For many high school students, anxiety about their future can be a very real thing. In a time of economic desperation that ends in debt for many, any chance to capitalize on one’s potential is a valued opportunity. So what if there was a program that did just that- give high school students a chance to capitalize on their dreams?

That’s the question those at the Conrad Foundation asked, and the answer has been changing the lives of high school students around the world. The 2011-2012 Spirit of Innovation Challenge gives students the chance to use their math, science, technology and engineering skills to develop world-changing innovations. Students will form teams and work together to create technology-based products in three categories- Clean Energy, Aerospace Exploration, and Health and Nutrition. If their innovations are chosen, teams will get the chance to present their technology at the NASA-Ames Research Center in Silocon Valley, and possibly qualify to travel to Rio de Janerio to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development called Rio+20.

The mission of this entire program is to promote the use of science and technology to solve real world problems and to provide networking and guidance opportunities for high school youth. Any high-school age student is invited to register, whether they attend public school, are enrolled in private school, or are home schooled. Registration is free, and gets you a profile on the Conrad Foundation’s website. Registration is simple; students merely answer four questions about their innovative concept by the deadline on November 29, 2011.

Students shouldn’t hesitate to join the website just because they don’t have team members. The Conrad Foundation’s website provides a Facebook-like correspondence network that allows participants from all across the globe to share ideas, develop products, and get to know one another. Members will also have access to professionals in many different fields, who will provide guidance to the team as they work their way through qualifying sessions. The five teams from each category with the most promising products will travel to the Innovation Summit at NASA-Ames Research Center in California in March of 2012.

Innovations should use concepts in math, science, engineering and technology in new and breakthrough ways that will contribute to one of the three fields. If you know a high school student with a promising concept who would be interested in this opportunity, or are interested in contributing yourself, visit the link in the paragraph above. Applicants are not restricted by where they live, but should mark on their calendars the days of presentation.