Global Competition Encouraging Youth to Apply Critical Thinking to Solve UN SDGs
DALLAS, TX (April 17, 2023) – Mary Kay Inc., a decades-long corporate advocate of women’s education and entrepreneurship, announced the top three winners of its third annual World Series of Innovation (WSI) challenge in partnership with Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE). This global competition encourages youth ages 13-24 to utilize critical thinking skills to help solve the world’s greatest challenges on a local, domestic, or international scale, as part of the advancement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Mary Kay’s WSI challenge kicked off September 15 in conjunction with World Clean Up Day and encouraged young entrepreneurs to submit innovative solutions to address UN SDG 14: Life Below Water. Specifically, students were asked to design a solution to further the conservation and/or protection of the world’s marine ecosystems and coastal communities.
“Businesses and Individuals play critical roles in protecting and conserving our world’s most precious resources. Posing the challenges of the world’s marine ecosystems to the next generation brings a fresh perspective on problem-solving, and no solution is too small. Students looked at all angles of the issue, proposing innovative, sustainable, and impactful ways to address water conservation everywhere from their own homes, all the way to tackling the vast ocean.”
Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer for Mary Kay Inc
Annually, NFTE reaches more than 40,000 youth worldwide, with 3,860 students from around the world submitting ideas for this year’s WSI challenges. More than 485 students participated in the Mary Kay-sponsored challenge. The top three winners of Mary Kay’s 2022 WSI Challenge are:
- First Place: Angel Gear developed a business that purchases broken fishing nets and other gear and repurposes them into reusable nets. Developed by Ryan Zhang (17) and Jia-Teng Lu (16) from Kang Chiao International School in Taiwan. View submission video.
- Second Place: Saving the Superstars of the Global Ecosystem utilizes unmanned surface water drones in combination with satellite-based remote sensing systems to locate and identify algae blooms in the Chesapeake Bay. Developed by Emily Carver (17) from Douglas S. Freeman High School in Virginia. View submission video.
- Third Place: Reversify designed a sustainable washing machine that repurposes rainwater and filters harmful pollutants in wastewater. Developed by Iyshly Chen (16), Davina Liang (16), and Kelly Luo (16) from Abraham Lincoln High School in California. View submission video.
“Each year, WSI participants choose from a diverse offering of challenge topics, often selecting one that resonates personally with their experience. Mary Kay’s Global Oceans Conservation Challenge asked students to think critically about one of the world’s most vital resources – water – and their innovative ideas did not disappoint. Submissions ranged from social ideas such as engaging the community to clean up their local water sources, to engineering ideas such as creating drones that skim the ocean for waste without disrupting natural habitats.”
Dr. J.D. LaRock, President and CEO of NFTE
NFTE is a global educational non-profit focused on bringing the power of entrepreneurship to low-income communities. Since its founding more than 35 years ago, NFTE has trained thousands of teachers and educated well over a million young people worldwide. Every fall, NFTE launches a new set of challenges for the WSI competition and invites corporate sponsors to address the UN SDGs. The 2022 NFTE World Series of Innovation is presented by Citi Foundation and features challenges sponsored by Mary Kay Inc., MetLife Foundation, Mastercard, Bank of the West, Link, Maxar, Ernst & Young, LLP (EY), ServiceNow and Zuora. View the top three winners for each challenge and learn more about all the World Series of Innovation challenges at https://innovation.nfte.com/.