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Broadcom MASTERS Announces the Top 300 Middle School Innovators in National STEM Competition

2020 Broadcom MASTERS Top 300
2020 Broadcom MASTERS Top 300 Photo courtesy of Society for Science & the Public.

Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public today announced the Top 300 MASTERS in the 10th annual Broadcom MASTERS® — the nation’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) competition for middle school students. The Broadcom MASTERS, a program of the Society for Science & the Public, seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators to solve the grand challenges of the 21st century.

Each of the Top 300 MASTERS will receive a $125 award from DoD STEM. With this new prize, the Department of Defense continues its support of youth in STEM, working towards a more diverse pipeline of highly qualified STEM professionals in the future.

The Top 300 MASTERS were selected from the largest pool of applicants the competition has seen, with 3,476 students from 42 states and Puerto Rico applying to be a Broadcom MASTER.  Science fairs across the country had to cancel their competitions in the spring of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In reaction to move, the Society and Broadcom Foundation opened up the Broadcom MASTERS competition to any student who registered to compete in a Society-affiliated science fair. Previously, only students who are named in the top 10% of their science fair were eligible to enter the Broadcom MASTERS, which is the only middle school STEM competition that leverages Society-affiliated science fairs as a critical component of the STEM talent pipeline.

By opening up the competition, the Society and Broadcom have ensured equitable access to the Broadcom MASTERS, regardless of where in the country a student may live and whether their fair was affected by the pandemic.

The Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS include:

  • More girls than boys, with 52% females and 47% males.
  • Students from 34 states, plus Puerto Rico, with the majority of students hailing from California (88), Florida (37), Texas (24), Ohio (14) and Pennsylvania (14).
  • 167 students are educated in public schools, 90 from private schools, 23 from charter schools, 10 from magnet schools and 10 from home schools.

The students’ names and a state-by-state breakdown of the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS can be found at https://www.societyforscience.org/broadcom-masters/2020-top-300-masters/.

Thirty of the top 300 Broadcom MASTERS will be selected as finalists by a panel of scientists, engineers and educators from around the nation on September 16 and will be competing for over $100,000 including the coveted $25,000 Samueli Prize, $10,000 DoD STEM Talent Award, the $10,000 Lemelson Award for Invention, the $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation and the $10,000 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement.

“I am honored to congratulate the top 300 Broadcom MASTERS during what is a very challenging time,” said Maya Ajmera, President & CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News.  “We are thrilled to be able to celebrate these amazing young scientists, who are poised to solve the world’s most intractable challenges.”

The Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS’ independent STEM research projects tackle a broad range of challenges such as:

  • Identifying a more ecofriendly way to do laundry
  • Exploring the impact of electromagnetic frequencies on E. coli
  • Determining if there is a correlation between being on a beta-blocker and the ability to taste
  • Testing concussion guards
  • Determining if the settings of a 3D print affects it’s strength
  • Impact of vaping on cellular function

“Every Middle School student who had the passion and fortitude to complete his or her science or engineering project with hardships imposed to schooling and research is a hero and heroine in our eyes, and the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS semifinalists exemplify their remarkable grit,” said Paula Golden, President of Broadcom Foundation. “They inspire us all and give us hope for the future.”

In addition to the $125 cash prize, the Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS will receive a prize package containing an award ribbon; semifinalist certificate of accomplishment; Broadcom MASTERS backpack; a Broadcom MASTERS decal; a specialized Invention Journal, courtesy of The Lemelson Foundation; a one-year subscription to Wolfram Mathematica software, courtesy of Wolfram Research; a special prize from Jeff Glassman, CEO of Covington Capital Management; and a one-year family digital subscription to Science News magazine. In recognition of the role that teachers play in the success of their students, each designated teacher also will receive a Broadcom MASTERS tote bag; a special edition booklet of Science News for Students’ Invention & Innovation articles from The Lemelson Foundation; and a one-year digital subscription to Science News magazine.