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Call To Creative Kids To Join International TOYchallenge™SAN DIEGO (November 2, 2004) – Sally Ride, Smith College and Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE: HAS) are giving students in grades five through eight the chance to step out of their classrooms and broaden their engineering, science and design skills by creating their dream toy for the third annual TOYchallenge™. The mission of this fun-fueled toy- and game-design competition is to motivate kids, especially girls, to pursue science engineering education and careers. A key feature of TOYchallenge 2005 will be the production of a theatrical documentary film that will show engineering in a different light. Hasbro has been the program's presenting sponsor since its inception. Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society serves as a principal sponsor for the second year in a row.
"By giving students the opportunity teach themselves and their peers that science can be fun, TOYchallenge is a great way to inspire kids, especially girls, to expand their educational horizons and help secure our future technical workforce," noted Sally Ride, founder of Sally Ride Science.
TOYchallenge was developed by Ride and Smith College's Picker Engineering Program as an outreach activity to engage middle school-age students, especially girls, in science and engineering and to inspire them to pursue careers in those fields. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise only 11 percent of the engineering workforce. However, studies show that, in elementary school, equal numbers of girls and boys are interested in--and good at--math, science and technology. Unfortunately, beginning around the sixth grade, more girls than boys drift away from these subjects. While open to all U.S. and Canadian students in grades five through eight, TOYchallenge focuses on catching girls' attention in these subjects in order to keep them in the engineering "pipeline."
This year's competition will be the subject of a documentary film. TOYchallenge: A story about inspiration, perspiration, and toys, will follow several teams of kids age 10 – 13, as they brainstorm, conceive and design entries for TOYchallenge. The film will be launched at film festivals and distributed through limited theatrical release, cable, and video/DVD. It will ultimately be seen by over seven and a half million people.
"Every day our employees work together in teams using their creative talents as well as their math and design skills to develop toys and games for children of all ages," said Karen Davis, vice president of community relations for Hasbro, Inc. "We are proud to be the founding sponsor of TOYchallenge because it truly does provide students with a way to develop these practical skills while having fun and hopefully sparking their interest to continue studying and enhancing their math, science and design skills."
"All students, and especially girls, need to develop skills, abilities and confidence in science and engineering," said Domenico Grasso, Rosemary Bradford Hewlett Professor and director of the Smith College Picker Engineering Program. "With TOYchallenge, we make that fun. Children's toys often introduce various aspects of technology and provide learning opportunities."
"The TOYchallenge competition is highly compatible with Sigma Xi's efforts to improve science and engineering education," according to Sigma Xi executive director Patrick D. Sculley. "Our network of more than 500 chapters also lends itself to participation by Sigma Xi members as coaches and judges. We've had a longstanding interest in nurturing the next generation of scientists and engineers and look forward to the day when many of these young TOYchallenge participants will take their place in the ranks of our membership."
Imaginative kids can easily join in the fun of TOYchallenge. To get started, design teams must: find an adult coach (18 years of age, or older), and sign up before December 15, 2004 (fee is $25 per team); choose from themed-toy categories such as "Games for the Family," "Get out and Play," and "Remarkable Robots"; and create and submit by January 28, 2005, their Preliminary Round Entry, consisting of a written description and visual presentation of their original toy or game concept.
TOYchallenge guidelines and registration forms are available at www.TOYchallenge.com. Both boys and girls in grades five through eight may participate, but at least half of the members of each team must be girls. All submissions will be judged on originality, creativity, engineering elegance, feasibility, design process description, team participation and clarity of communication.
Judges from organizations including the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers which is sponsoring 54 TOYchallenge teams, Smith College, the Society of Women in Engineering and Hasbro will choose teams from the Preliminary Round to receive cash awards and advance to two National Showcases. Preliminary Round judging will be completed during National Engineering Week (February 20 - 26, 2005). Category Prize Winners will be named at the National Showcases to be held at the San Diego Aerospace Museum on April 30 and the Sigma Xi Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. on May 7. All Category-winning teams will be featured on the TOYchallenge website and each team member will receive a Hasbro toy and game package, autographed books, or other similar prizes. Two to three teams selected from the April and May National Showcases will receive all-expense paid trips to the TOYchallenge 2005 Final Judging and Awards Banquet, to be held at Hasbro's world headquarters in Pawtucket, R.I., where grand prizes will be awarded. Last year's prizes included a trip to Space Camp and the creation of personalized Hasbro figures in each team member's likeness as well as a Thames & Kosmos Fuel Cell Car and Experiment Kit. All teams will receive certificates of participation. There will also be special awards for design, most educational, engineering, originality and team spirit.
Sally Ride Science Sally Ride Science™ was founded by astronaut Sally Ride to support the large numbers of girls and young women who are, or might become, interested in science, math and technology. The company organizes quality events, programs and activities for girls that empower them, engage them and encourage their interests. Current programs include Sally Ride Science Festivals, Sally Ride Science Camps, TOYchallenge™, and the Sally Ride Science Club™ - a national Club created to keep middle school girls engaged in science adventures by connecting them to people, information and attitudes that will nurture their relationship with science. The company also presents Sally Ride Educator Institutes – professional development programs for upper elementary and middle school science teachers with a special focus on planetary science and gender equity. For more information on Sally Ride Science programs, please visit: www.SallyRideScience.com, or call (800) 561-5161.
Hasbro, Inc. (NYSE:HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER, and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
Smith College is consistently ranked among the nation¹s foremost liberal arts colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 60 other countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women¹s college in the country. Smith¹s Picker Engineering Program, the first such program at a U.S. women¹s college, is focused on developing broadly educated, engineers capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations, non-profit organizations and technology-related fields.
Sigma Xi (www.sigmaxi.org), The Scientific Research Society, is the international honor society that recognizes research achievement in science and engineering. The Society is a diverse organization with more than 70,000 members dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering. Sigma Xi publishes American Scientist magazine (www.amsci.org), sponsors a grant program for young researchers, and organizes programs and services in the areas of ethics, science and engineering education, communication of science and engineering and international networking.