Innovative ‘Fully Actuated Simulation Trainer’ Program Takes First Place in National ING Unsung Heroes® Awards Program Competition

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Innovative ‘Fully Actuated Simulation Trainer’ Program Takes First Place in National ING Unsung Heroes® Awards Program Competition

The ING Unsung Heroes® Program Has Given Nearly $4 Million to Honor Innovation and Creativity Among Nation’s Educators
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Congratulations Harry Preston of Edmondson-Westside High, the ING Unsung Heroes Awards first place winner! #INGgrants

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Friday, September 14, 2012 - 7:00pm

CAMPAIGN: Voya Unsung Heroes®

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) Windsor, CT - Sept. 14, 2012 - ING U.S., a financial services company and leading provider of retirement plans and programs for educators, announced today that Harry Preston, a teacher at Edmondson-Westside High School in Baltimore, has received the top prize in the national 2012 ING Unsung Heroes® awards program. Through this program, ING U.S. awards grants to educators throughout the U.S. for innovative teaching ideas. As the first-place winner, selected from more than 1,300 applications, Preston will receive $25,000 to add to his initial $2,000 grant, bringing his grant total to $27,000 to help fund “Fully Actuated Simulation Trainer” (FAST), his award-winning program he is implementing at Edmondson-Westside High School.

“It is an extreme honor that Mr. Preston is receiving this marvelous award,” said Karl E. Perry, principal at Edmondson-Westside High School. “We are elated to celebrate this accomplishment along with him as he represents the Edmondson-Westside High School family. This award will go a long way in allowing Mr. Preston to build the best engineering program in the country.”

FAST is Preston’s winning project that will create a fully actuated, six degrees of motion simulator. It was inspired by a student who recognized the disparities between their school and another area school that has a flight simulator. Although they were given a computer-based flight simulator game, they claimed the experiences were not the same. The three main functions of Preston’s program are to give underprivileged and underrepresented students a chance to participate in an ongoing design and advanced engineering project; experience a fully actuated flight simulation experience; and to help students who suffer from numerous learning, emotional and physical disabilities. Students in carpentry, introduction to engineering, principals of engineering, Air Force Junior ROTC, special education and life skills classes will all benefit from the program. Although the first-generation simulator has been built, it does not meet all of the access needs for those in wheelchairs or with more significant motor-skill challenges. With the help of student-led design teams and input from special education instructors and engineering students, soon all students will have access to the same, full experience. Preston, who lives in Baltimore, hopes he and his students can create a FAST simulator that can give 360 degrees of motion on the pitch, roll and yaw.

With the funds from the ING U.S. grant, Preston will purchase items needed to enhance the program such as a safety seat and clamps for persons with disabilities, a measurement device and software, and protective headwear, glasses and padding for students. These items will help students make precision movements and achieve the most accurate picture of the simulator results as well as extend the availability of the program beyond the school day. The grant will also provide the opportunity for more students to participate in the program by allowing the device to be moved to different locations for other student populations.

“ING U.S. is proud of the hard work and dedication of all of our nation’s teachers,” said Maliz Beams, CEO of ING U.S. Retirement. “It is a privilege to invest in the innovative ideas of educators across the U.S. who are preparing our children for the future. We hope the additional funds Harry Preston is awarded through ING Unsung Heroes will help sustain his ‘FAST’ program and continue to make an impact on the children in his community.”

ING U.S. began the ING Unsung Heroes program in 1996 to demonstrate the company’s commitment to the education community. Over the years, the program has awarded nearly $4 million to 1,700 educators in kindergarten through 12th grade for their innovative teaching methods, creative educational projects and ability to positively influence the children they teach.

To learn more about this year’s winning projects, as well as those from previous years, visit the ING Unsung Heroes website ( More information about the program can also be found on the ING Unsung Heroes Facebook page ( where people can like and share the page to encourage more educators to apply. Applications for the 2013 ING Unsung Heroes awards are available on the website.


About ING U.S.

ING U.S. constitutes the U.S.-based retirement, investment management and life insurance operations of Netherlands-based ING Groep N.V. (NYSE: ING). In the U.S., the ING family of companies offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients, including retirement plans, IRA rollovers and transfers, stable value, institutional investment management, mutual funds, alternative investments, life insurance, employee benefits, fixed and indexed annuities and financial planning. ING U.S. holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves approximately 13 million customers across the nation.  For more information, visit


Audria Belton Benn
+1 (770) 980-5715
Keywords: Volunteerism & Community Engagement | Corporate Responsibility | Corporate Social Responsibility | Edmondson-Westside High School | Education | ING U.S. | ING Unsung Heroes | Maliz Beams | Teachers | harry preston | innovative teaching

CAMPAIGN: Voya Unsung Heroes®

CONTENT: Press Release