Next-Generation Engineers Compete for $100,000 Scholarships
Shane Laros posted on May 24, 2016 |
Siemens Foundation competition awards scholarships to encourage students to pursue STEM education.

To some, the Discovery Channel may seem to have deviated from it’s original goal of producing quality nonfiction programming. 

However, the wider Discovery Communications, specifically its education division, continues to encourage high school students to pursue STEM fields in college and university through its administration of the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology.

The 2016 competition is currently open for entries. Operated by the Siemens Foundation, this competition has awarded engineering-minded high school students post-secondary education scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $100,000 based on their original ideas.

Students progress through regional competition rounds in online forums, presenting to panels of judges at participating universities. Winners of the regional level competitions then have the opportunity to present their idea in person to an expert panel of scientists and mathematicians at the National Finals held at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

Competitions Foster Interest and Enthusiasm in STEM

STEM fields remain at low attendance in many U.S. post-secondary institutions, despite the industry’s need for regular innovation and improvement across all fields. Any avenue to encourage students in this direction is a benefit, and competitions are a common way to pursue this encouragement

The competition provides resources and direction for interested applicants, and even goes so far as to direct students to various mentorship programs that may be of assistance to them. The Siemens competition certainly encourages these students to consider STEM fields, but has another benefit - it can bring out the best in young engineers.

Showcasing the Best and Brightest Young Engineers

Students who show an interest in engineering and the sciences in high school have an avenue to show surprising innovation – and a chance to try something they may never have otherwise attempted.

As an example, last year’s winner Maria Elena Grimmett developed a method for removing an environmentally harmful veterinary antibiotic, sulfamethazine, from bodies of water. The process was designed to be safe, scalable, and uses existing infrastructure for distribution. 

Beyond just developing and sharing an idea within the contest, however, the student’s work made her the youngest author to be published in the Journal of Environmental Quality. The below video shows part of Grimmett’s presentation describing her research to the panel of judges:

High school students are often overlooked when it comes to their ability to contribute to serious scientific study. However, the Siemens competition shows that with the right encouragement - such as a $100,000 university scholarship - students can not only bring new ideas to the forefront, but go on to lead the charge in technological and engineering innovation.

New generations of engineers are working side-by-side with the old to expand on current technologies, and are making great strides, especially in the areas of green energy and sustainability.

In an industry fueled by innovation, competitions that encourage those already engaged in, or thinking of entering, STEM fields are of paramount importance. The Siemens Foundation also has programs for young engineers entering the workforce, particularly in the area of “middle-skill” jobs and training.

The competition is accepting submissions from now through the deadline of Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

Please visit the Siemens Competition website to register or find more information.

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