And the Science Idols are….
Ryan Miyakawa and Daniel Rubalsky (aka State the Name)!!
You voted and we listened: the winner of the USA Science & Engineering Jingle Contest is Ryan Miyakawa and his song “Come and Play at the USA Science & Engineering Festival”. The runner-up was so close behind, that we created a 2nd prize for Daniel Rubalsky and his band, State the Name.
Ryan Miyakawa is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in applied science and technology at UC Berkeley. Daniel Rubalsky is a 15-year old tenth-grader from Reisterstown, MD.
Although their backgrounds are seemingly as different as night and day, both used their individual talents as songwriters to pen the winning entries in the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s Jingle Contest..
More than 100 individuals entered the contest from various parts of the country.
Placing first in the competition for a prize of $500 was Ryan’s composition, “Come and Play at the USA Science and Engineering Festival!”– an uplifting, catchy tune sung by UC Berkeley undergraduate Glory Liu (with help from two talented children singers).
Winning second place for $250 (a prize Festival organizers added due to the large number of votes from the public for this song) was Daniel and his four-member band, State the Name, with their song, “The Science Festival is Coming,” a cleverly-written rock tune with an infectious chorus and grunge feel.
Both songs will be receiving ample “air play” before and during the Festival as we look to unite and inspire everyone toward the common goal of the Festival: motivating and educating the next generation of scientists and engineers.
How did these tunesmiths come to write their award-winning songs? Both seem to have been encouraged by one of their teachers or academic advisors who had heard of the USA Science & Engineering Festival and its Jingle Contest. “For me, it was one of my advisors, Jeff Bokor,a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering at Berkeley,” says Ryan, a songwriter with eclectic tastes in music and who began his musical training on the piano 15 years ago.
Prof. Bokor encouraged Ryan to enter the contest with Ryan’s music partner Glory Liu, a Berkeley student who had studied voice and sung competitively in high school. Since meeting as teaching assistants in a Physics of Music class four years ago, Ryan and Glory have teamed up as songwriting partners various time, including writing the catchy “Nano Song” – a song they penned for a video contest for the American Chemical Society. The song went viral on YouTube last year.
Glory will graduate with a dual degree in classics and political economy this month and then plans to enter Cambridge University in England for a one-year Masters program.
“The song took us about a week to write, with Ryan doing the music and most of the lyrics,” says Glory. “From the start, we wanted the verses to be jingle-like and the chorus, catchy while fitting the entire title of the Festival in the chorus.” Check it combined with the USA Science and Engineering Festival’s promo video
For Daniel’s band, State the Name, encouragement to enter the Festival contest came via Daniel’s former math teacher, Shari McCormick at Gerstell Academy in Finkburg, Maryland, whose school had already entered the Festival’s Rubik’s Cube Contest when she saw the notice for the jingle competition.
“I’m glad she advised us to enter the song competition — people are singing our song all over the school!” says Daniel, who attends Gerstell Academy in the day while taking night classes in calculus at nearby Carroll Community College. He is thinking of becoming a computer scientist.
State the Name, formed in 2008, consists of Daniel on lead guitar and vocals, Matt Fairhurst, 19, on bass, Justin Fairhurst, 16, on drums, and Nitzan Frock, 17, on vocals and rhythm guitar.
Matt attends the University of Maryland-Baltimore County where he majors in statistics, while Justin and Nitzan (who likes physics and art) attend Franklin High School in Reisterstown.
Recorded in Daniel’s basement, “The Science Festival is Coming,” represents a cool chemistry of rock musical influences that have inspired the band -from Radiohead and Guns ‘n’ Roses to MCR and Buckethead.
“In the song, we tried to convey the excitement of the Festival so that listeners can jump on the bandwagon and participate in the event,” says Nitzan. “And we wanted a chorus that was catchy, something that stuck in your mind,” added Daniel. “We never wrote a jingle before, but it seems to have worked because we have people coming up to us saying they can’t get the song out of their heads.”
Have a listen to State the Name’s song here.
Thanks everyone for submitting your entries and voting!
~~written by Michael Dabney