Infosys Foundation USA, a non-profit organization focused on bridging the digital divide in America, today launched its inaugural Infy Maker Awards program. The program is part of an ongoing commitment from Infosys Foundation USA to spark the spirit of making in everyday learning, and to celebrate makers of all ages across the United States who demonstrate creative excellence.
Vandana Sikka, Chairperson, Infosys Foundation USA, said, “The future is – and always has been - invented by those who can make. Making is a foundational skill that all students must acquire. Both computer programming and making are experiential in nature and build key skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity and more. With the Infy Maker Awards, we want to empower today's makers, at schools and in communities across the U.S., to inspire the next generation of inventors."
Infosys Foundation USA will award 50 US$ 10,000 Makerspace grants to schools, libraries and other community organizations. Each grant will be in cash and in kind, and will seed dynamic Makerspaces at each grantee location. These grants will be nominated by the student winners. Through these grants, Infosys Foundation USA and its partners will impact thousands of future student makers.
As part of these grants, Infosys Foundation USA will also partner with Maker Ed, a non-profit organization supporting educators and communities, to provide training and support to one hundred teachers and instructors from grantee organizations across the U.S. These leaders will become Infosys-Certified Maker Educators and support the Makerspaces.
Warren ‘Trey’ Lathe, Director of Maker Ed, said, “We’re thrilled to be working with Infosys Foundation USA to bring the magic of making to communities everywhere. At a time when creating, making and trying things out aren’t just educational, but also exciting, we are partnering with Infosys to further our mission to make every child - and parent - a maker.”
In addition to the Makerspace grants, Infy Makers will commence the individual awards with two categories:
- School students: Up to 50 middle and high school students will win US$ 1,000 each
- Adults: Up to 25 adults (18 years old and over) will win US$ 10,000 each
A panel of distinguished technology, academic and community leaders will evaluate and award the winners. There will be three awards cycles stretching from September 2015 through June 2016. The cycles will begin on September 25, December 1 and March 1.
Illah R. Nourbakhsh, Professor of Robotics at The Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and an Infy Maker Award judge, added, “The CREATE Lab brings experiential learning opportunities to local communities and shares many of the values of Infosys Foundation USA – most notably the importance of learning for life and the role of technology in greatly amplifying human potential. The Infy Maker Awards will inspire young people to be the makers and doers of the future, and ensure that computing skills are not only widely and easily accessible to children, but fun too. I’m delighted to serve as a judge and look forward to evaluating these creative maker solutions.”
Still in its first year, Infosys Foundation USA is establishing itself as a supporter of education and training for computer science and related disciplines, with an emphasis on underrepresented students. Infosys Foundation USA provides up to US$ 10 million in grants to organizations working in these areas.