Walter O'Brien Inspires at Project ECHO High School Entrepreneurs' Business Plan Competition

LOS ANGELES, April 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly 1,000 of the state's top middle and high school students will convene for the final round of competition in the 65th annual California State Science Fair, May 23-24, 2016 at the California Science Center in Exposition Park. Winners will take home a combined total of more than $50,000 in cash prizes. The Fair's presenting sponsor is Northrop Grumman Corporation with additional support from Chevron Corporation,, LLC, Southern California Gas Company, THE MUSES of the California Science Center Foundation, The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation and Gilead Sciences, Inc.

Robert Curbeam, vice president of Mission Assurance, Quality and Raytheon Six SigmaT for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). and former NASA astronaut, will give the keynote address. Curbeam is responsible for the development and integration of Raytheon's Mission Assurance road map, execution of the Quality Management System and continuous improvement across the business. Before joining Raytheon, he was president of the Aerospace and Defense Division for ARES Corporation, and held a wide range of positions with NASA as director of Safety, Reliability, and Quality Assurance for the Constellation program, deputy director of Flight Crew Operations; and Spacecraft Communicator (CAPCOM) branch chief. Curbeam was second-in-command for safety across NASA, as the deputy associate administrator of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA headquarters. During his tenure with NASA, he served on three space shuttle missions and seven spacewalks.

The keynote address will take place Monday, May 23 from 5:00-6:00 PM in the Wallis Annenberg Building.

Walter O'Brien, Founder and CEO of Scorpion Computer Services, Inc. and the inspiration behind the hit CBS television show, Scorpion, will serve as an inspirational speaker for all Science Fair participants at the student orientation at 8 am on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. Invited as a celebrity guest by the California Science Center and designated a child prodigy after scoring 197 on an IQ test at age nine, O'Brien launched Scorpion Computer Services at the age of 13 years old. Walter serves as chairman or board member for Houston Technology Center, Strike Force Solutions, Talentorum Alliance, Lawloop and Pantheon Energy and previously has served on the boards of American Environmental Energy, Starglobe and Toin Corp. In addition, O'Brien is frequently called on by news media, the government, and the federal court system for his technology expertise.

The public is invited to see this year's slate of innovative projects during the public viewing period on Monday, May 23 from 3:00-4:30 PM. Students will be present to answer questions. Admission is free.

Ideas for projects often come from exploring and potentially solving issues presented in headline news or in personal, everyday experiences. Here is a sample of the interesting titles submitted to this year's Science Fair:

  • Honey, Who Shrunk the Bee Population? Investigating Colony Collapse Disorder
  • Safecopter: Developing a Collision Avoidance System Based on an Array of Time-of-Flight 3D Cameras
  • Does College Help Basketball Players, or Hold Them Back?
  • Active Dog, Healthy Dog: Using Treats to Keep Vet bills Down

Nearly 1,000 students representing 30 affiliated county and multi-county regional science fairs throughout the state have advanced to the California State Science Fair. The projects span 22 categories - from aerodynamics/hydrodynamics to zoology - in two age divisions and will be judged by a volunteer pool of some 350 scientists and engineers from private industry and higher education.

n addition to the winners in each category, top honors will go to Student of the Year (senior division only), and Project of the Year (in both junior and senior divisions). Science teachers, nominated by students, will also compete for both middle school and high school Science Fair Teacher of the Year. Additional awards will be made to student projects by scientific and engineering organizations.

Besides the recognition and prize money, participating in the fair provides additional benefits for students. The process gives them the opportunity to develop a unique set of abilities, including using scientific methodology to reach a conclusion, marketing techniques to create compelling graphic displays, and communication skills to explain their research to Science Fair judges.

The fair culminates with two award ceremonies Tuesday, May 24 in the Science Center's Wallis Annenberg Building: The Junior Division ceremony will take place from 4:00-5:00 PM, followed by the Senior Division ceremony from 5:30-6:30 PM.

The California Science Center is located at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Parking is $12.00 per car in the visitor lot at Figueroa and 39th/Exposition Park Drive.

*Important - Reporter / Editor / Producer Note: Reporters interested in viewing projects with students on-hand for interviews should plan to visit either Monday, May 23 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM or Tuesday, May 24, 2016 from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM. These are the only times when the students will be stationed at their projects. RSVP's are required for Monday, May 23 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM. Please check-in at the Information Desk located inside the Science Center's front doors. After 12:30 PM on Tuesday, May 24, students will be dismissed and after 1:30 PM, projects will be dismantled. For general information on the California State Science Fair, please visit Names of the winners will be posted on this site after the awards ceremonies conclude at 7:00 PM. Reporters may also contact the Communications Department at (213) 744-2144 for information on winners from their area beginning May 26.

Media Contact: Kristina Kurasz

(213) 744-7446 |