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I am a big fan of the Imagine Cup, an inspiring program I am proud to support. This Microsoft event is the world’s premiere student technology competition, and empowers students to use their creativity to change the world. Students are competing right now to represent their country at the worldwide finals in Poland in July. Starting today in the United States, you can vote for your favorite invention in the People’s Choice category. We are also introducing two new award categories, so students still can enter.
Participating in the Imagine Cup helps students develop important real-world skills. Encouraging students to get involved in programs such as the Imagine Cup also helps get them excited about studying and exploring career opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Design (STEM-D). You can read more about the competition in my personal blog here.When I talk to teachers and school leaders around the world, they tend to have one thing in common. With the current economic climate, the importance of education is taking center stage. It has become part of the global agenda, not only because fostering entrepreneurship and innovation leads to economic opportunity, but there is a dire need to encourage optimism with our students that they will find employment after they graduate from school. There is a growing need for a skilled workforce with knowledge in STEM-D subjects.Students are developing software applications, video games and mobile solutions that solve tough challenges in education, healthcare, disaster relief, and environmental sustainability. In the U.S., students are creating tools to reduce child mortality rates and analyze the electrical consumption of computer networks, digital data systems for hospitals to share knowledge, and educational games for children to interact with peers around the world. Today through April 23rd, you can check out the US finalists’ inventions and vote for your favorite idea at: http://www.imaginecup.us/peopleschoice.aspx. There are also two new awards still open The new Envisioning 2020 Award, and the Windows Phone 7 Series “Rockstar” Award. Participants can incorporate these awards into their current projects or enter for these awards alone, without signing up for the main competition categories.