PURCHASE, N.Y., Jan. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox, in partnership with the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS), are proud to announce the two grand prize winners from "The Search for Hidden Figures" scholarship contest. Inspired by Fox's "Hidden Figures", this program actively engaged the next generation of female leaders in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and received more than 7,300 submissions from students across the country.
"At PepsiCo, we're committed to raising awareness of STEM education both inside and outside of the company," said Mehmood Khan, PepsiCo's Vice Chairman and Chief Scientific Officer, Global Research and Development. "Innovation is the engine of economic growth for PepsiCo, and STEM professionals are major drivers of that growth. We hope that this contest will empower those who are making strides in STEM, provide underrepresented cohorts with opportunities and inspire the next generation of female visionaries."
Among the outstanding submissions, Yuna Shin from Bothell, Washington is the grand prize winner for the '13 to 19' age category. Shin is focused on exploring new ways to develop solutions in health sciences, specifically using STEM skills to detect abnormal brain waves that could help prevent seizures for those facing epilepsy. Representing the contest's '20 and above' age category, Joy Buolamwini from Cambridge, Massachusetts, is the grand prize winner. Buolamwini aims to conduct STEM research to develop tools that can help identify and mitigate algorithmic bias that can often lead to discriminatory practices and behaviors in society.
"Judging 'The Search for Hidden Figures' contest was a tremendous experience for me," said "Hidden Figures" producer Donna Gigliotti. "Each and every contestant's passion for STEM was exhibited with grace, humor, integrity, humanity and intelligence. They were awe inspiring. Hats off to PepsiCo and 21st Century Fox for encouraging and supporting our future STEM leaders. May they all persevere and flourish like Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan."
From the contest's 50 semi-finalists, these two grand prize winners were selected by a panel of judges that included "Hidden Figures" Producer Pharrell Williams; "Hidden Figures" Producer Donna Gigliotti; Fox 2000 President Elizabeth Gabler; and President of the New York Academy of Sciences Ellis Rubinstein.
"It was an inspiration and privilege to participate as a judge in 'The Search for Hidden Figures,'" said Elizabeth Gabler, President, Fox 2000 Pictures. "All of the finalists' presentations were intelligent, passionate, innovative, and aspirational. I know these scholarships will help these bright young women to achieve great things and they will no longer be hidden figures in their chosen STEM fields."
As the grand prize winners, Shin and Buolamwini will each receive $50,000 in scholarships, a trip to the Kennedy Space Center in Orlando, Florida and access to STEM training materials and programs from NYAS. Additionally, ten runners-up were also selected to each receive $10,000 in scholarships, a hometown screening of the film "Hidden Figures" and access to STEM training materials and programs from NYAS.
"Scholarship programs like 'The Search for Hidden Figures' are important incentives that encourage young women to consider STEM-based careers," said Ellis Rubinstein, President of the New York Academy of Sciences. "The quality of submissions was phenomenal and demonstrated the extraordinary breadth of creativity and ingenuity that is unleashed when students are given opportunities to shine."
PEPSICO'S GLOBAL COMMITMENT TO STEM
At PepsiCo, deep scientific and technological expertise is critical to meeting the company's Performance with Purpose goals. Unlocking new ways to create more nutritionally advantaged foods and beverages or delivering tangible plans to increase production while reducing the company's environment footprint, all rely on STEM leadership. By investing in today's emerging talent, PepsiCo is playing a role in inspiring the next generation of STEM leaders who will likely become the driving force behind the company's future innovation and topline growth.
Prior to "The Search for Hidden Figures" contest, PepsiCo was the founding chair of the STEM Innovation Taskforce, a coalition on of more than 35 industry, government, educator and NGO partners who work cross functionally to develop and implement programs to help solve the STEM shortfall. Additionally, PepsiCo holds a longstanding relationship with NYAS and continues to support "The Junior Academy of the New York Academy of Sciences" - a virtual program dedicated to engaging exceptional STEM students. For more information about The Junior Academy of NYAS, please visit www.thejunioracademy.org.
PepsiCo continues to raise awareness of STEM education both inside and outside the company and inspire and empower women and girls to pursue careers in STEM-related fields.
For additional information and to view finalists' video submissions, please visit www.searchforhiddenfigures.com.
"HIDDEN FIGURES," A NEW MOTION PICTURE FROM 20TH CENTURY FOX
"Hidden Figures," directed by Theodore Melfi, is the incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe)—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation's confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big. The film was written by Allison Schroeder and Melfi and is based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly.
The film opened wide on January 6, 2017. For more information and to watch the trailer, please visit www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures.
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $63 billion in net revenue in 2015, driven by a complementary food and beverage portfolio that includes Frito-Lay, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Quaker and Tropicana. PepsiCo's product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including 22 brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.
At the heart of PepsiCo is Performance with Purpose – our fundamental belief that the success of our company is inextricably linked to the sustainability of the world around us. We believe that continuously improving the products we sell, operating responsibly to protect our planet and empowering people around the world is what enables PepsiCo to run a successful global company that creates long-term value for society and our shareholders. For more information, visit www.pepsico.com.
About 21st Century Fox:
21st Century Fox is the world's premier portfolio of cable, broadcast, film, pay TV and satellite assets spanning six continents across the globe. Reaching more than 1.8 billion subscribers in approximately 50 local languages every day, 21st Century Fox is home to a global portfolio of cable and broadcasting networks and properties, including FOX, FX, FXX, FXM, FS1, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FOX Sports, Fox Sports Network, National Geographic, STAR India, 28 local television stations in the U.S. and more than 350 international channels; film studio Twentieth Century Fox Film; and television production studios Twentieth Century Fox Television and a 50% ownership interest in Endemol Shine Group. The Company also holds a 39.1% ownership interest in Sky, Europe's leading entertainment company, which serves 22 million customers across five countries. For more information about 21st Century Fox, please visit www.21CF.com.
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 driving innovative solutions to society's challenges by advancing scientific research, education, and policy. With more than 20,000 members in 100 countries, the Academy is creating a global community of science for the benefit of humanity. Please visit us online at http://www.nyas.org/ and follow us on Twitter at @NYASciences.