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2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge Winners Selected

The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and E-Line Media have named the 16 winners of the 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge. Each winner of the contest, which drew approximately 4,000 applications from students in grades 5 to 12, will receive an AMD-powered laptop computer loaded with game design and educational software.
The winner's sponsors will receive $2,000 cash prizes.

The 2013 National STEM Video Game Challenge, inspired by President Barack Obama's Educate to Innovate campaign, is intended to spark interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Applicants were required to submit a written video game design document, a playable game prototype using a free platform, or a playable game prototype using an open platform.

Students submitting a written video game design document were required to provide a "description of the overall vision for the game, target audience, genre, core gameplay, visual style, and (if applicable to the game) characters and story line," according to the challenge rules.

Applicants in the free platform category were allowed to use Game Maker, Scratch, Kodu, or Gamestar Mechanic, and those in the open platform category could use platforms such as Flash, Stagecast Creator, RPG Maker, and Game Salad, that allow judges to try the game using a browser, personal computer or mobile device.

The winners for grades 5-8 are:

  • Seong-Hyun Ryoo from Johns Creek, GA;
  • Angel Martinez-Acevedo of DeRidder, LA;
  • Nicholas Cameron from Sayville, NY;
  • Nicolas Badila from Jonesboro, GA;
  • Bradley Schmitz of Glandorf, OH;
  • Henry Edwards and Kevin Kopczynski from Durham, NC; and
  • Lexi Schneider of Dresher, PA.

The winners for grades 9-12 are:

  • Sooraj Suresh of Campbell, CA;
  • Kieran Luscombe of Thornton, CO;
  • Cody Haugland from Sanger, CA;
  • Aaron Gaudette from Ramstein Air Base;
  • Brianna Igbinosun from Lawrenceville, GA;
  • Noah Ratcliff and Pamela Pizarro-Ruiz of Pickerington, OH; and
  • Janice Tran from Palmdale, CA.

"Youth are natural inventors. They are increasingly shaping their own education by making things," said Michael H. Levine, executive director of the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, in a prepared statement. "We are delighted by the record-breaking interest in the National STEM Video Challenge this year and congratulate all of the winners on their superb creative entries."

Title sponsors of the competition include Entertainment Software Association, the AMD Foundation, and Microsoft's Xbox 360. National community sponsors are the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Hive Digital Media Learning Fund in The New York Community Trust. National outreach partners are BrainPOP, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting PBS KIDS Ready To Learn Initiative, Global Kids, Learning Games Network, and Edmodo.

For more information, visit stemchallenge.org.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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