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Conrad Foundation Partners with Project Lead The Way

For Immediate Release

WASHINGTON - Today, the Conrad Foundation announced it has partnered with Project Lead The Way (PLTW) to use its Innovation Portal for the annual Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge semifinals round and selection of finalists. Developed by the nation’s leading science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educators, the Innovation Portal will provide a free, open, and secure tool to evaluate the student teams’ work using a standardized, research-based rubric.

“The Innovation Portal is a state-of-the-art tool, providing an effective framework for students to present their innovations in a professional manner,” said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation. "Not only will the platform assist our students in designing their future, but it will further standardize our judging process for the Conrad Challenge.”

To enter the Conrad Challenge, student teams from around the world submitted entries, including an investor pitch and brief video to detail their innovative product or service in one of four categories: Aerospace and Aviation; Cybertechnology and Security; Energy and Environment; and Health and Nutrition. The Conrad Foundation added a fifth and special category this year, the Giant Leap to Mars. The top submissions will be invited to advance to the semifinals round by submitting through the Innovation Portal.

“Working with the Conrad Foundation is a natural fit, and we are eager to collaborate in order to give students more opportunities to demonstrate their entrepreneurial spirit,” said Anne Jones, senior vice president and chief program officer, PLTW. “This unique Challenge inspires students to use problem-solving skills, the design process, and the entrepreneurial mindset to change the world – a mission we are proud to be part of.”

Selected teams from the semifinals round of the Conrad Challenge will travel to the annual Innovation Summit at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, April 9-11, 2015. Students will be immersed in the out-of-this world experience while interacting with executives from science and industry. The Innovation Summit will conclude with the announcement of the Conrad Challenge category winners.

About The Conrad Foundation

The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the current methods of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high schools. The Spirit of Innovation program is free to all who wish to participate and reaches all socio-economic levels. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. For more information, visit

About Project Lead The Way

Project Lead The Way (PLTW) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and the nation’s leading provider of K-12 STEM programs. PLTW’s world-class, activity-, project- , problem-based curriculum and high-quality teacher professional development, combined with an engaged network of educators and corporate partners, help students develop the skills needed to succeed in our global economy. More than 6,500 elementary, middle, and high schools in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are currently offering PLTW courses to their students. For more information, visit

About the Innovation Portal

The Innovation Portal is a free, open, and secure tool for all K-16 students, teachers, and project mentors. It highlights the importance of the Design Process in STEM education, while applying a standardized, research-based rubric to guide and evaluate each student’s work.

Since the Innovation Portal opened to the public in 2011, more than 25,000 users have been involved in creating more than 13,000 portfolios. Companies such as Verizon and organizations such as the National Homeland Defense Foundation have hosted engineering design competitions on the Innovation Portal, recognizing it as an effective and convenient way to solicit entries and evaluate submissions. Other uses include evaluating portfolios for feedback and mentoring; college admission consideration; and scholarship and internship opportunities. Project Lead The Way developed the portal with support from Chevron, the Kern Family Foundation, the University of Maryland-College Park, and the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit



Jennifer Cahill

Project Lead The Way

(317) 669-0871


Gwen Griffin

Conrad Foundation

(281) 300-4681