News Release

TAG-Ed And The Georgia Department Of Education Launch The 2012 Student Innovation Awards

The Verizon Foundation Sponsors This Student Challenge Focused On Developing Mobile Technology For Diabetes Care

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August 20, 2012

Kate Jay


Becky Biggs

ATLANTA, GA — TAG Education Collaborative (TAG-Ed) and the Georgia Department of Education (GDoE) are now accepting entries for the 2012 Student Innovation Awards, sponsored by the Verizon Foundation.  Starting today through October 4, students involved in Georgia chapters of the Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA) and the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) are encouraged to form teams of two to four people and develop a mobile application to aid healthcare providers in the education and training of a patient newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

This year’s challenge encourages student teams to evaluate current trends in the use of mobile applications and understand how these trends will impact the healthcare delivery system specific to the disease of diabetes.  Their applications may address a variety of issues related to Type 1 diabetes, including nutrition, activity level and medications, as well as signs and symptoms of the disease.  According to the most recent numbers from the Center for Disease Control, 25.8 million people in the United States have diabetes. Nearly ten percent of Georgians have diagnosed diabetes, with approximately 63,000 new cases diagnosed in 2010 alone.

“This is the second year we have offered this competition and the response last year was phenomenal,” said Michael Robertson, director of TAG-Ed.  “The bar for the competition was set high last year, but we know Georgia is blessed with incredibly gifted and creative students.  We can’t wait to see what they come up with this year to address this very critical health issue in our state.”

He added, “it was incredibly rewarding to witness the excitement from the finalist teams last year as they presented at the Health IT Leadership Summit and met Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle.  We believe programs, such as our Student Innovation Awards, can light the fire for students to pursue careers in healthcare and technology and help us solve the future talent shortage we are facing in both industries.”

“Students should be exposed to potential careers in technology, health care and other fields much earlier in school,” said State School Superintendent Dr. John Barge.  “This competition is a great way to help students find their passions while identifying future leaders for Georgia’s 21st Century jobs.”

Finalist teams will be selected to attend the Health IT Leadership Summit on December 4, 2012.  Those teams will present and market their application to the healthcare and industry representatives attending the Summit.

Cash prizes will be awarded to each of the finalist teams and a grand prize winner will receive an additional cash prize for their HOSA or FBLA chapter.  A text vote at the Summit will determine the winning team.

“Verizon is focused on seeking ways to further leverage the power of our technology to address the most critical societal issues,” said Jonathan LeCompte, president – Georgia/Alabama region, Verizon Wireless.  “We’re proud to play a role in this effort to help Georgia’s students innovate new applications that address a significant health issue in this state and nationwide.”

For more information on the Student Innovation Award, visit or contact Michael Robertson at  The deadline for applications is noon on October 4, 2012.

About TAG Education Collaborative
TAG Education Collaborative initiatives include a student internship program, the WebChallenge competition for high school students, and the Vine Event, a fundraiser launched in 2009 which has raised more than $80,000 to support STEM education.  The TAG Education Collaborative provides middle school and high school programs designed to provide these students with hands-on activities that enable them to gain an appreciation for the opportunities available in STEM careers.  For additional information, visit TAG Education Collaborative or contact Michael Robertson at (404) 920 – 2038 or

About The Verizon Foundation
The Verizon Foundation helps people to live healthy, safe and independent lives by addressing disparities in education, health care and sustainability.  Since 2000, the Verizon Foundation has invested more than half a billion dollars to improve the communities where Verizon employees work and live. Verizon’s employees are generous with their donations and their time, having logged more than 6.2 million hours of service to make a positive difference in their communities.  For more information, visit

About Verizon
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to consumer, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America’s most reliable wireless network, with nearly 109 million total connections nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America’s most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers integrated business solutions to customers in more than 150 countries, including all of the Fortune 500. A Dow 30 company with $111 billion in 2011 revenues, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of nearly 194,000. For more information, visit

About The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG)
The Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) is the leading technology industry association in the state, serving more than 17,800 members and hosting over 200 events each year.  TAG serves as an umbrella organization for 31 industry societies, each of which provides rich content for TAG constituents. TAG’s mission is to educate, promote, influence and unite Georgia’s technology community to foster an innovative and connected marketplace that stimulates and enhances a tech-based economy.  The association provides members with access to networking and educational programs; recognizes and promotes Georgia’s technology leaders and companies; and advocates for legislative action that enhances the state’s economic climate for technology. Additionally, the TAG Education Collaborative (TAG’s charitable arm) focuses on helping science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education initiatives thrive. For more information visit the TAG website at or TAG’s community website at To learn about the TAG-Ed Collaborative visit