FAST Competition

The Neilom Foundation FAST Competition

The 2021 Fresh Approach using Science and Technology (FAST) Competition is underway with $4,500 in total prizes! Are you an undergraduate or graduate college student (or student team) currently enrolled in STEM? Do you want to change the world for the better? The Neilom Foundation wants YOU to answer the following in a two minute video:

How would you use technology to help address
issues of diversity, equity and inclusion?


1. Choose a specific issue (locally or internationally), where increased diversity, equity, and/or inclusion would make a positive difference to the issue, then,

2. Show how technology could be used to truly make an impact in this area with a video of no more than two minutes.

You could win one of the following prizes:
1st place: $2,000
2nd place: $1,500
3rd place: $1,000

But you have to be FAST!  Full competition rules and how to enter can be found HERE, and good luck to everyone! Competition entries close November 15, 2021. 


Previous Competitions

2020 First Place (Tie): Linette Kingston, junior Health Science and Analytics student, and Christina Nguyen, junior Biochemistry major.

“We focused on improving accessibility at UMD in terms of providing clearer navigation within UMD’s buildings. We were compelled to focus on this topic because research and anecdotal experiences indicate that students with physical disabilities and/or temporary mobility-related impairments often face difficulties when it comes to navigation on college campuses (e.g. finding ramps, accessible entrances). On the UMD app, one can find PDF floor plans of each building, but the floor plans are hard to read and don’t indicate accessibility features or routes. Thus, Christina and I focused on creating a dynamic solution that would tackle this issue.”

2020 First Place (Tie): Elyas Masrour, Computer Engineering freshman

“I decided to tackle the problem of technological distraction. When the education world first pivoted to a virtual environment earlier this year, I was super excited to revamp my workflow and become more productive than ever. However, I soon learned how distracting technology can be when I’m not physically in a classroom. Apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok all competed for my attention, and I ended up being significantly less productive than usual. All these months later, I’m still dealing with the same issues! Furthermore, I’ve talked to so many of my peers, and they have all echoed similar complaints. I was frustrated, so I decided to design a solution.”

2020 Honorable Mention: Abdullah Ghori, Aranindu Liyanage, & Bobir Nasafi. 

“Our video highlights the issue of social media addiction and contrasts the life of a person attached to their phone vs. the same person living without that addiction. Since social media emerged, it has been convenient for everyone to connect virtually, but recently due to COVID-19, social media has become the only source of socialization for many people. Social media addiction is a real problem that can affect everyone. With this video, we hoped to spread the message and have the viewers internalize how they are using social media.”