The Butwin Elias Science and Technology award is a scholarship awarded at E. L. Meyers High to encourage students to attempt different science and technology related projects. The BEST award was established to honor Sam Elias and George Butwin and their numerous years of teaching at E. L. Meyers High School in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. Both of these extremely influential and talented teachers structured their curriculums around numerous projects and labs. From bungee-barbies demonstrating Hooke’s Law, cardboard canoe races enforcing Archimedes principle to Van de Graaff generators demonstrating the nature of static electricity, a key tenet of their instruction was that students learn more when they get hands-on experience. 

This award aims to provide students with the extremely valuable experience of making something that they are interested in. The projects are submitted to a panel of judges that will then award a cash prize to the best-executed project. Very limited guidance is given about what projects should be submitted and the general takeaway from the award should be that if you build something cool that you are interested in you have the opportunity to be rewarded. 

Why is it a contest? 

The award was loosely modeled after an engineering design competition. With a lower barrier to entry and the opportunity to work on a project of their choosing, this award hopes to provide hands-on experience to students to make them more likely to apply to design contests later on. In addition to awarding a first place cash prize, we give every student who has submitted a project at least a participation award of $50. The hope is to start students on a journey of exploration of science and technology and for them to realize how rewarding this journey can be. Adam Iseman started experimenting with robotics at Meyers for a Science Olympiad Contest. His experiments with robotics continue to this day and they helped him on his career path of becoming an electrical engineer. A large part of these experiments have been completed as part of design contests: 

The various robots that Adam Iseman has built during and after his time at Meyers

These robots and Adam's career path were in part inspired by the Science Olympiad contest that Adam entered in eighth grade. Meyers currently doesn't field a Science Olympiad team and the BEST award hopes to inspire students to complete projects that start them on a lifetime of exploration of a topic that interests them. 

How can I help?  

The BEST award started with a single email. If you want to start a scholarship honoring one of the great teachers that you had then you should reach out to them. The first year that the BEST award was offered we only awarded a $1,000 prize. To a high school student even a $100 prize can be quite significant. If you think you might want to start something similar to the BEST award send a quick email about it right now to your old school. If you would like any advice please feel free to reach out to us

The Iseman Foundation exists because of generous donations from friends and family members. 100% of donations go directly to helping the awards that we put on. If you would like to donate to support the BEST award follow the instructions here.