, joy of living, sustainability and security. As innovative technologies opened access to information and design tools, there are endless ways to innovate and engineer solutions to modern problems. That’s what our 2015 finalists are doing at the Broadcom MASTERS, the nation’s leading science and engineering fair at the middle school level.
Representing the best of the best among tens of thousands of competitors at from regional and state science fairs throughout the United States, the 30 finalists are competing for both awards and prestige this week in Silicon Valley. After showcasing the science or engineering project earned them a place in the competition, they will compete in teams on challenges that will test their 21st century skills of critical thinking, collaboration, communication and creativity abilities to solve problems–solve that test their acumen in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM).
Many of these students have already demonstrated are that they are on the path to solve the Grand Challenges identified by the NAE, developing ways to design and engineer new technologies to address them.
For example, one finalist engineered a water conversation system that reminds bathers of their water usage while showering. Not only is this system technologically advanced, but it tackles the challenge of protecting a scarce resource in drought-plagued regions. This was one of many projects focused on the impact of pollutants and chemicals on the environment and health.
All of this year’s finalists have made use of rapidly advancing technology in their problem solving and project development. By way of example, finalists re-engineered both the hardware and software of existing robotics, created apps and developed algorithms to better understand and predict data.
“We are beginning to see seamless integration of science and engineering principles in the way finalists achieve their goals, which is actually the way they WILL solve the problems they care about,” said Paula Golden, Executive Director, Broadcom Foundation and Director, Community Affairs, Broadcom. “We hope this week’s experience as the Broadcom MASTERS Class of 2015 will re-enforce their insight into the value of this new way of problem solving and strengthen their resolve to tackle the Engineering Grand Challenges of our time.”
Finalists will showcase their projects for the public on Saturday, October 3, 2015 at the Computer History Museum at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd., Mountain View, Calif., from 1:00 – 4:00 pm, and then compete as teams in hands-on STEM activities throughout the Bay Area.
The grand prize is the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, a gift of Susan and Henry Samueli, Co-Founder, Chairman of the Board, and Chief Technical Officer of Broadcom Corporation. In addition to the Grand Prize, the student demonstrating prowess in electrical engineering will win the $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation, also a gift of Henry Samueli. In addition to other prizes for first and second place in each of the STEM categories, two finalists will be named the Rising Stars who will represent the United States at the Broadcom MASTERS International in Phoenix, Ariz,, next spring as Official Observers to attend Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international high school science fair in May 2016.