2013 Winners


The Samueli Foundation Prize:


River Grace, 14, West Melbourne, Fla.
Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species

Grand prize winner River Grace became fascinated by the behavior of tortoises through his volunteer work at his local zoo and a tortoise breeding facility. He observed that whenever it rained, a captive group of endangered radiated tortoises would rise up and shuffle rhythmically. River hypothesized that this behavior allows tortoises to avoid drowning in flash floods in their arid native habitat in Madagascar and tested their reactions to a gentle flow of water, light mist and a sprinkling of lentils. To support conservation efforts, River now plans to repeat the experiment on several closely related tortoise species.

He was selected for the Samueli Foundation Prize based on his mastery of STEM principles during the weeklong competition. River has exemplified how research and innovation are dependent on the integration of these disciplines as well as the impact they collectively have on our everyday lives.


Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation:


Eitan Acks, Age 14, San Diego
Tongue Untwister

Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation winner Eitan Acks was inspired to study speech therapy by his little brother, who has dyspraxia, a disability that affects the ability to communicate. Eitan wanted to improve on the simple exercises using tongue depressors prescribed by speech therapists. So he put his engineering skills to use building a better device to strengthen the parts of the body used in speech, and to mend the connection between those muscles and the brain. Through trial and error with five different prototypes, Eitan found that his device is capable of improving modern speech therapy for dyspraxia as well as other speech disorders.

Eitan was selected because he demonstrates both vision and promise as an innovator, and in the spirit of radio inventor Guglielmo Marconi, has shown aptitude and skill in applied electrical engineering concepts in his science project and in the STEM challenges throughout the week.




Each of these finalists (first- and second-place award winners) were selected for demonstrated skills and promise in each of the disciplines represented by STEM. First place winners received $3,500 and second place winners were awarded $2,500 to support a summer camp experience of a finalist’s choice of STEM programs offered around the country. Each STEM winner also wins an iPad.


Science Award


First place: Keoni Gandall of Huntington Beach, Calif., for his project on genetically-modified halobacteria and engineering pink salt.


Second place: Julienne Sauer of San Ramon, Calif., for her project on quantum locking in superconductors and frictionless motion.


Technology Award


First place: Austin McCoy of Rochester, Minn., for his project on affordable detection lab equipment for dengue virus in developing countries.


Second place: Rebecca Bloomfield of Colorado Springs, Colo., for her project on the effects of slope and remediation on post-fire sedimentation.


Engineering Award


First place: Mihir Garimella of Pittsburgh, Pa., for his project on digitally recreating smells using microchip-controlled air fresheners that were programmed to release a scent during a particular video clip.


Second place: Sidhika Balachandar, of Gainesville, Fla., for her project on how different materials affect soundproofing.


Mathematics Award


First place: Johann Kailey-Steiner of Denver for his project on reducing drag in rocket design.


Second place: Joshua Wentzel of Portland, Ore., for his project on reservior volume and pressure in homemade air cannons.


Rising Stars Award


Krystal Horton of Menifee, Calif., (pictured, left) and Sean Weber of Sequim, Wash., (pictured, right) win a trip to Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international high school science fair competition, in May 2014 as the United States Delegates to Broadcom MASTERS International, in recognition of their work throughout the Broadcom MASTERS finals, as well as their projects on beetle infestation, and the impact of waves on mussels, respectively.


Team Award


The Broadcom MASTERS Team Award was awarded to the red team for demonstrating their ability to work together, solve problems through shared decision making, communication and scientific and engineering collaboration. Each received an iPod nano and wristband. (Pictured left to right: Grand prize winner River Grace, Seamus Hoolahan, Hannah Steele, Dhruv Iyer and Megan Swintosky.)



Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public present the 30 middle school finalists who competed in the third annual Broadcom MASTERS competition. The 14 girls and 16 boys came from 17 states and represented 30 schools. The finalists won an all-expense paid trip to Washington, D.C., to compete for more than $60,000 in cash prizes.

2013 Finalist PDF
Winners were announced on October 1, 2013.