Amazon Lab126 is excited to sponsor The Tech Interactive’s annual Tech Challenge, an event that invites teams of students in grades 4-12 to use the engineering design process to solve a real-world problem. This year’s challenge, “The Ultimate Upcycle,” directs students to transform cardboard—like Amazon delivery boxes—into something useful and entirely new. In support, Amazon Lab126 will provide 1,000 students from underserved and underrepresented communities with at-home design kits to help them participate in the challenge. The kits include items such as safety glasses, electrical and masking tape, string, hole punches, and canary cutters. For the safety of students, this year’s event will be virtual. All sponsored kits will be distributed through community partners like Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Breakthrough Silicon Valley.
The Tech Interactive is a student science and technology center in the heart of Silicon Valley that aims to develop the next generation of problem solvers through year-round interactive programming. With Amazon’s support, this year’s Tech Challenge will help more students participate and access the resources they need to build their skillsets in STEM fields, especially those in underserved communities.
According to a study conducted by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the percentage of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering jobs remains below the share of college-educated minorities in the overall workforce at just 13% as of 2017, the most recent year for which data was available.
“I was fortunate to have role models who helped me become a builder and an engineer,” said Lindo St. Angel, Vice President of Hardware, Amazon Lab126. “I believe many underrepresented youths have the potential to become builders, but may not have the opportunity. The Tech Challenge provides an avenue to change that and we are excited to see what these talented young people invent.”
This challenge will take place over several months as students design, build, and test their projects. Teams will document every step of their process including testing, brainstorming, and tracking what they learn through experimentation and failure. It will culminate in a virtual showcase from April 24-25, 2021, where student teams will present their projects to judges.
Registration for this year’s event is now open, and students and families can learn more and register here.
In addition to this sponsorship, Amazon works to inspire, educate, and prepare children and young adults from underrepresented and underserved communities to pursue computer science through the Amazon Future Engineer program. The program is part of Amazon’s $50 million investment in computer science and STEM education. Amazon Future Engineer has donated more than $20 million to organizations that promote computer science and STEM education across the country.