Feature Stories 

Synopsys Outreach Foundation Celebrates One Million Unique Student and Teacher Experiences 

The Synopsys Outreach Foundation was founded in 1999 to spark excitement for science and math by providing support to local students and teachers developing science projects. The beginnings were modest with approximately 1,300 Santa Clara County students receiving support during the first year.

In the last 13 years, the Synopsys Outreach Foundation has evolved to offer funding, equipment, supplies and training to more than 130,000 students and teachers in more than 589 schools in 58 California counties each year. A major component supported by the Foundation is the Synopsys Championship, formerly recognized as the Santa Clara County Science Fair, which is now entering its 53rd year. Since 2004, six projects from the Synopsys Championship have won "Project of the Year" awards at the California State Science Fair (CSSF), with three teachers from the Synopsys Championship having won "Teacher of the Year" awards at CSSF. The Synopsys Championship has been very successful in creating positive experiences, with numerous students advancing from the Synopsys Championship to the state and national fairs where they routinely excel.

"Teachers make the difference, not just for the number of students who will choose careers in science, but in preparing all students for life in general," said Aart de Geus, co-CEO at Synopsys. "The life skills learned through science fair programs are truly admirable and we celebrate the one million kids chaperoned, encouraged, mentored and in some cases pushed to the next level and escorted into their futures."

On the evening of September 24, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the Synopsys Outreach Foundation hosted a select group of Santa Clara County teachers to celebrate having provided one million unique experiences to students and teachers involved in the Synopsys Outreach Foundation's science fair program. To commemorate this milestone, three teachers from Santa Clara County School Districts were recognized for their significant contributions to the program:

  • Gloria Hayes-Perkins, Horace Cureton Elementary School
  • Amy Brindos-Reeber, Buchser Middle School
  • Bruce Kawanami, Monta Vista High School (retired)

As part of the recognition, the Foundation is honoring each teacher with a $1,000 donation to their school's science program. The Foundation is also selecting one participating school in each of California's 58 counties to receive a monetary donation.

1millionth student, Synopsys Outreach Foundation
From left to right: Award recipients Bruce Kawanami, Gloria Hayes-Perkins and Amy Brindos-Reeber

Teacher Award Recipients
The program’s success is rooted in the dedicated teachers who are committed to inspiring students by challenging themselves. All three teachers who received the Foundation award reflect these attributes.

Gloria Hayes-Perkins is an elementary school award recipient and fourth grade science and math teacher with Cureton Elementary School in San Jose. She has served the education community in the South Bay for many years, with roles as a middle and high school teacher, assessment coordinator, summer school teacher, program specialist, principal and 2011 Resource Area for Teachers (RAFT) Fellow. For Hayes-Perkins, the key to success for students at the elementary school level is engaging parents to help foster a love for science. The Science Fair 101 events organized and administered by Hayes-Perkins are designed to prepare parents for their roles in supporting their children. Students and parents are provided with a step-by-step science fair handbook to help guide their projects. More than 145 students took part in the 2011 Science-o-Rama.

“My objective is to make science fun for students. We start with real world experiences and move on to the theory behind the practice,” said Hayes-Perkins. “Programs such as the Synopsys Championship lend to this learning experience by providing students with the tools necessary to attain success with their science fair goals.”

Upon joining Buchser Middle School in Santa Clara, middle school award recipient Amy Brindos-Reeber juggled 160 science projects in addition to teaching her regular classes. Determined to refine her science fair curriculum, she devoted countless hours reading, researching and writing what has now become a 45-page science fair handbook that has proved successful among students and teachers throughout the district. Brindos-Reeber enables success for her students by removing the roadblocks many of them encounter, at times personally funding their science project endeavors. Her encouragement has paved the way to many science fair successes that her students may not have otherwise attained, helping them to discover the “inner scientist” they didn’t realize existed.

“As I look to the future, I am very optimistic that my students will continue to meet my high expectations with the support system I have in place,” said Brindos-Reeber. “I look forward to the continued partnership with the Synopsys Outreach Foundation to help sustain the success of students.”

High school award recipient Bruce Kawanami worked as an engineer for 19 years at companies such as Intel and Altera. In the mid-1990’s, he made a major life transition to become a Regional Occupational Program Engineering Technology Instructor at Monta Vista High School in Cupertino. Kawanami focused on establishing the program curriculum to include hands-on exploration of engineering theory in disciplines like aerospace, mechanics, civil, materials science, electrical and robotics. As part of his program, he developed and reinforced the “Seven Steps of the Engineering Process.”

“The engineering program at Monta Vista has been very successful,” said Kawanami. “Not only have we won awards at the Synopsys Championship, CSSF, and the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, but there have been many more students energized by seeing their ideas come to fruition and get totally excited about a future in engineering and technology.”

Now retired, Kawanami continues his involvement as an active member of the Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Association.

Synopsys is proud to honor dedicated teachers like Gloria Hayes-Perkins, Amy Brindos-Reeber and Bruce Kawanami and to support their efforts to nurture their students’ interest in science and math. To learn more about the Synopsys Outreach Foundation please visit the following links: