SparkFun Sponsors White House "Making for Change" Innovation Challenge

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Colorado-based embedded electronics retailer continues support for STEM education by partnering with White House to found new initiative for underrepresented students.

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"The opportunity to help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities explore making and tinkering as pathways to solve local problems in their community directly ties in with our goal to improve engagement with underrepresented students."

SparkFun Electronics (http://www.sparkfun.com), a provider of parts, knowledge and passion that helps anyone explore electronics, is proud to continue its relationship with the White House with the donation of hardware to support a new innovation challenge aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The new Making for Change Showcase, from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was announced at the 5th White House Science Fair on Monday, March 23, 2015, and hopes to encourage hands-on STEM learning, facilitate entrepreneurship and expand advanced manufacturing capabilities here in the U.S.

The annual White House Science Fair celebrates the student winners of a broad range of STEM competitions across America. The President will announce new steps as part of his Educate to Innovate campaign to get more girls and boys inspired and prepared to excel in the critical STEM fields. Building on these announcements, this year’s White House Science Fair includes a focus on diversity and inclusion in STEM.

The Making for Change Showcase, which is part of a larger effort to engage students in traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM fields, will challenge student teams at more than ten Historically Black Colleges and Universities (http://www.hbcuinnovation.org/) to design prototypes aimed at solving local problems in their communities. The White House reached out to SparkFun for involvement in February 2015, and the company donated the kits and hardware to equip many of the student teams as they begin their prototypes.

"We are excited to continue our relationship with the White House's efforts in improving engagement of students in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through making," said SparkFun's Director of Education Lindsay Diamond. "The opportunity to help students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities explore making and tinkering as pathways to solve local problems in their community directly ties in with our goal to improve engagement with underrepresented students. We look forward to seeing how the student teams innovate new solutions to these community challenges."

Diamond's presence at the Science Fair reinforces SparkFun's ongoing commitment to improving access to and interest in STEM education initiatives nationwide. The White House will be running an ongoing live-stream of the event at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live from 10:00 am to 12:15 am ET.

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Chris McGrady
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