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A Look Back at ExploraVision 2020


Every year in June, the national winners of the Toshiba/NSTA ExploraVision competition travel to Washington, D.C. for an exciting awards weekend in the nation’s capital. This year was different; it was special. Despite being unable to gather together in person, the eight winning teams, their coaches, parents, and executives from Toshiba and NSTA were able to celebrate virtually through a livestreamed ceremony.

Duncan Kane, SVP of Toshiba America, said it best as he addressed this year’s national winners: “Less than a decade ago, this meeting simply could not have occurred. The ability for individuals to join together in picture and sound, over a distance, with just the push of a few buttons was in fact the stuff of science fiction. I am able to speak to you today only because of smart and visionary people that applied technology at companies like Toshiba, and they pioneered the tools we use today.”

ExploraVision encourages young students across the country to envision a brighter future: one where STEM, creative thinking, and collaborative teamwork can lead to innovations that turn science fiction into reality.

The national winners of this year’s ExploraVision competition did just that. From medical treatment and safety innovations, sustainability and ecosystem preservation efforts, to energy efficiency and green power solutions, these students developed groundbreaking solutions to some of the world’s most pressing problems. Their projects are listed below:

First-Place Winners

Grade K-3: Get Away! Bacteriophage 

Friday Harbor Elementary School, Friday Harbor, Washington 

Grade 4-6: Ground-Based Airport Runway (GBAR) Turbines 
Northmoor Elementary, Engelwood, Ohio

Grade 7-9: Engineering C. reinhardtii to Biodegrade the Pollutant Polyethylene Terephthalate 
McCullough Jr. High School, The Woodlands, Texas

Grade 10-12: Self-Immunizing Joint Replacements 
Alabama School of Math & Science, Mobile, Alabama

Second-Place Winners 

Grade K-3: Playfinder 
L.D. Batchelder Elementary School, North Reading, Massachusetts

Grade 4-6: Ai Medic Bee 
St. Joseph School Seattle, Seattle, Washington

Grade 7-9: CO2RS: A Cleaner Future 
John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School, Aurora, Illinois

Grade 10-12: Neurofibrillary De-Tangler 
The Bronx High School of Science, Bronx, New York

To wrap up the first-ever virtual awards ceremony in the twenty-eight years of ExploraVision, Bill Nye the Science Guy encouraged the national winners to pursue their interest in STEM to make the world a better place. “As crazy as things seem to be, things are actually better for more people around the world than they’ve ever been. And the reason for that is science.”

By advancing STEM education, nurturing creative thought, and promoting collaboration, the ExploraVision program invests in the scientists of tomorrow to build a future that raises the quality of life across the world.