Freshman Wins Most Innovation Challenges

May 15, 2013
Entrepreneurship & Innovation

Camilo Rivera, an electrical engineering freshman at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology received the 2012-13 weekly innovation challenge award for most successful participant.

innovation-challenge-riveraCamilo Rivera

This year, 25 weekly innovation challenges were held at McDonnell Douglas Hall. Students, staff and faculty were given an impromptu challenge and had one hour to compete. Whichever team completed the challenge successfully first won $300 ($100 per teammate). Challenges included building an aesthetic arch out of vegetables, setting a SMART goal for the United States, and building a flugtag, a homemade, human-powered flying machine.

“I felt challenged to give the best of me, trying to be creative and innovative,” said Rivera. “The biggest learning experience has been being able to recognize ways in which all of these challenges can be applied to our everyday problems.”´╗┐

Emily Hart, an electrical engineering sophomore won the most innovation challenges in 2011-12. “While I do like math and science, I wanted my engineering experience to be more than just studying academics,” Hart said. “The weekly innovation challenges have been the perfect balance to schoolwork, they help me integrate innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship into engineering.” 

Additionally, participants are asked to submit a weekly reflection on the challenge, for which one winner is rewarded an additional $100. All SLU students and faculty can participate. Teams must consist of three members—including up to one faculty member—and all three participants must be from different majors. Students can either form teams prior to the event, or just arrive ten minutes early to have the facilitators match them with others in need of additional teammates.

The Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network (KEEN) and Coleman Foundation sponsor each weekly innovation challenge at Parks College. KEEN is a collaboration of 19 universities around the U.S. that strive to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in undergraduate engineering students. The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grant maker focusing primarily on the Midwest. Foundation resources support education – with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship´╗┐´╗┐.

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