Division Names

New this year, divisions will be named after 6 individuals with Indiana connections, both past and present, who have had a significant impact on the STEM community.


Amelia Earhart

Presented by: Guggenheim Life and Annuity

Indiana Connection: Professor at Purdue University

Amelia Mary Earhart was an American aviation pioneer and author. Earhart was the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean. She received the United States Distinguished Flying Cross for this accomplishment. She set many other records, wrote best-selling books about her flying experiences and was instrumental in the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organization for female pilots. In 1935, Earhart became a visiting faculty member at Purdue University as an advisor to aeronautical engineering and a career counselor to female students. She was also a member of the National Woman's Party and an early supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment.

LINK to list of teams in the Amelia Earhart Division


Eli Lilly

Presented by: Eli Lilly and Company Foundation

Indiana Connection: Started Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, IN

Eli Lilly was an American soldier, pharmacist, chemist, and businessman who founded the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana. Lilly's company manufactured drugs and marketed them on a wholesale basis to pharmacies. Two of the early advances he pioneered were creating gelatin capsules to contain medicines and developing fruit flavorings. Eli Lilly and Company became one of the first pharmaceutical firms of its kind to staff a dedicated research department and put into place numerous quality-assurance measures.

LINK to list of teams in the Eli Lilly Division


Jamie Hyneman

Presented by: Indiana Department of Education

Indiana Connection: Grew up in Columbus, IN | Graduated from Indiana University

James Franklin Hyneman is a special effects expert who is best known as the co-host of the television series MythBusters alongside Adam Savage. He is also the owner of M5 Industries, the special effects workshop where MythBusters was filmed. He is known among Robot Wars devotees for his robot entry, Blendo, which, for a time, was deemed too dangerous for entry in the competition. He is one of the designers of the aerial robotic camera system Wavecam, used in sports and entertainment events.

LINK to list of teams in the Jamie Hyneman Division


Melba Phillips

Presented by: Roche

Indiana Connection: Hazleton, Indiana | Graduated from Oakland City University

Melba Newell Phillips was an American physicist and pioneer science educator. One of the first doctoral students of J. Robert Oppenheimer at the University of California, Berkeley, Phillips completed her Ph.D. in 1933, a time when few women pursued careers in science. In 1935 Oppenheimer and Phillips published their description of the Oppenheimer-Phillips effect, an early contribution to nuclear physics that explained the behavior of accelerated nuclei of radioactive hydrogen atoms.

In 1957, Phillips became the associate director of the Academic Year Institute of Washington University in St. Louis, a teacher-training school. At the institute she developed programs instructing high school teachers about how to teach elementary science and physics. She also made laboratory work an important part of the student experience. She explained that “unless the students get ‘hands on learning,’ it seems they don’t fully understand the material.”

LINK to list of teams in the Melba Phillips Division


Neil Armstrong

Presented by: TechPoint Foundation for Youth

Indiana Connection: Graduated from Purdue University

Neil Alden Armstrong was an American astronaut and aeronautical engineer who was the first person to walk on the Moon. He was also a naval aviator, test pilot, and university professor. Armstrong joined the NASA Astronaut Corps in the second group, which was selected in 1962. He made his first spaceflight as commander of Gemini 8 in March 1966, becoming NASA's first civilian astronaut to fly in space.

In July 1969, Armstrong and Apollo 11 Lunar Module pilot Buzz Aldrin became the first people to land on the Moon, and spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft while Michael Collins remained in lunar orbit in the command and service module. When Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface, he famously said: "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."

LINK to list of teams in the Neil Armstrong Division


Percy Julian

Presented by: Indiana Department of Workforce Development

Indiana Connection: Graduated from DePauw University

Percy Lavon Julian was a research chemist and a pioneer in the chemical synthesis of medicinal drugs from plants. His work laid the foundation for the steroid drug industry's production of cortisone, other corticosteroids, and birth control pills.

He later started his own company to synthesize steroid intermediates from the wild Mexican yam. His work helped greatly reduce the cost of steroid intermediates to large multinational pharmaceutical companies, helping to significantly expand the use of several important drugs.

Julian received more than 130 chemical patents. He was one of the first African Americans to receive a doctorate in chemistry. He was the first African-American chemist inducted into the National Academy of Sciences, and the second African-American scientist inducted (behind David Blackwell) from any field.

LINK to list of teams in the Percy Julian Division


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