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February 5, 2009

Vote Online for the Nation's Most Innovative High School Teams

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC The Conrad Foundation of San Francisco has announced 21 high school teams as finalists for the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards, which challenge students to design commercially viable products using science and technology.

Sigma Xi is among the partnering organizations for the awards program. Tasked with developing innovative products in the fields of personal spaceflight, lunar exploration and renewable energy, teams now need public support for their products.

The finalist teams are:

ALGAE, Teknatheos, Inc, Orange Park, Florida
Beamers, North Miami Beach HS, Miami Beach, Florida
BioH, N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, Durham, North Carolina
DCs Army, The Haverford School, Haverford, Pennsylvania
Energy Electrified, Mission San Jose HS, Fremont, California
Energy Solutions Group, McAlpine Science Club, Evergreen, Colorado
Extreme Science, Latino College Prep Academy, San Jose, California
Final Frontier Apparel, Milken Community HS, Los Angeles, California
GADGET, Glenbrook North HS, Northbrook, Illinois
Global Challenge, Dongchang HS, Shanghai, China
HarwellAsturia Labs, Cinco Ranch HS, Katy, Texas
Academy of Engineering, Los Altos HS, Hacienda Heights, California
MAST, Milken Community HS, Los Angeles, California
NCACP Engineering, New Castle Career Program, New Castle, Indiana
Unicorns, N.C. School of Science & Math, Durham, North Carolina
NGWC, N.C. School of Science & Math, Durham, North Carolina
Seattle Instruments, Aviation HS, Seattle, Washington
Team 168, North Miami Beach HS, Miami Beach, Florida
The Renewables, North Miami Beach HS, Miami Beach, Florida
TJ Alpha, Thomas Jefferson HS for Science, Alexandria, Virginia
We Miss Pluto, Hampton, Virginia

All finalist team profiles are now posted at www.conradawards.org. The public can read about each team's product, cast votes, provide comments and financially support their favorite team(s). Grants will be used for research and prototype development. Public votes will be tallied along with those of the judges to determine the winners.

Sigma Xi members are encouraged to become involved as judges for the competition, both online and for the final round of judging April 2-4 at the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California. Teams will compete for opportunities to commercialize their products.

"This is a dynamic way to take an active role in creating a future of innovation in science and technology," said Nancy Conrad, founder of The Conrad Foundation.

The foundation and the awards are named for the commander of the Apollo 12 mission who was the third man to walk on the moon.

Conrad was expelled in the 11th grade from a prestigious school in Haverford, Pennsylvania, because no one recognized that he was dyslexic. At Darrow School in New Lebanon, New York, it wasn't long before the headmaster saw something special in him.

With encouragement, Conrad began to gain confidence and excel in his studies. He was awarded a scholarship to Princeton University and eventually had the opportunity to fly Gemini 5 and Gemini 6 and command the Apollo 12 mission.

After retiring from NASA, Conrad pursued his own entrepreneurial spirit, starting four successful companies while continuing his love for exploration. It is in a salute to his entrepreneurial spirit that the Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Awards were created.

About Sigma Xi
Founded in 1886, Sigma Xi is the international honor society of research scientists and engineers, with more than 500 chapters at colleges and universities, government laboratories and industry research centers. Membership is by invitation, in recognition of research potential or achievement. Over the years, more than 200 Sigma Xi members have received the Nobel Prize. In addition to publishing American Scientist magazine, the non-profit society awards hundreds of grants annually to student researchers and sponsors a variety of programs that support science and engineering.


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