“The feeling of winning the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition was unlike anything else I’d ever experienced. It was mind-blowing, incredible, world-opening. I felt like I could do anything,” said Benjamin Spiegel, a student of artificial intelligence at Brown University and a 2016 winner of the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest, which challenges public-school 6th to 12th graders to solve a pressing problem in their community using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Four years later, Spiegel is at an Ivy League university, preparing to defend his honors thesis in a major that he created, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Computers and Minds, designed to be a holistic study of artificial intelligence.“I want to be one of the players in the artificial intelligence field, making advances and changing the world with technology,” Spiegel says. “And it all starts somewhere.”
It starts with learning to program, learning to collaborate with other people to build larger and larger projects, overcoming challenges, and being able to defend a project, according to Spiegel.
“These are the critical skills that Solve for Tomorrow helped me grow.”
Spiegel has already started to pay forward his incredible Solve experience by mentoring a 2019 team of young engineers from Deep Creek Middle School, in Chesapeake, Virginia, who also went on to win a grand prize. Their project, Sight for Tomorrow, consisted of an app to help connect under-resourced students with free eye exams and donated prescription glasses, should they need them.
“The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow contest is a great opportunity to make a huge impact in your community,” Spiegel said. “It shows Samsung cares about fostering a community to solve social problems with technology.”