Pineville Middle School in Pineville, West Virginia has been named one of 10 National Finalists in the 11th annual Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest – a nationwide education competition which challenges students in grades 6-12 to use STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills to address local issues and inspire change in their communities.

As a National Finalist, Pineville Middle School has won $65,000* in Samsung technology and classroom supplies for their project to help reduce the risk of mining accidents – which they created while splitting their school time between the classroom and at-home virtual learning.

Students participated in a virtual pitch event again yesterday, presenting their project to a panel of judges in hopes to be named one of three National Winners and take home the grand prize of $130,000.

“Through the Solve for Tomorrow competition, we have seen firsthand how resilient students are, as these challenging times have proven to be a source of creativity and innovation for our National Finalists,” said Ann Woo, Senior Director of Corporate Citizenship, Samsung Electronics America. “Samsung Solve for Tomorrow challenges students to create high-impact, functional solutions. While in virtual and hybrid learning environments, students had to be more nimble than ever to answer that call. These National Finalists represent hundreds of students and teachers who have worked determinedly to change the world, and we are proud to play a part in their journey.”

Pineville Middle School’s project was centered on the Upper Big Branch Mine Accident which took the lives of 29 miners. Miners regularly experience dangerous working conditions, and underground telecommunications remain a challenge. To mitigate the risk of mining accidents, the students developed a low-cost device that can be worn by miners underground to detect high levels of methane that could cause an explosion and warn the miner with a red light or siren. In addition, the students are also using robotics so the device can enter spaces ahead of the miners to detect problems before entering a potentially dangerous site.

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