Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public Announce Broadcom MASTERS 2013 National Science Fair Winners

Florida Middle Schooler Wins Grand Prize for Study on Endangered Tortoises

  • River Grace (age 14) of West Melbourne, Fla., wins $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize in honor of overall STEM excellence for his study on endangered tortoises
  • Eitan Acks (age 14) of San Diego wins $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation in recognition of engineering excellence for his project on devices for speech therapy
  • Sponsored by Broadcom Foundation, Broadcom MASTERS®, a program of Society for Science & the Public, inspires middle school age science and engineering enthusiasts to stay with science and math throughout high school


Broadcom Foundation and Society for Science & the Public (SSP) today announced the winners of the 2013 Broadcom MASTERS® national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) competition for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, in which 14 girls and 16 boys from 17 states competed. Broadcom Foundation and SSP also announced top winners in the categories of Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Rising Stars.Learn more and congratulate the winners of the 2013 Broadcom MASTERS competition at


“Congratulations to River, Eitan and all our extraordinary Broadcom MASTERS finalists, whose STEM skills, leadership qualities and team spirit represent the critical array of diversified talent needed to innovate solutions to the world’s grand challenges in technology, communications  healthcare, transportation, energy and environmental  sustainability,” said Paula Golden, Executive Director, Broadcom Foundation and Director, Community Affairs, Broadcom Corporation. “Through competitions like the Broadcom MASTERS, thousands of young people will experience the hands-on exploration of science, engineering and applied mathematics necessary to change the future by putting their ideas and passions into action.”


In total, Broadcom Foundation and classroom partner Elmer’s Products Inc. offer more than $500,000 in prizes, awards and rebates to the Broadcom MASTERS’ nominees, entrants, semifinalists, finalists, and their teachers and schools. The grand prize is the $25,000 Samueli Foundation Prize, a gift of Susan Samueli and Dr. Henry Samueli, co-founder of Broadcom Corporation. In addition to the grand prize, Dr. Samueli also presented the $10,000 Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation, an honor made possible by Samueli’s donation of his 2012 Marconi Society Prize winnings.

Winners were chosen from the 30 top finalists, who represent the top tier selected from thousands of nominees . Winners were selected by a panel of distinguished scientists and engineers.

“Society for Science & the Public is proud to join Broadcom in congratulating River Grace,” said Rick Bates, Interim Chief Executive Officer, Society for Science & the Public. “We hope his passion for research, which even had him arriving early to the Broadcom MASTERS to conduct further research at the Smithsonian National Zoo, will serve as an inspiration to other young scientists. Each finalist should be terrifically proud of their accomplishments, and we look forward to following their bright futures.”

Winners Include:

The Samueli Foundation Prize: $25,000
Winner: River Grace, 14, of West Melbourne, Fla.

Project: Rain Dance of the Radiata: Behavior of the Endangered Radiated Tortoise and Related Species

Grand prize winner River Grace became fascinated by the behavior of tortoises through his volunteer work at his local zoo and a tortoise breeding facility. He observed that whenever it rained, a captive group of endangered radiated tortoises would rise up and shuffle rhythmically. River hypothesized that this behavior allows tortoises to avoid drowning in flash floods in their arid native habitat in Madagascar and tested their reactions to a gentle flow of water, light mist and a sprinkling of lentils. To support conservation efforts, River now plans to repeat the experiment on several closely related tortoise species.

He was selected for the Samueli Foundation Prize based on his mastery of STEM principles during the weeklong competition. River has exemplified how research and innovation are dependent on the integration of these disciplines as well as the impact they collectively have on our everyday lives.

Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation: $10,000
Winner: Eitan Acks, 14, of San Diego

Project: Tongue Untwister

Marconi/Samueli Award for Innovation winner Eitan Acks was inspired to study speech therapy by his little brother, who has dyspraxia, a disability that affects the ability to communicate. Eitan wanted to improve on the simple exercises using tongue depressors prescribed by speech therapists. So he put his engineering skills to use building a better device to strengthen the parts of the body used in speech, and to mend the connection between those muscles and the brain. Through trial and error with five different prototypes, Eitan found that his device is capable of improving modern speech therapy for dyspraxia as well as other speech disorders.

Eitan was selected because he demonstrates both vision and promise as an innovator, and for his use of electrical engineering concepts in STEM challenges throughout the week.

Rising Stars Award:

Krystal Horton of Menifee, Calif., and Sean Weber of Sequim, Wash., win a trip to Intel ISEF, the world’s largest international high school science fair competition, in May 2014 as U.S. Broadcom MASTERS International Delegates. They were selected for their projects on beetle infestation, and the impact of waves on mussels, respectively, and in recognition of their promise as future scientists and engineers and demonstrated leadership potential throughout the competition.

STEM Award Winners:

Each of these finalists (first and second place award winners) were selected for demonstrated skills and promise in each of the disciplines represented by STEM. First place winners are awarded $3,500 and second place winners receive $2,500, in each case to support the finalist’s choice of STEM summer camp experiences offered around the country. Each STEM winner also wins an iPad.

Science Awards:
First place goes to Keoni Gandall of Huntington Beach, Calif., for his project on engineering pink salt. Second place goes to Julienne Sauer of San Ramon, Calif., for her project on superconductors and frictionless motion.

Technology Awards:
First place goes to Austin McCoy of Rochester, Minn., for his project on disease detection lab equipment for developing countries. Second place goes to Rebecca Bloomfield of Colorado Springs, Colo., for her project on the effects of slope and remediation on post-fire sedimentation.

Engineering Awards:
First place goes to Mihir Garimella of Pittsburgh, Pa., for his project on digitally recreating smells. Second place goes to Sidhika Balachandar, of Gainesville, Fla., for her project on soundproofing.

Mathematics Awards:
First place goes to Johann Kailey-Steiner of Denver, for his project on rocket design. Second place goes to Joshua Wentzel of Portland, Ore., for his project on homemade air cannons.

The Broadcom MASTERS (Math, Applied Science, Technology, and Engineering for Rising Stars) program helps middle school students translate a personal interest into a passion for science, engineering and innovation, and encourages them to continue studying science and math through high school. Sponsored by Broadcom Foundation, a non-profit public benefit organization funded by Broadcom Corporation, the Broadcom MASTERS is a program of Society for Science & the Public. SSP has been the leader of the world’s most prestigious science competitions for over seven decades.

For more information on the Broadcom MASTERS, visit the Broadcom FoundationandSSPwebsites or visit Broadcom Foundation’s Newsroomand read the B-Inspired Blog.To keep up with the Broadcom MASTERS on Twitter, use hashtag #brcmMASTERS or follow Broadcomand SSP. And to stay connected, visit the Broadcom MASTERSand SSPFacebook pages.

About Broadcom Foundation

Broadcom Foundation’s mission is to enable young people throughout the world to enter careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through partnerships with local schools, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations. Broadcom Foundation is the proud sponsor of the Broadcom MASTERS®, a program of Society for Science & the Public – a premier science and engineering competition for middle school children. The Foundation’s mission is to advance education in STEM by funding research, recognizing scholarship and increasing opportunity. Learn more at 

About Broadcom

Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCM), a FORTUNE 500® company, is a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom® products seamlessly deliver voice, video, data and multimedia connectivity in the home, office and mobile environments.  With the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and embedded software solutions, Broadcom is changing the world by Connecting everything®. For more information, go to

About Society for Science & the Public

Society for Science & the Public is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the achievement of young researchers in independent research and to the public engagement in science. Established in 1921, its vision is to promote the understanding and appreciation of science and the vital role it plays in human advancement. Through its acclaimed education competitions, including the Intel Science Talent Search, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and the Broadcom MASTERS, and its award-winning publications, Science News and Science News for Kids, Society for Science & the Public is committed to inform, educate, and inspire. Learn more at

Broadcom®, the pulse logo, Connecting everything®, the Connecting everything logo and Broadcom MASTERS® are among the trademarks of Broadcom Corporation and/or its affiliates in the United States, certain other countries and/or the EU. Any other trademarks or trade names mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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Broadcom Foundation
Jen Baumgartner
Manager, Corporate Communications

Society for Science & the Public
Sarah Wood
Senior Manager, Communications