WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today met with students and faculty from Newark, New Jersey's Oliver Street Elementary School to congratulate the students for being selected as a nationwide winner of the "Solve for Tomorrow" contest, which was created by Samsung to raise interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies. The school's proposal to prevent sewer run-off into the Passaic River was selected as one of five winning projects, out of 2,300 nationwide.

"The ingenuity displayed by these students is outstanding and proves our young people can absolutely solve for tomorrow and develop innovative solutions for real problems," said Sen. Menendez. "By choosing to focus on cleaning the Passaic River, these students took a local environmental problem that we must address and are drawing national attention to it. I applaud them for their efforts and can only hope this leads to real-life change."

The winning project by Oliver Street Elementary School, "Exploring solutions to mitigate the effects of run-off into sewers," was born out of the students' interest in reducing the amount of trash in the Passaic River. Levering STEM learning, the students engineered a filter system that catches trash in a removable box before it flows into sewer drains, preventing trash from flowing into the river.

Senator Menendez has advocated for Passaic River clean-up efforts, most recently applauding the Environmental Protection Agency's funding announcement of $1.7 billion for cleanup of the lower eight-mile stretch of the river.

Additionally, Senator Menendez has long been dedicated to strengthening STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education in the United States where American students only rank 25th in math and 17th in science when compared to students in other countries on international assessments. Currently, he is urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to provide the highest funding level possible for STEM education programs.

Samsung started the Solve for Tomorrow education contest to give schools across the U.S. the opportunity to raise interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects among students by awarding their schools with a share of more than $2 million* in technology products.

Senator Menendez met with Oliver Street Elementary School Principal Douglas Petty, Oliver Street Elementary School Teacher James Intrabartolo, students Luis DeSouza and Gabriel Margaca, and Samsung Electronics representatives David Steel and Joel Wiginton.