Ford Next Generation Learning (NGL) has teamed up with the Ford STEAM program to award $50,000 in grants to creative high school students who are using their STEAM skills to advance sustainable communities and make people’s lives better.
Building on the success of Ford’s College Community Challenge, the Ford STEM High School Community Challenge was launched to empower students in the nationwide Ford NGL network to put their knowledge to work making positive changes for people in the community. Student leadership was an essential part of each winning proposal, along with the participation of community partners. Students explored real-life issues and ways to address unmet needs in technology, alternative energy, health and other areas.
Winning projects were selected by a panel of Ford reviewers with first place awarded $20,000, second-place winners awarded $10,000 each and third place receiving grants of $5,000 each to implement their inventive solutions.
Representing their schools, winning teams of students will lead the following initiatives:
- Whites Creek High School, Nashville, TN ($20,000) – Students will convert a Ford F-Series truck and a tractor to run on renewable hydrogen fuel. Students will also develop a solar farm to produce electricity and power the new hydrogen processor they plan to build.
- Guilford High School, Rockford, IL ($10,000) – Students will develop solar powered charging stations with LED lights throughout the city of Rockford. Students will also create an outdoor learning lab at their school with floating decks and solar charging stations.
- Bartow High School, Bartow, FL ($5,000) – Students will host #PolkHacks, a hack-a-thon for underserved youth ages 13-18. Students will engage business and tech professionals as they develop applications to solve a local problem during a 3-day event.
- Harlingen High School, Harlingen, TX ($5,000) – The Skeeterbots team will program and outfit drones to battle the high population of mosquitoes in the Harlingen Community.
- Newton College and Career Academy, Covington, GA ($5,000) – Students will transform a school bus into a mobile learning lab to help members of the community explore STEM.
- Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Memorial ECHS, Alamo, TX ($5,000) – Students are creating a Community IT Engagement Center to promote the use of technology to support community economic growth. Students will share their IT knowledge will members of the community.
“Innovation and sustainability are two essential elements that will help strengthen communities and improve the quality of life for the people who call them home,” said Mike Schmidt, director, Education and Global Community Development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “Through creative initiatives like the Ford STEM High School Community Challenge, we hope to encourage innovative approaches to learning that spark student interest and imagination.”
Ford NGL is a signature program of Ford Motor Company Fund — the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company. Ford NGL is nationally recognized for the innovative way it is transforming U.S. high schools with career-themed academies that give students an opportunity to learn by doing in fields they’d like to explore, such as engineering or healthcare. Ford Fund invests more than $18 million each year in forward-thinking education programs around the globe that empower people to develop creative solutions to improve the quality of life in their communities. The Ford STEM High School Community Challenge was developed to encourage students to pursue a STEAM education and help meet a growing need in business, while also helping Ford and the rest of the automotive industry develop a future pipeline of skilled technical talent.
To view this year’s winning projects and get more information, visit fordblueovalnetwork.org/stem-community-challenge.