December 22, 2023

Windham’s Katahdin Program a state finalist in 'Solve for Tomorrow' STEM competition

Samsung Electronics America has announced that Windham High School’s Katahdin Program is among six state finalists in the 14th annual “Samsung Solve for Tomorrow” national STEM competition.

Students in Windham High School's Katahdin Program
are among six state finalists in the 14th annual 'Samsung
Solve for Tomorrow' national STEM competition and have
won a package of $2,500 in technology and school
supplies for the program. COURTESY PHOTO  
Representing the best of more than one thousand competition entrants, each state finalist has won a package of $2,500 in technology and school supplies. The finalist schools now advance to additional stages of the competition that will culminate in three schools being selected in May as National Winners and receive $100,000 prize packages.

The annual Solve for Tomorrow competition challenges public school students in Grades 6 to 12 to explore the role science, technology, engineering, and math (the core STEM subjects) can play in addressing some of the biggest issues in their local communities. The competition is designed to engage students in active, hands-on learning that can be applied to real-world problems, making STEM more tangible and showcasing its value beyond the classroom.

“As a company and as individuals, STEM is incredibly important to Samsung – we depend on STEM-savvy people to envision, implement, and engage with innovative STEM-dependent products and services,” said Michelle Crossan-Matos, Chief Marketing, Citizenship and Communications Officer for Samsung Electronics America. "Between 2019 and 2029, the number of STEM jobs are predicted to grow 8 percent, a higher rate than non-STEM jobs."

Crossan-Matos said that while STEM skills are key to a 21st century workforce, we know that national test scores in STEM subjects like Math have fallen by the largest margin in 30-plus years.

"The Solve for Tomorrow competition was designed to provide schools and teachers with an innovative, problem-based learning approach to STEM education to boost student interest, proficiency, and diversity in STEM," she said. "This fresh crop of impressive State Finalists is proof that we’re succeeding.”

Ann Woo, Senior Director, Corporate Citizenship for Samsung Electronics America, said that several significant trends in the program proposals submitted have been observed.

“Every year’s entries provide a window into the concerns and aspirations on the minds of that cohort of middle and high school students,” Woo said. “A common theme this year is ‘connecting’ whether that’s connecting people to people, peer to peer, across generations, or even around the globe. In fact, one school’s entry is based on its connection with a school in Ukraine, proposing a solution for providing solar power to students in a war-ravaged community. Climate change, school/student safety, and mental health are other top issues of concern for this year’s problem-solvers.”

The Katahdin Program uses the classroom, the outdoors, and the greater community and provides alternative education programming for students in Grades 9 to 12 attending Windham High School.

Windham’s Katahdin Program joins Camden Hills Regional High School, Falmouth High School, Fort Fairfield Middle High School, Saco Middle School, and South Portland High School as this year’s state finalists for Maine. The Maine State Winners will be announced in mid-February 2024.

State Winners will receive a prize of $20,000 in technology and supplies and advance to the next phase of the competition. Each State Winner will also be given a video kit to help document their project in action.

Samsung Solve for Tomorrow launched in 2010 to encourage innovative thinking, creative problem-solving, and teamwork to address the most pressing issues impacting society. Today the competition fosters critical thinking and creative problem solving, anchored in problem-based learning.

To date, Samsung has awarded $24 million in technology and classroom materials to nearly 3,000 public schools in the United States. Solve for Tomorrow has been so impactful that it has expanded into a prominent Global citizenship program for Samsung Electronics now running in 33 countries worldwide and reaching over 2.1 million students around the world. <

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