The STEMPowering Youth innovation contest

STEMPowering Youth is an extra-curricular STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) program implemented by the non-for-profit educational organization Scico, with the support of the Vodafone Foundation and the academic contribution of Ellinogermaniki Agogi, since 2017. In each cycle of the program, 13-16 year old students from remote areas of Greece are given the opportunity to obtain new knowledge and skills on topics of science and technology. One of the main goals of the program is to teach the students how to apply their skills and scientific thinking as well as their creativity in order to design a project aimed at resolving a problem of their local community.

To encourage this goal, Scico has created the “STEMPowering Youth” innovation contest. All teams or students participating in the program are eligible to take part in the contest, by creating a project with the following characteristics:

  • resolution of a problem of the local community
  • innovation
  • creative presentation

Students are also encouraged to utilize arduino programming technology, to construct a device related to telecommunications or to tackle an ecological problem, such as the use of renewable energy sources.

Based on the above criteria, at the end of each cycle,  the contest committee selects three projects which excelled in resolving a problem of their local community in an innovative and creative way. The three winning teams are awarded a trophy of their choice, such as a 3D Doodler pen or an Arduino robotic vehicle. At the end of the academic year, one team out of all the winning teams of each cycle is awarded the contest’s grand prize: an educational trip to Switzerland to visit CERN, one of the biggest research institutions in Europe, home to more than 10.000 scientists.

With the conclusion of the 2017-2018 academic year and the completion of the second and third cycles of the program, it is time to announce the winners of the STEMPowering Youth contest. The three winning teams of the second cycle were the “Light Sign for an Irish bridge (low-water crossing)” from Komotini, the “Hospital Drone”, from Kalimnos, and the “AgroSensor”, from Didymoteicho.  An honorary distinction was awarded to the “Senior SOS” project from Rhodes.

After the completion of the third cycle in the summer of 2018, three more winning teams were announced: The “Smart Chicken-house” from Moires, Herakleion, the “Smart Traffic-Light” from Leros and the “Pill Reminder” from Siteia, Lasithi. It is worth noting that 6 teams from all over Greece had focused on designing projects aimed at fire-safety. To honour the younger generation’s commitment to the protection of our country, in light of the tragic wildfires which devastated Athens in July 2018, these teams will be awarded an honorary distinction.

From the six teams that were distinguished for their innovation and creativity, the contest committee awards the grand prize to the students of Leros for their “Smart Traffic-Light” project. The students utilized arduino technology in an innovative way in order to face the problem of traffic congestion in the narrow streets of their island, and mobilized the local community and authorities for the resolution of the problem. The three students (Theologos, Eleni, and Mariangela), along with their educator Filippos Karavatos will travel to CERN, Switzerland in the autumn of 2018.