CE Week, New York City’s largest consumer electronics (CE) and technology event, in partnership with the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) announces today the winners of the inaugural “10 Under 20: Young Innovators to Watch” award competition. Representing high schools and colleges from across the five boroughs, these 10 students under 20 years old are at the forefront of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) innovation.  Their winning projects include everything from robots to apps, from security devices to microtubes, and cover areas as diverse as home automation, health, special needs and social networking. The 10 Under 20 award recipients will be honored for their outstanding achievements at a special awards presentation at CE Week on June 24, 2015.

Robin Raskin, who created the program with the NYCEDC says, “Programs like these are important because they cement the public/private experience, give students a chance to meet real product developers and engineers, and reinforce that our schools are mentoring the next generation of digital thinkers.”

The 10 Under 20 competition celebrates New York City’s commitment to STEAM and STEM education, honoring individuals who are developing products that exemplify an application of those fields and also demonstrate exceptional creativity, user design, scalability and civic mindedness. It also recognizes the city’s investment in high tech and the future of digital cities.

“Cultivating an environment that encourages young innovators is vital to the creation of a diverse and equitable urban economy and tech ecosystem,” said NYCEDC Executive Vice President Eric Gertler. “This group of talented young entrepreneurs is a reflection of New York City’s immense pool of creative talent and a snapshot of the future in New York City.”

The 2015 10 Under 20 Award Recipients:

  • Burhan Azeem, 18, Staten Island Technical High School, Staten Island, “A New Process for the Fabrication of Carbon Microtubes.” A new carbon microtube that has a multitude of possible applications from energy transportation to biomedical devices. This new production method allows for fabrication tubes in many different shapes and sizes that can be easily adapted for a variety of uses.
  • Shemar Dacosta, 14, Bronx Academy for Software Engineering, Bronx, “Voices.” An app for students to post anonymously problems in their school community so that they can be heard by their peers and schools.
  • Mamadou Diallo, 16, A. Philip Randolph Campus High School, Manhattan and fellow students from New York City area high schools,  “The Young Hackers.” A student-led organization aimed at supporting the next generation of computer programmers among high school students in New York City.
  • Daniil Frants, 16, Dwight School, Manhattan, “The Live Time Closed Captioning System.” A wearable on-head display that enables anyone with a hearing disability to hear a naturally flowing conversation.
  • Raquel Hosein, 18, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, “Application of a Wireless Electrical Device for the Detection of Epilepsy.” A wireless device that when integrated with mobile devices can help detect when an epileptic seizure may occur. The wireless device has a Bluetooth chip and analog to digital converter, a biosignal receptor and a power source; it can send real-time pre-seizure wave data to smart technology.
  • Alyssa Kapasi, 14, The Brearley School, Manhattan, “The Brearley-Chapin DoubleX 2015 Robot.” A robot that can lift any object of almost any shape that is smaller than 22 inches and weighs less than 60 pounds four and a half feet above the ground as well as stacking or moving everyday objects.
  • Dylan Kirdahy, 17, Staten Island Technical High School, Staten Island, “Crypta.” This fingerprint-protected autofill device is designed to keep people’s online wallet accounts safe. It creates unique, secure and randomized passwords instantly with the touch of a finger. There will be no more weak passwords and no more memorization.
  • Sara Sakowitz, 19, Columbia University, Manhattan, “Blue Moon Box: The Monthly Science Kit Subscription Service for Kids.” Each month, the kids receive a box filled with science experiments and create projects that engage them creatively and excite them with the magic of science.
  • Jake Varghese, 16, Bayside High School, Queens, “Vocap.” It is a mobile application that helps anyone build a vocabulary in a foreign language while watching a video. Users can choose any language they want to learn from a selection of videos with the four main features including a video playlist, randomized highlight vocabulary, a word bank and a summary page.
  • Rebecca West, 17, Townsend Harris, Queens, “Pedestrian Penguin.” A card game to save lives related to transportation accidents, which includes action and scenario cards. The scenario cards show illustrations of potentially dangerous transportation issues and the action cards includes a variety of solutions from which to choose. The goal is to get the game into every elementary school in New York City.

Winners were chosen by a panel of esteemed judges, which included educators, city officials, and technology experts:

  • Warren Buckleitner, CEO, Children’s Technology Review
  • Majora Carter, CEO, StartUp Box
  • Brian Cohen, Chairman of the Board of Directors, New York Angels
  • Rashid Ferrod Davis, Founder and Principal, P-TECH
  • Diane Levitt, Senior Director, K-12 education, Cornell Tech
  • Frank Migliorelli, Director of Digital Experience, New York Public Library
  • Kristen Titus, Founding Director, NYC Tech Talent Pipeline

Youth ages 13 through 19, currently enrolled in high school or a two or four year accredited college or university in the five boroughs of New York City or permanent New York City residents who are either enrolled in high school or a two or four year accredited college or university were eligible to participate in this award competition. Additional eligibility information and judging criteria can be found here.

Award recipients will each be given a special 10 Under 20 plaque, as well as a tech awards package for themselves and their school, valued at $1,000. Major contributions to the student awards were made possible by Meccano (Meccano Multi Model Sets), Monster Products and B&H Photo.

The 10 Under 20 Awards Presentation takes place on Wednesday, June 24 from 4 to 5 p.m. at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York City (125 W. 18th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues).


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