Student Innovators Earn Top Honors at 2019 Conrad Challenge Innovation Summit

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla.―Eight teams of student innovators from around the world received top honors at the 2019 Conrad Challenge Innovation Summit, held April 23-26 at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Summit was the final competition round for the 2018-19 Conrad Challenge, an annual event that unleashes the potential of students to use their innovative and entrepreneurial skills to create solutions for some of the most pressing global challenges.

This was the 13th year of the Conrad Challenge and more than 400 teams entered the competition. The 2018-19 Challenge began in August, when teams submitted their initial entry and worked on their investor pitch, which they completed in November. Qualifying teams then advanced to the second round in mid-November and worked through mid-January to develop and refine a business plan, market study and visual representation of their commercially viable solutions. Their products were then reviewed and scored by subject matter experts and judges before the finalist teams in each category were selected.

Thirty-seven finalist teams from nine different countries: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Japan, Nigeria, Qatar, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and the United States competed for top awards at the Innovation Summit. Each team was made up of 2-5 students between the ages of 13-18 who have created a new product in one of six categories: Aerospace & Aviation; Cyber-Technology & Security; Energy & Environment; Health & Nutrition; Transforming Education Through Technology; and Smoke-Free World. These student teams attended the Summit to present their products to a live panel of judges with expertise in business, industry, research and academia as they competed for the Challenge’s top honor, being named a Pete Conrad Scholar.

“We are so proud of the record number of young innovators who participated in this year’s Conrad Challenge. Each year we have the pleasure to observe these amazing entrepreneurial thinkers who create solutions to significant global challenges,” said Nancy Conrad, founding chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “The 2019 Pete Conrad Scholars and other award winners truly earned their respective honors, bringing their ‘A’ game to the Innovation Summit. We congratulate all of the extraordinary student teams who earned top honors for their participation in the 2018-19 Challenge.”

The following teams were recognized as Pete Conrad Scholars, the competition’s top award named in honor of Apollo 12 astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad and his three-decade pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurship:

●        Aerospace & Aviation: EnerX Systems (India)

●        Cyber-Technology & Security: Falcon Startups (Australia)

●        Energy & Environment: SAFE (New Hampshire, USA)

●        Health & Nutrition: Firebird MEI (Japan)

●        Transforming Education Through Technology: SpeakEasy (Texas, USA)

●        Smoke-Free World, India Challenge: Spicearettes (Colorado, USA)

●        Smoke-Free World, Malawi Challenge: LRK Labs (California, USA)

●        Smoke-Free World, United States Challenge: VapeMate (Nevada, USA)

Each winning team received a distinctive medal and Pete Conrad Scholar certificate, a Dell Chromebook 2-in-1 for each team member; a market research assessment from the Wisconsin Innovation Service Center, a one-year associate membership to Sigma Xi, and access to the Founders Space Online Startup Program. Individual team members are also eligible to receive a $15,000 per year scholarship to Thomas Jefferson University or Clarkson University, and a 15 percent discount to attend a Camp BizSmart entrepreneur academy in Silicon Valley in Summer 2019. Further, NEXUS will select one Pete Conrad Scholar team to attend their July 2019 NEXUS Summit in New York, all expenses paid, and all winning teams have the opportunity to apply for pro bono services from both Arent Fox and Dentons to support the patent process.

Smoke-Free World, sponsored by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), was a category for the second consecutive year and for the first time was divided into three distinct subcategories to address challenges in different parts of the world. The Pete Conrad Scholar team representing the India subcategory received an all-expense paid trip to India to meet a FSFW grantee to further discuss solutions to end bidi consumption in the region; the winning team representing the Malawi subcategory received an all-expense paid trip to the Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa; and the winning team in the United States subcategory received an all-expense paid trip to Catania, Italy to meet a FSFW grantee who is researching tobacco harm reduction.

Transforming Education Through Technology was a first-time special category sponsored by SMART Technologies, a world leader in classroom technology for over 25 years. Students were invited to design new technologies or services that will help transform education experiences leading to better outcomes for individual students, schools or communities. The winning Pete Conrad Scholar team is invited to join SMART at the 2019 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Conference in Philadelphia, the largest EdTech conference in the United States. The winning team will have the opportunity to present their innovation to school and district leaders from around the world and participate in presentations and sessions during the three-day event.  

The “Power Pitch” awards, also presented by the Conrad Foundation, were earned by the teams who best presented their pitch on-stage at the Innovation Summit in front of the live judges, their peers and industry professionals. The following teams were recognized with this honor:

●        Aerospace & Aviation: Recon (North Carolina, USA)

●        Cyber-Technology & Security: Protective Eyez (Illinois, USA)

●        Energy & Environment: Pinesight AI (Colorado, USA) and Trashless (Thailand)

●        Health & Nutrition: Apollo Neurotech (New Jersey, USA)

●        Transforming Education Through Technology: Simulated Education (North Carolina, USA)

●        Smoke-Free World, India Challenge: Aarogya Solutions (India)

●        Smoke-Free World, Malawi Challenge: Tobacco-cide (North Carolina, USA)

●        Smoke-Free World, United States Challenge: CalTab Solutions (Colorado, USA)

In addition to the Conrad Foundation awards, the following special awards were also distributed at the four-day event: 

●        America’s Navy Gemini Award: SpeakEasy (Texas, USA)

●        The NASA Recognition Award: EnerX Systems (India) and Katang Labs (India)

●        Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex’s Good Citizen Award: Malawi Hurt 2 Health (Colorado, USA)

●        Conrad Social Media Award: The Alpacorn (Thailand)

●        Chairman's Innovative Teacher Award: Kristie Letter, Peak to Peak Charter School (Colorado, USA)

The 2018-2019 Conrad Challenge was made possible by the support of its partners: The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, SMART Technologies, Bezos Family Foundation, America’s Navy, Delaware North, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Carter Ledyard & Milburn LLP, Griffin Communications Group, Arent Fox, Camp BizSmart, Clarkson University, Dell, Dentons, Jefferson Engineering, Sigma Xi, and Wisconsin Innovation Service Center. The Challenge was also supported by media partners and champion partners. Learn more about all sponsors and partners here.

More than 6,000 students have participated in the Conrad Challenge from more than 70 countries. To learn more about the 2018-19 winners, visit Students and educators interested in participating in the 2019-20 Challenge can sign up to receive more information by visiting this page.

About The Conrad Foundation

The Conrad Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting collaborative, student-centered, real world-relevant learning that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship. Through its programs, the Foundation unleashes students’ potential to create impactful solutions and a sustainable society for generations to come. For more information, visit

Lauren Quesada

Griffin Communications Group

Office: 832-864-7224

Posted: May 9, 2019
in Media Releases