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Young STEM Innovators and Entrepreneurs Recognized During 2017 Spirit of Innovation Summit
Young STEM Innovators and Entrepreneurs Recognized
During 2017 Spirit of Innovation Summit
Cape Canaveral, FL – May 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / Five teams of young entrepreneurs from around the world received top honors at the 2017 Innovation Summit, which took place April 27-29 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Hosted by the Conrad Foundation, the Summit is the final competition round for the 2016-2017 Spirit of Innovation Challenge.

The annual competition provides young innovators and entrepreneurs a platform to share their commercially-viable, technology-based ideas before they even graduate high school. This year 145 student teams, ages 13-18, created new products and services focused on the following four categories: Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber Technology & Security, Energy & Environment and Health & Nutrition. Coaches and judges from the best in business, industry, research and academia worldwide were there to guide the teams’ innovative ideas. Among those entries, 42 teams were named Finalists and attended the 2017 Summit to present their products to a live panel of judges.

“Each year I continued to be amazed by the talent of today’s students,” explained Nancy Conrad, Founder and Chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “They are truly our future and we are so glad they chose to feature their innovations in the Conrad Challenge. This year we had teams from across the country as well as the world with guests from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, New Zealand and Thailand.”

The following teams were named this year’s Pete Conrad Scholars, in honor of Apollo 12 astronaut, Charles “Pete” Conrad, and his three-decade pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Aerospace & Aviation:
NCSSM Vibration Isolation Box from North Carolina School of Mathematics in Durham, North Carolina

Cyber-Technology & Security:
TIER from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, Florida

Energy & Environment:
Styro-Filter from Columbus Academy and Gahanna Lincoln High School in Columbus, Ohio

Health & Nutrition:
Ocular from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia

Each winning team received a distinctive medal in honor of Conrad, a free market research assessment from the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center and one year associate membership to Sigma Xi. In addition all of the Conrad Finalists were awarded the opportunity to apply for the Dentons’ Patent Prize and Enventys Partners Prize both of which provide professional consultations to the teams to further their product development.

The Foundation also awarded “Power Pitch” awards in each category to the team(s) who presented the best pitch on-stage in front of the live judges, their peers and industry professionals. The following teams were recognized for their presentation skills:

  • Aerospace & Aviation: Firebird SORA from Seisen International School in Tokyo, Japan
  • Cyber-Technology & Security: Dark Horse from Centennial High School, Independence High School and Reedy High School in Frisco, Texas and Team TrackR from Brisbane State High School in South Brisbane, Australia
  • Energy & Environment: Beachbot Labs from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire
  • Health & Nutrition: Derryfield Lily Pods from The Derryfield School in Manchester, New Hampshire and Sentec from McLean High School and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Virginia
In addition, the Nancy Conrad Innovative Teacher of the Year award was given to Mirza Faizan of Irving, Texas. Faizan received the honor for being an outstanding advocate for STEM education and dedicated mentor to his student teams. This year he brought two teams to Summit and has mentored student teams in the competition for the last five years.

This year also marked the first year for three special awards by America’s Navy, NASA Goddard and InvenTeam initiative, administered by the Lemelson-MIT Program.

  • America’s Navy Gemini Award was awarded to Styro-Filter as the team who best reflected the Navy characteristics of teamwork, diversity, innovation and hard work.
  • The NASA Goddard Technology Award recognized NCSSM Vibration Isolation Box as the team who best incorporated existing NASA technologies that were made available to the Finalists.
  • InvenTeam awarded Deer Misses from Battle Creek Area Math and Science Center in Battle Creek, Michigan with immediate advancement to their finalist round to compete for grants up to $10,000.
The 2016-2017 Spirit of Innovation Challenge was made possible by America’s Navy, Battelle, NASA, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Delaware North, Forward Industries, Griffin Communications Group, Carter Ledyard, Sigma Xi, Dentons, Wisconsin Innovation Service Center and Enventys Partners.

For more information on the winners, visit

About The Conrad Foundation
The Conrad Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to immersive learning and the opportunity for students to use the lessons they learn in the classroom to create commercially viable products in sustainability. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind whose programs combine science and technology-based education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit

Media Contacts:
Lauren Walbert
Sandy Hillman Communications
Office: 410-616-8943
Mobile: 443-683-0294

Lauren Quesada
Griffin Communications Group
Office: 281-335-0200
Mobile: 281-744-7938

About Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex brings to life the epic story of the U.S. space program, offering a full day or more of fun, inspiration and educational activities, including its newest attraction, Heroes & Legends, featuring the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame®, presented by Boeing, which opened November 11, 2016. Other highlights include the Kennedy Space Center Tour featuring the Apollo/Saturn V Center with an actual Saturn V moon rocket, Space Shuttle Atlantis®, Shuttle Launch Experience®, IMAX® A Beautiful Planet 3D and Journey To Space 3D films, Astronaut Encounter, Journey To Mars: Explorers Wanted, Science on a Sphere®, Rocket Garden, Cosmic Quest, and many other exhibits. Only 45 minutes from Orlando, Fla., Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex opens daily at 9 a.m. with closing times varying by season. Admission is $50 + tax for adults and $40 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex offers annual passes starting at $75 + tax for adults and $60 + tax for children ages 3 – 11. For more information, call 877-313-2610 or visit

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About Delaware North
Delaware North is one of the largest privately-held hospitality and food service companies in the world. Founded in 1915 and owned by the Jacobs family, Delaware North has global operations at high-profile places such as sports and entertainment venues, national and state parks, destination resorts and restaurants, airports, and regional casinos. Our thousands of employee associates are dedicated to creating special experiences one guest at a time in serving more than 500 million guests annually. Delaware North has annual revenue of about $3 billion in the sports, travel hospitality, restaurants and catering, parks, resorts, gaming, and specialty retail industries. Learn more about Delaware North, a global leader in hospitality and food service, at

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Rebecca Shireman
Assistant Public Relations Manager
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Delaware North
Publishing Dates: 05/09/17 – 07/09/17
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