Project Profiles

Christopher Columbus Awards

Christopher Columbus Awards

A group of leading U.S. foundations wanted to address the decline in science scores among middle-school students. Their goal was to get more kids involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) activities through problem solving and community service.

The foundations turned to MMS Education for help. Working together, we created the implementation program for the Christopher Columbus Awards program, a national competition that combined STEM with community problem solving in a real-world setting. Students formed teams, identified an issue in their community, and used the scientific method to develop an innovative solution utilizing STEM principles. More than 20,000 students and 2,000 adult coaches participated in the program, with teams receiving high-level recognition for their work. Several even secured U.S. patents for their ideas.

MMS worked with the partners to develop the in-school program and managed all of the education marketing and implementation from start to finish. Responsibilities included creating the Guideline booklet for team coaches, correlating the program with the National Science Education Standards, and providing tips on how to implement the program in schools. MMS also developed the Playbook for students, providing guidance on how to enter the competition, entry requirements, and information on protecting their intellectual property.

MMS was responsible for generating participation and enrollment through direct mail and email marketing, as well as social media and staffing a toll-free number to handle all inquiries. We also managed all of the judging components, including identifying and recruiting judges for each of the three levels of judging panels, processing all of the entries, distributing participant prizes, and planning and coordinating the logistics for the National Championship Week recognition event, which was held in Orlando, Florida, each year.