America, meet your future (young) innovators

U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra announced the winners of the National STEM Video Game Challenge. America, meet the next generation of programmers.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

"When I grow up, I want to be a software developer."

U.S. chief technical officer Aneesh Chopra on Wednesday announced the winners of the National STEM Video Game Challenge, a competition for primary school-aged kids to develop educational video games for their peers.

The point of the competition is to motivate interest in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering, and math.

There were two separate competitions: one for students, and one for experienced developers. The 12 winners of the student competition -- in grades 5 through 8 -- were selected for their original game designs from a pool of more than 500 entries.

The 12 winners of the Youth Prize:

  • Geoffrey Wang, "Your Adventure," Grade 5, Claypit Hill School (Wayland, Mass.)
  • Rhys Wynn Wilkinson, "Untitled," Grade 5, Ecole Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Manor, Texas)
  • Joshua Schoen, "The Quest," Grade 5, Georgia Cyber Academy (Canton, Ga.)
  • Tate Welty, "Outstanding Math Game," Grade 5, Orono Schools (Orono, Minn.)
  • Bailey Sperling, "Extreme Depths," Grade 6, Suffern Middle School (Montebello, N.Y.)
  • Jacob Cothrun, "H.E.L.P. Earth," Grade 6, Sepulveda Elementary (Sparks, Nev.)
  • Shireen Zaineb, "Discover…," Grade 7, Milwaukee Montessori School (Milwaukee, Wis.)
  • Jasper Hugunin, "Robot Commander," Grade 7, Islander Middle School (Mercer Island, Wash.)
  • Kendall McGowan, "Green Island," Grade 7, William H. Lincoln School (Brookline, Mass.)
  • Muhammad Al-Fatih Ridha, "Zuff's Adventure," Grade 8, homeschooled (Beaverton, Ore.)
  • Annie Jacobson, "Alien of My Own," Grade 8, The Nightingale-Bamford School (New York, N.Y.)
  • Mark Fretheim, "Deity," Grade 8, Austin Academy for Excellence (Garland, Texas)

They will each receive an AMD-based laptop computer and educational software, and their school (or non-profit organization of their choosing) will receive $2,000 cash.

The winning games of the developer category had science and math themes. The first, "You Make Me Sick!" by Dan Norton and Dan White, teaches children about the structure of bacteria and viruses and how they spread.

The second, "NumbaPower: Numbaland!" by Derek Lomas, Dixie Chin and Jeanine Sun, is a series of four games to help teach number concepts to children in kindergarten through 4th grade.

Each team will receive $50,000.

In a video, meet America's future inventors:

I can barely program my remote, so color me impressed. Congratulations to them all!

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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