R2i2 again named state winner in national STEM competition

The Richland Two Institute of Innovation (R2i2) is again a South Carolina State finalist in the annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow (SFT) contest. SFT is a $3 million nationwide competition that encourages sixth- through 12th-grade students to creatively use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to solve a community challenge. R2i2 was selected from a pool of more than 2,000 entries from across the country.

This is the third time in four years that R2i2 has been named a state winner for South Carolina. In April 2019, R2i2 was named a national finalist. Students traveled to New York City to present and compete in the final event before a panel of judges.

In the photographs above, R2i2 and Blythewood High students Christopher Reeder and Nicolas Brown and R2i2 and Richland Northeast Student James Wilcher work on a reference design rinsing mechanism for plastic bottles.

“Each year, our students amaze us with their ability to identify a pertinent problem in the community and engineer a creative solution,” said teacher Kirstin Bullington. “This year, R2i2 students are tackling the problem of plastics recycling from a multi-disciplinary approach. We can’t wait to see their final product!”

R2i2 was chosen based on the creative proposal submitted by teachers Bullington and Nic Jones to address plastic recycling using STEM learning in their classrooms. As a South Carolina State winner, they will receive a Samsung tablet and video kit for their classrooms, $15,000 in technology, and the opportunity to advance through future phases of the contest to win additional prizes.

At the next level, 20 schools will be selected to travel to the pitch event in the spring where they will present their project to a panel of judges. For achieving national finalist status, schools will receive $50,000 in technology and classroom materials. Five National Grand Prize-winning schools will receive $100,000 in technology and classroom materials, and a trip to Washington, D.C. to present their projects to members of Congress. Public voting will also determine one Community Choice winner from the pool of national finalists, who will be eligible to win an additional $10,000 in Samsung technology.

The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is celebrating its 10th anniversary this 2019-2020 school year.