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March 9, 2010

Attention Students & Parents! Search Contests & Programs that Pay Off

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In the Internet marketing industry, we’re all constantly pushing ourselves to learn more and grow what we know. It’s not unlike what you want for your own children — education and opportunities that build a foundation for future success.

Turns out the search community is interested in sharing just such opportunities with students, a.k.a. the future of the world. Right now Google, Bing and the White House are all running contests and programs for children and young adults that promote learning and education in fun and creative ways. If you think your child might be interested in taking pictures, developing software or code, or hearing the President deliver the high school commencement address, check out the following opportunities.

Earth Day Photo Contest — Open to Students of All Ages

Bing Earth Day photo contest

Contest: Youth ages 5 and older are invited to submit their original photos which celebrate Earth Day. Entries will be divided among four age groups: 5-10, 11-13, 14-17, 18+.

Prizes: The grand-prize winning photo will be displayed on the Bing home page on Earth Day, April 22. The winner of each age group will get to go to the Microsoft Campus and attend a Bing editorial team meeting. Also, first, second and third place winners will all receive an HP Pavilion desktop and monitor and a digital photo software package for their school.

And there’s more! Each day during the voting period, Bing will donate $5.00 for DonorsChoose.org to the first 20,000 people who vote. And voters get to designate what classroom projects will benefit from the donation. Everyone truly wins!

Entry Period: March 29-April 11

Voting Period: April 13-19

Web Site: http://earthdayphotocontest.com/

Juicy Ideas Competition — Open to College Students

Juicy Ideas competition logo

Contest: Eligible college students are invited to answer the question “How can you use data to help your community?” by developing a software application. This contest is open to college and university students within a 50 km radius of Google offices and datacenters. Teams must consist of three to five students.

Prize: The grand-prize winners will receive an Android-powered phone and an all-expenses-paid trip to Google’s Mountain View headquarters.

Entry Period: March 29-April 11

Web Site: http://juicyideascompetition.appspot.com/

Summer of Code — Accepting Applications from Mentor Orgs Now

Google Summer of Code 2010 logo

Program: Every year Google funds a three-month student mentoring program, pairing students with organizations to work on a coding project together. Student developers partner with a group running an active open-source software project.

Who Wins: Everyone involved! Students gain exposure to real-world software development situations and a resume-worthy experience in their field of pursued interest. The mentor organization gets to bring in and identify new developers. And more open source code is released for anyone to use.

Application Period: Mentor organizations may apply by March 12. The student application period opens March 29.

Web Site: http://code.google.com/soc/

Race to the Top High School Commencement Challenge — Open to Public High School Students

logo of White House Race to the Top

Contest: Okay, so this one’s got nothing to do with search, but it’s definitely a student contest. And the White House’s marketing efforts are worth learning from. Public high schools are invited to submit an application of four essay questions focused on personal responsibility, academic excellence and college readiness. To supplement the application, a school can also submit a two-minute or shorter video as well as data on attendance, graduation rates, and other key indicators.

Prize: President Obama will deliver the commencement address to the winning school’s graduating class.

Entry Period: February 19-March 15

Voting Period: TBA – The White House and Department of Education will select the six finalists. The public will then be invited to vote for their top three choices on the White House Web site.

Web Site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/Commencement





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