Washington - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today congratulated students from Jefferson Township Middle School for being named one of five grand prize winners in Samsung's national Solve for Tomorrow competition in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education. Menendez met with students Jessica Competiello and Emma Plunkett, teacher Nancy Harris and Principal Jeanne Howe today during their visit to Washington, D.C. to attend the award ceremony.

"I'm so proud of the creativity and energy the Jefferson Township Middle School team put into their mobile 'app' design to bring awareness to an issue that's important to our New Jersey communities," said Senator Menendez. "These students are applying what they're learning in the classroom to address real-world problems. They show firsthand how critical it is to continue investing in science, technology and math education so all of our future leaders have this competitive edge and ability to tackle our challenges."

The students at Jefferson Township Middle School identified invasive species (water chestnuts, zebra mussels, Eurasian milkweed) and their negative impacts on local lakes in their community - and took action. They created a smartphone application to spread awareness among boaters, residents, and visitors to Oak Ridge. Ultimately they hope that heightened awareness of the problem will prevent further spread of the invasive species in their region. Jefferson Township Middle School will receive $100,000 of technology prizes for their winning entry.

As part of the Samsung Hope for Childreninitiative, Solve for Tomorrow promotes math and science education as a path to fostering sustainable innovation. The competition asks students to apply their science, technology, engineering, and math learning to solving a local environmental problem.

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Senator Menendez shares a laugh with Jefferson Township Middle School students Jessica Competiello (Left) and Emma Plunkett (Right).

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From left to right: Jeanne Howe, Jessica Competiello, Emma Plunkett, Nancy Harris