A Work-From-Home Challenge — Students to Combat COVID-19; A New York Academy of Sciences STEM Innovation Challenge

The New York Academy of Sciences today is launching a work-from-home student competition to help young people strengthen research and critical thinking skills by developing technologies to help address the current coronavirus outbreak.

The Academy’s global Combating COVID-19 Innovation Challenge is an online competition for young people aged 13–17, working independently or collaborating with peers through a virtual platform.

“We leveraged our experience running Innovation Challenges to launch this challenge quickly, as a way to help young people continue important learning while their schools may be closed due to the health emergency,” said Chenelle Bonavito Martinez, the Academy’s Vice President of STEM Talent Programs. “We also hope that encouraging young people to focus on solutions might aid them in managing stress in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.”

The COVID-19 Innovation Challenge calls for young people to design technology-based solutions to slow the spread of the disease.  Students can sign up starting today. The six-week Challenge will begin on March 25, when a detailed challenge question will be released.  Solutions will be due May 6, and winners will be announced in June.

Once signed up, participants will be invited to join Launchpad, the Academy’s online collaboration platform. Students around the world can use Launchpad to form teams and collaborate to design and present their ideas. During the challenge, students will have access to learning resources and opportunities to connect, via Launchpad, with experts.

The Academy, through its Global STEM Alliance, has a long history of running programs designed to help young people engage in science, technology, engineering, and math. “Research shows that innovation challenges increase student engagement, deepen their knowledge of STEM content, and foster 21st-century skills like critical thinking, creativity, and communication,” said Hank Nourse, the Academy’s Chief Learning Officer. “These skills are becoming increasingly important in 21st-century workplaces—across STEM and non-STEM industries alike. In many classrooms, students have limited opportunities to practice these skills, so innovation challenges can play an important role in rounding out a student’s education.”

The Academy has run innovation challenges since 2010, in fields at the leading edge of science, technology, and news headlines. Challenges specifically for students have included: “Cybersecurity in the Age of the Internet of Things,” “Intelligent Homes and Health,” “Natural Disasters: Relief & Recovery,” “Wildfires: Tracking, Prevention, and Containment,” “The Future of Buildings and Cities,” and “Decarbonizing the Global Energy System.”

To sign up for the Combating COVID-19 Challenge, young people aged 13–17 should visit: https://www.nyas.org/challenges/combating-covid-19/

The Grand Prize Winner of the Challenge will receive a $500 travel scholarship to attend the Global STEM Alliance Summit at the Academy’s headquarters in New York City. The top three winners will receive Membership in the New York Academy of Sciences, and acceptance into its prestigious Junior Academy.

Other New York Academy of Sciences Programming on COVID-19
The New York Academy of Sciences is committed to providing important, science-based information about the coronavirus outbreak. Next month, on Wednesday, April 22nd, at 6:30PM EDT, the Academy will host a webinar, New Developments in the COVID-19 OutbreakSpeakers will include Dr. Michael Osterholm, an expert on epidemic preparedness and response, and Dr. Peter Daszak of EcoHealth Alliance. Please be sure to register to receive access to this free event.

Please read a recap of an Academy webinar held on March 12, The New Coronavirus: What You Need to Know. A full recording of the webinar is also available. This program featured Dr. Osterholm and Dr. Julie Gerberding, a vaccine expert and former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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