This year’s cohort of Broadcom MASTERS finalists are already proving that they are unafraid to march into their future as STEM leaders.

From designing hydraulic solar panels and safer headgear for soccer to engineering water conservation devices, these middle school MASTERS are already working on important societal challenges.

Selected from a national pool of 300 semifinalists, this elite group of thirty finalists are ready to compete in Silicon Valley next month where they will vie for cash and other awards.

Finalists from the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS work on a team competition

Finalists from the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS work on a team competition

The 2015 Broadcom MASTERS will face off in a series of team challenges that test their acumen in STEM skills as well as their 21st century skills: How well do they demonstrate critical thinking, foster collaboration and communicate their goals? How do they apply their knowledge of the scientific method and engineering process in areas that they are not familiar with? Can they take what they’ve learned from their independent research projects and apply the knowledge in team competition?

Selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers to participate in the Broadcom MASTERS competition from a pool over 2,000 applicants, the finalists are comprised of 14 girls and 16 boys hailing from 14 states. They represent 29 schools in the U.S. and American Samoa.

Meet the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS finalists

Meet the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS finalists

See the list of finalists and their project names here.

This year, Broadcom MASTERS celebrates its fifth anniversary and some remarkable milestones. Since the start of the program in 2011, MASTERS has seen a 51 percent surge in nominations throughout affiliated regional and state science fairs in the U.S.  The program also has developed a model to engage underserved students in after-school programs called the Broadcom MASTERS Jr. Varsity.

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As the competition has evolved, so too has its mission.

In addition to promoting STEM through project-based learning, the Broadcom Foundation has encouraged integration of computer science, engineering and applied mathematics in science fair projects due to the fact that these skills are vital to developing a vibrant and innovative STEM workforce.

“We want to ensure that the “E” and the “M” in STEM are well represented at science fairs because engineering and math are increasingly integral to all STEM vocations,” said Paula Golden, President and Executive Director, Broadcom Foundation and Director, Community Affairs, Broadcom. “Our increasing dependence on technology demands these competencies be part of every child’s education, regardless of the trade or profession they enter.”

During the 2015 Broadcom MASTERS competition (October 1–7), finalists will showcase their projects for the public and compete as teams in hands-on STEM activities. 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. The student who demonstrates the most prowess in electrical engineering will win the $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation. In addition to prizes for first and second place in each of the STEM categories, two finalists will also be named the Rising Star delegates. These students will represent the U.S. at the Broadcom MASTERS International next spring in Phoenix, Arizona as official observers at Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international high school science fair.

To keep up with the Broadcom MASTERS on Twitter, use hashtag #brcmMASTERS or follow Broadcom and SSP. And to stay connected, visit the Broadcom MASTERS and SSP Facebook pages.