The New York Academy of Sciences is one of the world’s most prestigious science societies, with more than 22,000 members in 100 countries. Youth innovation platform Rocket21 believes in the power of kids to change the world, and connects youth with world-class resources and experts to help them make their mark. Both organizations are passionate about their certainty that youth can make an impact now – not just decades down the road, when they’re all grown up.

In response to President Obama’s call to help strengthen STEM education, Rocket21 and the New York Academy of Sciences are teaming up to empower middle and high school students to tackle the world’s most important problems … right now. The partnership will deliver support and guidance to students, from some of the world’s most accomplished and inspiring scientists and innovators.

Today at the White House Science Fair, the President announced the New York Academy of Sciences and Rocket21’s “Dream Big for The World” initiative, a year-long series of activities and competitions to immerse middle and high school students in the pressing global issues raised in the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Grand Challenges. Planned for launch during the 2014-2015 academic year, the competition will invite students, working independently or in teams, to develop innovative solutions to their choice of Grand Challenges, with opportunities to connect virtually with content experts, as well as providing resources to teachers.

“Part of the Academy’s core mission is to positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions. What better way to achieve this than by challenging the younger generation to translate STEM knowledge into real solutions for their local communities and beyond?” says Ellis Rubinstein, President and CEO, the New York Academy of Sciences. “We are thrilled to join the Academy’s nearly 200-year history of scientific expertise with Rocket21’s technical and programmatic know-how in the online learning space—creating a platform that humanizes science, leading to enhanced STEM engagement for students all over the globe.”

“Dream Big for The World” activities and competitions will be open to students from the United States, with categories for individual and team participation. Prizes will be awarded to winning middle and high school students, including individual categories for girls and boys, as well as team submissions. Prizes will include cash and technology-related prizes for winning students and their schools, as well as exclusive, customized Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related experiences, tailored to the interests of selected students and teams.

“Rocket21 is intent on providing youth with extraordinary opportunities for real-world learning and genuine impact through authentic experiences and guidance, made possible by partnerships with world-class organizations and leading professionals at the top of their game,” noted Jodell Seagrave, President and COO, Rocket21. “Our collaboration with the New York Academy of Sciences will bring an incredible wealth of resources to engage, inspire, and advance a new generation of scientific innovators. On behalf of our student members, we couldn’t be more thrilled.”

Additional program and competition specifics, prizes details, and Official Competition Rules will be forthcoming this summer.

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About Rocket21
Rocket 21 connects youth with world-class experts and resources to follow their dreams. Rocket21 is the only online professional networking platform designed to safely connect kids and teens with professionals and experts representing industries, professions, passions, and movements that span the globe. Rocket21 provides youth with unprecedented opportunities and access to world-class experts and organizations while protecting them with a combination of state-of-the-art, real-time filtering and human moderation, extensive safety and security precautions, and a specialized infrastructure designed to keep kids safe. Please visit us online at

About the New York Academy of Sciences
The New York Academy of Sciences is an independent, not-for-profit organization that since 1817 has been committed to advancing science, technology, and society worldwide. With 22,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. The Academy’s core mission is to advance scientific knowledge, positively impact the major global challenges of society with science-based solutions, and increase the number of scientifically informed individuals in society at large. Please visit us online at

About the Author:

Andrea Jones

Andrea Jones is a technology specialist in Virginia. A former French teacher, she currently supports technology integration in a middle school.