Apparently, since it began, this is the first time that out of 2,348 middle schoolers, more girls than boys were chosen to try out their strengths in the competition.
The Broadcom MASTERS National STEM Competition this year saw something amazing happen—for the first time since the competition was launched in 2010, all top 5 prizes were awarded to girls. That wasn't the only surprising outcome from this year. Apparently, since it began, this is the first time that out of 2,348 middle schoolers, more girls than boys were chosen to try out their strengths in the competition. The finalists were judged for their knowledge of STEM subjects and demonstration of 21st-century skills, such as critical thinking, communication, creativity, collaborative skills, and teamwork. Alaina Gassler, Sidor Clare, Rachel Bergey, Lauren Ejiaga, and Alexis MacAvoy were the finalists.
“Congratulations to Alaina, whose project has the potential to decrease the number of automobile accidents by reducing blind spots,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “With so many challenges in our world, Alaina and her fellow Broadcom MASTERS finalists make me optimistic. I am proud to lead an organization that is inspiring so many young people, especially girls, to continue to innovate.”
“Who runs the world?” 😉 https://t.co/YceuOc19R5— Robin R Feinberg (@robinrfeinberg) November 30, 2019
“I speak for Henry and Susan Samueli as well as the Broadcom Foundation to express our excitement in awarding the Samueli Foundation Prize to Alaina for her remarkable achievements in all of the STEM challenges as well as her leadership in competition throughout the week. It is her total contribution to the Broadcom MASTERS in addition to her impressive work on her science fair project as a talented young engineer seeking to improve automobile safety that earned her this prestigious award," said Paula Golden, President of the Broadcom Foundation. “She, along with the entire Class of 2019, are already leaders in their fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These young innovators give every one of us hope for the future."
Way to go, girls! Congrats. https://t.co/ZwJ52mP7G7— Danita Cahill (@DanitaCahill) November 29, 2019
Alaina Gassler, 14, from West Grove, Pennsylvania, won the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, for her project that reduces blind spots in cars and also for her exemplary performance during the Broadcom MASTERS’s hands-on challenges. "The prize is a gift of Dr. Henry Samueli, Chairman of the Board, Broadcom Inc., and Chair of the Broadcom Foundation and his wife, Dr. Susan Samueli, President of the Samueli Foundation."
Rachel Bergey, 14, from Harleysville, Pennsylvania, won the $10,000 Lemelson Award for Invention, awarded by The Lemelson Foundation to a young inventor creating promising solutions to real-world problems. Rachel developed a trap made of tinfoil and netting for the Spotted Lanternfly, an invasive species causing damage to trees in Pennsylvania. “Spotted Lanternflies are most likely the largest economic threat facing Pennsylvania today, and thousands of them have invaded my family’s maple trees,” says Rachel.
Sidor Clare, 14, from Sandy, Utah, won the $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation, an honor made possible by Samueli’s generous donation of his 2012 Marconi Society Prize Award. Sidor invented bricks that could be made on Mars, someday, so that humans would not be required to bring building materials with us in order to build there. How innovative, right? And to think she's only 14.
Alexis MacAvoy, 14, from Hillsborough, California, won the $10,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement, which recognizes the student whose work and performance shows the most promise in health-related fields and demonstrates an understanding of the many social factors that affect health. Alexis designed a water filter using carbon to remove heavy metals from water. Now, clean drinking water need not be inaccessible.
Lauren Ejiaga, 14, from New Orleans, Louisiana, won the $10,000 STEM Talent Award, sponsored by DoD STEM, for demonstrating excellence in science, technology, engineering or math, along with the leadership and technical skills necessary to excel in the 21st Century STEM workforce and build a better community for tomorrow. Lauren’s research concentrated on how current levels of ultraviolet light from the sun due to ozone depletion affects plant growth and performance. Hurray to all these bright, badass girls!