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Meet the Broadcom MASTERS 30 finalists – the nation’s top middle school STEM leaders & innovators

2020 BCM Finalist Grid
2020 Broadcom MASTERS finalists SSP

Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public today announced the 30 finalists in the 10th annual Broadcom MASTERS®, the nation’s premier Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) middle school competition. The finalists will compete in the first ever Virtual Broadcom MASTERS from October 16-October 21 where they will participate in a rigorous virtual competition that leverages Project-based Learning to test and demonstrate their mastery of 21st Century skills of critical thinking, communication, creativity and collaboration in each of the STEM areas.

Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering for Rising Stars), a program founded and produced by the Society for Science & the Public, seeks to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators who will solve the grand challenges of the future. For the first time, the competition will take place virtually in order to keep the finalists and their families safe during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Each of the 30 finalists will participate in online team challenges in addition to being judged on their science research project.

“This year’s 30 Broadcom MASTERS finalists represent young scientists and engineers from every region of the US. Along with thousands of students who competed in the 2020 Broadcom MASTERS, they persevered in the face of many complex challenges brought on by the worldwide pandemic. To their credit, they stayed engaged in STEM in order to pursue their dreams and ambitions,” said Paula Golden, President of Broadcom Foundation. “We look forward to an inspiring competition with our finalists this fall.” 

“During these unprecedented times we are living in, science is more important than ever,” said Maya Ajmera, President and CEO of the Society for Science & the Public and Publisher of Science News. “These 30 finalists are scientific and engineering trailblazers. Our future is in good hands.” 

2020 Broadcom MASTERS Fast Facts:

  • 47% of the finalists are female (14) and 53% are male (16)
  • Students represent 29 schools, across 16 states
  • Most populous states: eight from California; four from Florida, and two from Michigan, New York, Oregon and Utah.
  • States with one finalist: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, New Jersey, Ohio, Texas and Wyoming.
  • Finalists were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers from 3,476 applicants in 42 states and Puerto Rico.
  • Finalist projects cover multiple disciplines of science, including environmental and earth science, electrical and mechanical engineering, microbiology, physics, bioengineering, computer science, software engineering, behavioral and social sciences, energy and sustainability, animal science, chemistry and plant science.
  • The finalists’ projects focus on a variety of topics, including:
    • Using machine learning to predict the growth of wildfires and COVID-19
    • Quantifying gerrymandering and creating an algorithm to create fair political districts
    • Using artificial intelligence to sort recycling
    • Determining if turmeric is contaminated with lead chromate
    • Using artificial intelligence to predict diabetic eye diseases

A full list of the finalists can be viewed here:

The Broadcom MASTERS is the only middle school STEM competition that leverages Society-affiliated science fairs as a crucial component of the STEM talent pipeline. In 2020, any 6th, 7th, or 8th grade student who registered to compete in a Society-affiliated science fair was eligible to enter the Broadcom MASTERS.

Science fairs across the country had to cancel their competitions in the spring of 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In reaction to the 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.

Find more information here.