Making a global impact



Each year, our students and alumni take the world by storm with their achievements. From securing patents to starting their own companies and even presenting at noted science events at the White House, the Conrad Challenge is just the first step on their journey!



Young Influencer shines at the united nations

On the opening night of the NEXUS Global Summit, NEXUS members gathered at the United Nations where they were addressed by inspiring leaders, including one of the newest and youngest NEXUS members, 13 year old Alfolabi Williams from Nigeria.

Alfolabi was recognized as a winner of the 2017-2018 Conrad Challenge along with his team, who created a mobile app to help revolutionize farming in Africa. During his presentation, he reminded the NEXUS members and UN leaders of the power of their own potential when they solve challenges with no box around their thinking. His eloquence and warmth carried across the gathering and opened the summit with a clear message of abundance and possibility for making a positive difference in the world.



No small task: addressing cyber issues in harsh environments

The Department of Defense has a great need for high-performance computing modernization. Current operations – including everything from training to navigation and defense/attack to C4ISR – are often performed off-grid, out of any high-speed cellular coverage. TIER, a team from Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, FL, developed the Mini BlackBox to address this modernization need. It allows people to access high-performance computing in difficult operating and/or harsh environments – whether the location is a Navy ship, a desert tent or a shelter in the Arctic. The product consists of a process and an internal design theme that allows computing components to operate at peak efficiency within an enclosure designed to endure outdoor or underwater conditions. TIER took first place in the Cyber-Security category at the Conrad Challenge and its members were named Pete Conrad Scholars. All of the team members joined forces to create Northern Leap, a company dedicated to creating innovative and disruptive products. Northern Leap is currently pursuing a major capital investment opportunity which, when secured, will allow them to test multiple prototypes of Mini BlackBox and explore other new manufacturing solutions to achieve the highest product effectiveness.

“There are very few events such as the Conrad Challenge, which aggregates high school students developing industry-changing innovations. The connections and valuable insight gained at the event have definitely sent our company into directions we never would have foreseen.”

- Alexander Cordero
2017 Pete Conrad Scholar | Co-founder, Northern Leap LLC

“Connections were definitely the top thing we took from the Conrad Challenge as a team. I developed skills like teamwork, project management and network creation. I also massively improved my presentation skills. The size of the competition is probably the most important thing. It enables a great amount of interaction between teams and also gives the competition a more personal feel.”

- Hans Rueckschnat
2017 Pete Conrad Scholar | Co-founder, Northern Leap LLC



Conrad Product goes to space!

Sisters Mikayla and Shannon Diesch created a nutrition bar to be used as a meal supplement for astronauts. After wowing judges with their concept at the Innovation Summit, the Conrad Foundation worked closely with the Diesch sisters to get their product to space as they continued with their product development. Just one year after competing in the Conrad Challenge, the sisters' STEM-bar flew in the resupply payload on mission STS-134! But that wasn’t the end of their story. Today, the young ladies have founded their own company, Solar Flare, where they sell STEM-bars to the mainstream market. Click here to learn more.



providing Clean water to those in need

Team Gulliver International developed a low-cost potable water filtration system as part of their Conrad Challenge entry. Their water purification device was originally intended to help the people of Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. Not only was it delivered to the people of Haiti, it was also adopted into nine other countries and provides clean drinking water for 500,000 people. Plus, it was integrated into a birthing clinic in Nigeria so newborn babies can be washed in clean water. Now that’s designing the future! For its innovation, Team Gulliver International received the Heart of Haiti Award and was asked to attend the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.


business woman before college freshman

Kavya Kopparapu is a passionate nonprofit leader, accomplished innovator, experienced public speaker, and student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology.

In 2016, 17-year-old Kavya and her team invented Eyeagnosis, a 3D-printed lens system and mobile app. The device snaps a photo of the retina and analyzes it with artificial intelligence to diagnose diabetic retinopathy, a diabetes complication that can lead to blindness, without the need for an extensive eye exam. Along with her team, Kavya was named the Pete Conrad Scholar in Cyber-Technology and Security.

Following her participation in the Conrad Challenge, Kavya founded and serves as CEO of the Girls Computing League ( She is dedicated to sharing her passion for computer science with others, especially young girls, as the field has given her a world of opportunity and has given her the opportunity to be recognized by several organizations and the White House. Her organization has reached more than 1,500 students over the past two years in the Virginia-DC-Maryland region and is on track to impact many more. Kavya hopes to work towards a world where women are given equal opportunities for professional and personal development in the STEM fields, a world where she is not regarded as a girl who happens to be a computer scientist, but rather a computer scientist who happens to be a girl.

Kavya enjoys sharing her experiences and knowledge with others. She believes education is the ultimate weapon to fight ignorance and hopes to continue to play a role as an educator throughout her schooling and career.


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