Congratulations to our national finalists.
Cast your vote to help select the winner of the Community Choice Award.
Lighting Up A CommunityClick to view more
Phase 1 (September-November):
Teachers from across the country complete the Solve For Tomorrow online application to become eligible to participate in the video portion of the contest to showcase student projects.
Phase 2 (November-January):
The top 75 respondents across 3 categories of Urban, Suburban, and Rural receive a Samsung camcorder and Adobe video editing software to create videos to showcase their solutions to the challenge. After reviewing the video entries, Samsung and its partners select the top 15 videos, all of whom will receive technology prizes valued at $35,000 or more.
Phase 3 (Feb. 25 - March 13):
The top 15 videos will be featured on the Solve for Tomorrow website where people can cast their vote to select the Community Choice Award winner. On March 14th the Community Choice will be announced, with the winner receiving a technology grant of $140,000. In addition to consumer voting, a panel of thought-leaders in related industries will be called upon to vote on the submissions and choose an additional four winners who will also each receive a $140,000 grant for technology needs.
Phase 4 (April):
The top 5 winning schools are invited to an awards assembly hosted in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
Meet Our Judges For 2013-2014
Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics North America+
Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics North America
Dr. David Steel is responsible for corporate strategy, marketing, communications, and external relations for Samsung Electronics in North America. Reporting to the CEO, his responsibilities also include the company’s corporate social responsibility programs and community outreach.
Dr. Steel moved to the U.S. in the summer of 2008 after more than ten years at Samsung Electronics in Korea. He spent three years in the Global Strategy Group, where he managed strategy and business development projects for several different Samsung companies. In 2002, he became the first non-Korean appointed as a corporate officer in Samsung. From 2002 to 2007, he served as Vice President and head of marketing for the Digital Media Business, where he established the role of marketing within the $25bn business. In 2007, he moved to the Mobile Communications business, where he oversaw strategy for the world’s leader in mobile phones.
Prior to Samsung, he worked at McKinsey & Co. and Argonne National Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy. Dr. Steel earned a PhD in Physics from MIT, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and a BA in Physics from Oxford University. He is a past board member of the Korean American Community Foundation.
Director of Corporate Citizenship, DIRECTV+
Director of Corporate Citizenship, DIRECTV
Tina Morefield is director of Corporate Citizenship for DIRECTV, one of the world's leading providers of digital television entertainment services. In this role she is responsible for the company’s community outreach and charitable giving initiatives, with a focus on K-12 STEM education and employee volunteerism.
She joined DIRECTV in 1999, and has more than a decade of experience in the field of Corporate Communications, including employee communications, HR-related communications and executive presentations. In 2004, she added responsibility for Corporate Citizenship and grew it into the stand-alone function she leads today.
Morefield holds bachelors’ degrees in English and Art History from the University of California, Los Angeles, as well as a Certificate in Corporate Community Involvement from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship.
Senior Specialist of Corporate Citizenship, DIRECTV+
Senior Specialist of Corporate Citizenship, DIRECTV
Brynne Dunn is a Senior Specialist in the Corporate Citizenship Department at DIRECTV. As part of the Corporate Citizenship Team, she manages Employee Giving Programs, DIRECTV GOES TO SCHOOL and the DIRECTV Scholarship Program.
Prior to joining DIRECTV in 2012, she worked as a consultant for nonprofit organizations and social enterprises in the U.S. and abroad.
Dunn holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics in International Development Management, and a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Spanish from the University of Southern California.
Diane W. Wood
President, National Environmental Education Foundation+
Diane W. Wood
President, National Environmental Education Foundation
Diane Wood is president of the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF), the nation’s leading organization in lifelong environmental learning, connecting people to knowledge they use to improve the quality of their lives and the health of the planet. NEEF achieves this by providing knowledge to trusted professionals and other leaders who, with their credibility, amplify messages to national audiences to solve everyday environmental problems.
Diane has over two decades of executive experience both nationally and internationally. She worked for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for 15 years in a variety of executive capacities including vice president for Latin America and the Caribbean and vice president for research and development. Under Diane’s tenure the Latin American program grew to an $18 million conservation program. Before joining NEEF, she was the executive director of the Center for a New American Dream.
Her experience in environmental education spans formal and non-formal education sectors and includes curriculum development, nature interpretation, conservation education, sustainability education and natural resources extension. Diane developed national environmental education programs as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay from 1977-1981. She co-authored “Conservation Education: A Planning Guide” for the Peace Corps. Diane has been a consultant to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Peace Corps and the U.S. Agency for International Development. She has served on numerous nonprofit boards, including a 10-year Presidential appointment (under both George H.W. Bush and William J. Clinton) to the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative board. Diane holds a Masters in Science and Environmental Education from Cornell University.
Editor-in-Chief, TWICE Magazine+
Editor-in-Chief, TWICE Magazine
Steve Smith is editor-in-chief of TWICE, the trade publication of record for the consumer electronics industry. Smith joined TWICE in 1993 as editor and has covered CE industry since he first attended the International CES in the early 1980s. He has also been editor-in-chief of the International CES Official Daily, which has been published by TWICE since 1994.
The Anti-Defamation League's National Consumer Technology Industry Division presented Smith with its Torch of Liberty award in 2004 and has been a member of its board since 2005. He currently serves as vice chairperson for the Division. During his tenure TWICE has received several editorial awards, most notably the annual Best DTV Journalism award by the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers twice.
As well as being a member of the Leadership Panel for the Samsung Solve For Tomorrow program, Smith is a longtime judge on the Consumer Electronics Association’s CE Hall of Fame committee. He has also been interviewed on television and radio and quoted by various media outlets to discuss key issues facing the consumer electronics industry many times during his career.
Smith has a bachelor's degree in journalism from City College of New York and lives with his wife Marion in Brooklyn, N.Y.
President, National Parent Teacher Association+
President, National Parent Teacher Association
Otha Thornton, president of National PTA, is a senior operations analyst with General Dynamics in Fort Stewart, Georgia. He is a retired United States Army Lieutenant Colonel and his last two assignments were with the White House Communications Agency and United States Forces-Iraq in Baghdad. Thornton earned the Bronze Star Medal for exceptional performance in combat operations during Operation Iraqi Freedom 2009-2010.
Previously, Thornton served on National PTA's Board of Directors, Legislative Committee, Membership Committee, and Executive Search Committee. During his time with Georgia PTA, Otha served on the Board of Directors as legislative chair and as an Advisory Group member for Georgia's Partnership for Excellence in Education.
Thornton also served Maryland PTA as nominating leader, board development committee chairman, and as a member of Anne Arundel County’s Superintendent High Performing High School Task Force. In addition, he was appointed by the governor of Maryland to serve on a Maryland Education Task Force.
Thornton’s military background allowed him to volunteer throughout the country and the world at various local and council levels. Thornton served as president (and earlier as vice president) of Meade Senior High School PTSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. He has also been a volunteer at Kaiserslautern American Elementary and Middle School PTAs, Department of Defense Education Activity, Vogelweh Air Force Base, Kaiserslautern, Germany; South Range Elementary School, South Range, Michigan; Houghton Elementary and Middle Schools, Houghton, Michigan; Fernandez Elementary School PTA events, San Antonio, Texas; and Richmond Hill Elementary School events, Richmond Hill, Georgia.
Thornton is also active in the community. He is a member of Atlanta’s West End Church of Christ and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated. He is a life member of the National Eagle Scout Association and has more than 25 years of active service in the scouting program across the United States and around the world.
Thornton received his bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College and a master’s degree in communications from Michigan Technological University. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Michigan Technological University in 2009. Thornton has been married to Caryn, an educator, for 24 years. They have a daughter and a son.
Publisher, Forbes Magazine+
Publisher, Forbes Magazine
Rich Karlgaard is the publisher of Forbes Magazine, where he writes a biweekly column, Innovation Rules, known for its witty and honest assessment of current business issues. Karlgaard is a regular panelist on cable news' popular business show, Forbes on FOX (with an average viewership of 1.2 million households per show in 2012), and frequent guest analyst on CNBC's The Kudlow Report. My 2004 book, Life 2.0, was a Wall Street Journal business bestseller. He is also an entrepreneur, an active angel investor, and sits on three outside boards. For co-founding Silicon Valley's largest public affairs organization, the 6,500-member Churchill Club, Karlgaard is a past Northern California winner of Ernst & Young's prestigious "Entrepreneur of the Year Award." He earned a B.A. from Stanford University and now lectures up to 50 to 60 times a year on the innovation economy. His latest book, The Soft Edge: Where Great Companies Find Lasting Success, will be released April 7, 2014.
Sr. Manager Global Giving, Adobe+
Sr. Manager Global Giving, Adobe
Miguel Salinas is senior manager of Global Giving at Adobe and program director for the Adobe Foundation. Miguel leads the team responsible for the strategic planning and day-to-day operations for $10 million in charitable investments worldwide on behalf of Adobe and the Adobe Foundation. The team’s global giving portfolio includes Adobe Youth Voices, the foundation’s signature global philanthropy initiative, the Creativity Scholarships program, community sponsorships, Adobe’s software donation program, and more than 70 organizations in the Community Grants and Creativity Grants programs.
Miguel was lead project manager for the visioning and creation of the Adobe Youth Voices program that ignites creative confidence in youth from underserved communities, empowering them to find their voice and make it heard using multimedia and digital tools. Since its inception in 2006, the program has engaged more than 150,000 youth and more than 4,000 educators worldwide, and now includes a network of more than 1,200 schools and out-of-school sites in 55 countries.
Miguel has more than 15 years of experience in philanthropy program management, strategic communications and media. Prior to Adobe he was communications director for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, a national educational nonprofit focused on supporting Latino students to seek and attain a college degree. He has also managed a grants portfolio and strategic communications for worldwide philanthropy programs at Intel Corporation, including the Intel Computer Clubhouse and Intel Teach to the Future initiatives. Miguel began his career as a journalist, covering crime, government and education for various publications in Texas and California.
Miguel has a lifelong passion for advocating for educational opportunities for youth from underserved communities and for supporting the arts. He has been a featured speaker and panelist on youth education and philanthropy issues. He was the 2011 James C. Bowling Executive-in-Residence at the School of Journalism and Telecommunications, University of Kentucky, and was invited to offer an intervention before the United Nations General Assembly at a High-Level Meeting of the UN on Youth.
A native Texan, Miguel is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin where he received a Bachelor of Journalism degree. He is currently in the Master of Liberal Arts program at Stanford University.
Born and raised in inner-city Cleveland, David Boone Jr. is a Gates Millennium Scholar, Ron Brown Scholar, Minds Matter alumni, sophomore at Harvard College and motivational speaker. Through his academic success, David has become a mentor for younger students in his community and is always looking for a way to reform the discussion on K-12 education. Driven to inspire others to change, David has traveled cross country to speak to students and teachers about what they can do to change the stigma surrounding public school systems.
Starting high school, David was homeless and had to balance his difficult personal life with a rigorous academic experience. Maintaining a 4.0 GPA through the most difficult years of high school, David credits much of his success to the people who supported him. Since graduating high school David has gone on to study Computer Science at Harvard College, work at Microsoft and start the Harvard Undergraduate Robotics Club. Through his unique and supportive educational experience, David has been able to accomplish these things and more. However he now hopes that through his story, other people from less previledged backgrounds will be inspired to reach beyong their circumstance. David has come to realize that one opportunity is enough to change lives.
Writer, Director, and Experience Designer+
Writer, Director, and Experience Designer
Lance Weiler is a storyteller, entrepreneur and thought leader. An alumni of the Sundance Screenwriting Lab, he is recognized as a pioneer because of the way he mixes storytelling and technology. WIRED magazine named him “one of 25 people helping to re-invent entertainment and change the face of Hollywood.” Always interested in experimenting with new ways to tell stories and engage audiences, Lance has designed experiences that have reached millions of people via theatres, mobile devices and online. In recognition of these storytelling innovations, BUSINESSWEEK named Lance “One of the 18 Who Changed Hollywood.”
Lance is recognized as a thought leader in the entertainment space. He sits on a World Economic Forum steering committee for the future of content creation and teaches at Columbia University on the art, craft and business of storytelling in the 21st Century. Lance is currently developing a slate of film, tv and gaming projects.
Samsung is dedicated to helping people discover a world of possibilities. We do this through products and technology that inspire passion and give consumers what they expect, and also what they have never dreamed was possible. With these practices in mind, Samsung started the Solve for Tomorrow education contest, giving schools across the U.S. the opportunity to raise interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects among students by awarding their schools with a share of over $2 million* in technology.
See how Samsung Solve for Tomorrow helped to make change in one Alaskan Village Kokhanok Alaska Village
Senator Nydia Vasquez (D-NY) Speaks to 2013 Solve for Tomorrow School MS 88 in Brooklyn, NY
Encouraging Innovation and Working for a Better Tomorrow Solve for Tomorrow Winners from West Salem, OR
2013 Winner Forestview Middle School’s High Altitude Balloon
“We hope that the challenge of this contest, together with the technology for winning schools, will help spark students’ passion to pursue careers that help improve the world through STEM.”
Q. Which schools are eligible to participate?
A. All publicly financed schools are eligible to participate. Charter schools that derive at least 50% of their operating funds from public sources are also eligible.
Q. Do I have to be a STEM teacher?
A. No, this contest is open to ALL teachers regardless of the subject taught. However, the topic of this contest does focus on STEM specifically.
Q. Does it matter what my class size is?
A. No, class size is not a factor.
Q. Do I have to break the class up into groups or can this be an exercise for the whole class?
A. How you divide your classes is entirely up to you. You should do what works best for your teaching style and the dynamic of your class.
Q. What will be included in the Video Kit sent out to the 51 State Finalist teachers?
A. Each State Finalist teacher will receive a package consisting of a Samsung camcorder, Samsung laptop, Adobe Element bundle (a combination of video editing software and Photoshop) and a quick start guide provided by Adobe to help get started with the software usage. Each package will also include a copy of the Official Rules, an information sheet and all documents which must be completed and returned in order to participate in Phase Three.
Q. Do I have to use the products Samsung and Adobe provide for making the video?
A. Yes, in order to keep an equal playing field among all participants, the equipment provided needs to be used.
Q. Do I have to return the equipment provided?
A. No, the State Finalist prize package is yours to keep.
STEM education continues to be a national priority in the U.S., as it has become increasingly apparent that U.S. students are not advancing in math and science at the same pace as in other countries. Through Solve for Tomorrow, Samsung and its partners hope to raise enthusiasm for STEM education, demonstrate how STEM can positively impact our local communities, and reduce the technology gap in classrooms.
Explore the resources below to learn more about the current state of STEM education and how we’re working to improve standards nationwide.
Science Kids: Fun Science & Technology for kids!
Watch videos and play games about animals, plants, chemistry, biology, physics, space, magnets, electricity, forces, light, sounds, gases or other science related topics.Learn more
Science lessons and tools for grades K-12Learn more
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
Math games for parents and teachers to work with their students, as well as books and easy explanations on mathematical problems.Learn more
100+ STEM Websites & Webtools for Teachers
This website provides binder tabs of all STEM related subjects.Learn more
A resource for teachers, mentors, parents, STEM professionals, volunteers, and everyone passionate about getting children eager to learn about science, technology, engineering, and math.Learn more
KODU GAME LAB COMMUNITY
Build, play, and share games that teach the fundamentals of Computer Science.Learn more
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