Fisher Space Pen joins Spirit of Innovation Challenge

  • There is an old adage that “teaching creates all other professions.” Fisher Space Pen® shares that belief. The company, famous for its ballpoint pen that can write in any environment, will sponsor the “Innovative Teacher of the Year Award” as part of the 2011-2012 Spirit of Innovation Challenge, a global competition hosted by the Conrad Foundation.


    The Innovative Teacher Award will include a cash prize and a custom-designed bronze trophy by Erik Lindbergh that resembles the rocket built by his famous grandfather and aviator Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh. The Conrad Foundation will select one teacher per year who demonstrated excellence in guiding his or her team through the Spirit of Innovation Challenge competition. The trophy will travel to the teacher’s home school, where it will remain for a one-year period.


    “If the Conrad Foundation existed back in the 1960s, my father would have been the first to participate in its annual innovation challenge,” said Fisher Space Pen President Cary Fisher. “He had a gift for thinking outside of the globe, and as a result, he created an everyday product that is used by astronauts.”


    Throughout his career, company founder Paul Fisher was recognized for his entrepreneurial spirit. It began with a simple idea … to develop a universal cartridge that would work for all ballpoint pens. After accomplishing that feat, he was determined to cure the drying out, leaking and skipping that plagued early ball point pens.  The result was a nitrogen cartridge technology that would allow pens to work in microgravity, upside down, underwater, extreme temperatures and at high speed.


    The technology caught the eye of the U.S. space program. Since traditional ballpoint pens didn’t work in space, astronauts had been using pencils to take notes. The Fisher® cartridge debuted in space during Apollo 7, and the Fisher Space Pen® was born.


    “We are honored to be part of the 2011-2012 Challenge by sponsoring this award,” Fisher said. No one helps nurture dreams more than a teacher. It is these unsung heroes that inspire our students to think bigger and shape their ideas into real solutions with true market value.”


    “Our teams are supported in their journey by their teachers,” said Nancy Conrad, founder and chairman of the Conrad Foundation. “Their ability to inspire, engage and make learning fun is the key to building the dynamic workforce that will support our knowledge-based economy. Essentially, they are helping to create future ‘Paul Fishers’.”


    Now in its fifth year, the Spirit of Innovation Challenge invites high school teams to use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills to develop commercially viable, technology-based products in one of three categories - Aerospace Exploration, Clean Energy, and Health and Nutrition. It’s easy and free to register. Student teams simply answer four questions about their innovative concept by Nov. 29, 2011.


    The top five finalist teams from each category will travel to the annual Innovation Summit at NASA-Ames Research Center in California from March 29-31, 2012.


    About the Conrad Foundation

    The Conrad Foundation is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the current methods of teaching science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in high schools. The program is free to all who wish to participate and reaches all socio-economic levels. The Foundation is the only organization of its kind to combine education, innovation and entrepreneurship to inspire solutions for achieving global sustainability. The Spirit of Innovation Challenge, the Foundation’s flagship program, is an annual, global competition that challenges high school students to use STEM skills to develop commercially viable, technology-based products that address real-world challenges.


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    Carrie Taylor

    Griffin Communications Group

    (832) 864-7226 – office; (281) 642-6981 – mobile