February 2013

  • Close Ups Challenge

    February 28, 2013
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    Student Reflection - February 27, 2013

    Today’s challenge did not have any stressful time crunch, but because my group members and I are used to working that way we rushed through it. We were given magnified images of random objects and we had to determine what each picture actually was. Taking your time and thinking differently, sums up how to perform this challenge perfectly. Looking at most of the images, it was unclear what they were. Magnified to the degree the images were, many of them became a lot simpler looking. After learning what the objects of the magnified pictures were, it was frustrating. It seemed so simple! Our group tried to hurry through the pictures because we thought faster was better. This proved to be wrong because the winning team took their time and thought very hard about all the pictures. This challenge made me think differently about how I am viewing things. From this challenge I learned that “sometimes things are more than they appear.” This is a lesson that can be used in everyday life because you can learn a lot if you view things in life differently, even if it is as simple as an object.

    Winning Reflection - Kendra Patton

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  • Brochure Challenge

    February 21, 2013
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    Student Reflection - February 20, 2013

    Coming into the challenge I was skeptical and felt out of my element. As an economics and legal studies major anything with the word “engineering” is not exactly my forte. My brother, however, who is a flight science major jumped at the opportunity to get me to be on his team to compete in the challenge. This was the first time I heard of the innovation challenge and I am definitely coming back.

    My group could not have been more diverse, a flight science, economics, and biology major, I knew if this required any cranes, equations, or physics I would be completely useless. When our team received the details of the challenge we quickly jumped to create a brochure. After all, I felt that I could put my marketing classes to good use. My brother proceeded to create a 3-D penguin that pops out as I began formatting a brochure. Our goal was to target kids who would spend a day at the zoo and create something they would enjoy looking at. We used warm colors that I learned attract more people to look at brochures because they have a “friendly” appearance. Next, we began formatting pictures that showed activities available at the zoo and decided on a “Disney” theme.

    Looking around, my brilliant Disney theme did not seem so brilliant anymore as I saw others cutting, gluing, pasting and folding papers. I was fascinated. Within such little time, other groups had created an origami piece in the shape of a fortune teller and bird. At this point we knew it was crunch time as we tried to think on our feet what could possibly make our work unique. After folding, taping, and tripping over each other as we assembled our project in the last few seconds, we turned it in.

    Although we did not win, the entire concept of thinking “out of the box” has me hooked. I think it’s safe to say we were the only group who actually made a standard brochure compared to the 3-D object surrounding us. Next week, we’ll be back to try again and this time, we’ll be better equipped for the next challenge!

    Winning Reflection - Michelle Palka

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  • Vegetable Arch Challenge

    February 14, 2013
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    Student Reflection - February 13, 2013

    Every week, the Weekly Innovation Challenge gives me an engaging chance to step away from the demands of classes and coursework for an hour or so. As a junior biochemistry major, I have been with the same close-knit group of students for three years now, and these challenges give me a unique way to step outside my discipline and meet people from many different backgrounds. This week’s Vegetable Arch Challenge was certainly no exception.

    For the challenge, each three-person team was given a bag of assorted vegetables with some wooden skewers, a knife, and a cutting board. The objective was to create the most ascetically pleasing, freestanding arch that reached at least two feet tall. Today, I came to the challenge without any other team members, but a pair of international students quickly welcomed me. My team was a unique combination of majors: aerospace engineering, accounting, and biochemistry. With our different countries of origin and
    interests, my group clearly showed the diversity that is an integral part of our university.

    Right away, we realized the importance of using the heavier building materials, such as the potatoes, for lower on the arch while saving the lighter pieces for higher features. Working together, we designed a two-tiered system of a tall thin arch above a shorter, wider one. Even though we initially had difficulties stabilizing the structure, creative use of celery sticks and the quick thinking of my teammates overcame these. It may not have been the prettiest design, but I am proud to say that ours was one of the few arches that remained standing long enough for judging.

    Even though our team did not win this week, I am glad I had another opportunity to meet and work with new people from outside my usual experiences. I look forward to next week’s challenge and another chance to experience SLU’s diverse community.

    Winning Reflection - Steve Doonan

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  • Traits to Success

    February 7, 2013
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    Student Reflection - February 6, 2013

    I always find that the greatest lessons in life can be found in the most unexpected places. I didn’t make the trek to Parks College twelve hours ago expecting to learn something important –I came to compete. Today, however, I discovered that strength can be found in the midst of a challenge –even in the face of apparent disadvantage.

    Just like every Wednesday, I showed up to the event with my usual partner and we immediately began looking to complete our team. It wasn’t long before an excited looking man jogged over to us, insisting that we take the stranger to his right as our third. We agreed, and walked over to our usual spot to become acquainted. It wasn’t long before our new friend timidly introduced himself and informed us that he was a Senior Accounting student. Admittedly, my heart sank at this news. “An Accountant in an innovation challenge?” I thought. “What luck…”

    My admittedly narrow-minded predisposition against my new teammate quickly reversed as the challenge was announced. Truly, in a presentation where you are marketing the traits that will make you successful in the future, having a business-oriented teammate would prove invaluable. By the end of the challenge, this man’s experiences, unique skills, and contrasting viewpoints proved more invaluable than I could have ever imagined. Through our combined efforts, our final presentation was not only polished and professional, but also robust and multifaceted.

    It is easy to judge a book by its cover. In fact, I did so more than once just over the course of today’s challenge. Looking back on how things turned out, I am overjoyed with the experience and how I grew because of it. Never again will I judge a person before getting to know who they are… just as I will never again look at Park’s College’s Innovation Challenge as anything less than an opportunity for personal growth.

    Winning Reflection - Matt Coon

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