September 23, 2002
NATIONAL TOY DESIGN CHALLENGE
FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL-AGED KIDS PRESENTED BY SALLY RIDE SCIENCE CLUB
AND SMITH COLLEGE, SPONSORED BY HASBRO, INC.
Contest to Engage Kids,
Especially Girls, in Science and Engineering
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BOSTON, Mass.-The Sally Ride Science
Club and Smith College announced today the launch of TOYchallenge,
a national toy design competition that through fun, play and
imagination, will encourage girls' and boys' interest in engineering
and inspire them to pursue careers in this area. The winners
of the contest, which is sponsored by Hasbro, Inc., will be announced
at a national showcase in June, 2003.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women comprise only
9 percent of the engineering workforce. But 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.
To keep those girls interested in technical fields and in the
engineering pipeline, the Sally Ride Science Club-founded by
America's first female astronaut and Smith College's Picker Engineering
Program-set out to develop an engineering design challenge that
would capture the interest of both boys and girls and defy prevailing
stereotypes about gender and technology. The result is TOYchallenge,
a concept based on the first-year engineering design course at
Smith, which will challenge teams of middle school-aged kids
from across the country to design their own toys.
"The TOYchallenge competition is an ideal vehicle to capture
the imaginations of both boys and girls and illustrate that engineering
can be fun and exciting," observed Sally Ride, founder of
the Sally Ride Science Club.
"Toys and games have a universal appeal, and through TOYchallenge,
we hope to communicate an element of real-world design to which
all kids can relate," said Domenico Grasso, chair of Smith's
Picker Engineering Program.
Toy makers from Hasbro, the contest sponsor, will answer questions
on the contest's Web site to help the kids turn their creativity
"Hasbro has been making toys and games that have inspired
children for almost 80 years," noted Alan Hassenfeld, chairman
and CEO of Hasbro, Inc. "We are very excited to be a sponsor
of this competition, which we hope will inspire continued interest
in math and science. Perhaps it will even inspire a future toy
Joining in the fun of TOYchallenge is easy. To get started, the
design teams must:
- find an adult coach and register
by Nov. 15, 2002 (registration fee is $25 per team);
- choose a theme from 10 toy categories;
- and create and submit for evaluation
a visual presentation and operating instructions for their original
toy or game concept by Jan. 31, 2003.
TOYchallenge guidelines and application
forms are available online at www.toychallenge.com.
Both boys and girls may participate, but at least half of the
members of each team must be girls. The competition will culminate
in a national showcase, open to all participating teams, to be
held at Smith College in late spring 2003.
Prizes will be awarded at each stage of the TOYchallenge competition.
The three grand prizes* are:
- a week at Space Camp for each team
- a personalized Hasbro action figure
and behind-the-scenes tour of Hasbro, Inc.;
- and a VIP tour of NASA's Kennedy
Space Center for the team members and their families, with a
private question/answer session with an astronaut.
*travel not included
is consistently ranked among the nation's foremost liberal arts
colleges. Enrolling 2,800 students from every state and 55 other
countries, Smith is the largest undergraduate women's college
in the country. Established in 1999, Smith's Picker engineering
first and only engineering program at a U.S. women's college-is
focused on developing broadly educated, well-rounded engineers
capable of assuming leadership roles in corporations, non-profit
organizations and technology-related fields. The first class
of engineering majors will graduate in 2004, earning bachelor's
degrees in engineering science.
The Sally Ride Science Club is operated by Imaginary Lines, Inc. [www.ImaginaryLinesInc.com],
a company founded by former astronaut Sally Ride to provide support
for the large numbers of girls and young women who are, or might
become, interested in science, math, engineering and technology.
The national club was created to keep girls engaged in science
adventures by connecting them to people, information and attitudes
that will nurture their relationship with science at a critical
time in their lives. It is open to upper elementary and middle
school girls across the country and actively promotes membership
from diverse groups of girls.
(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.
Laurie Fenlason, Smith College,
(413) 585-2190, email@example.com
Toni DiMartino, Sally Ride Science Club, (858) 638-0960, firstname.lastname@example.org
Stacey Roberts, Hasbro, (401) 727-5318, email@example.com