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UNE students demonstrate entrepreneurial spirit at 2019 Innovation Challenge

Nearly twenty teams showcased their innovative prototypes during the 2019 Student Innovation Challenge
Nearly twenty teams showcased their innovative prototypes during the 2019 Student Innovation Challenge

April 12, 2019

Gold level winners Hannah Welch and Jaime Coyle with President Herbert
Gold Winners Hannah Welch and Jaime Coyle with President Herbert
Students explain their projects to some of the competition's judges
Students explain their projects to some of the competition's judges

On Saturday, March 30, nearly 20 teams from across the University of New England showcased their working prototypes during the 2019 Student Innovation Challenge.

The prototypes represent the students' ideas for a healthier planet.

A Marine Science student and a Business student took the top prize in this year's event. 

The Student Innovation Challenge is an idea-stage competition that encourages innovative and sustainable solutions to social, environmental and health issues facing our society. Winners receive cash awards to help advance their ideas to the next level.

Platinum level winners Nathan Orff (Marine Science, ’20) and Patrick Pearl (Business, ’21) won $2,000 for their solution for a better oyster crop yield.

“Now we just have to follow through, keep learning and take this to the next step,” Pearl said. “We’re excited about working with the Makerspace this summer to do that. As a local Biddeford kid, I’m so excited for the future and so glad I’m at UNE.”

Hannah Welch (Marine Science, ’22) and Jaime Coyle (Political Science, ’22) were gold level winners and took home $1,000 for their project using sensors and electric blankets to help premature babies in developing countries.

“I loved being able to take my love for international learning to another level by exploring this way to help premature babies in

developing countries,” explained Coyle. “This summer I’m going to be exposed to entrepreneurs and great contacts during my internship at Maine’s International Trade Center.”

Welch added, “This whole experience has been so fantastic. I’ve learned so much, everything from getting coaching in our Makerspace, to working with our Visiting Innovator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, to doing consulting projects with hospitals, to learning how to really execute an idea like this.”

Welch and other students in the competition were recently featured on WCSH's 207.

Jillian Robillard (Marine Entrepreneurship, ’20) and Haley Griffin (Marine Science, ’22), were also gold level winners, receiving $1,000 for using sustainable byproducts for better lobster bait.

Silver level winners, recipients of $750, were Cara Hoppis (Occupational Therapy, ’21) for her fun gadgets and series therapy to help children with special needs, and Joshua Lewis (Pre-Pharmacy, ’21) and Krystal Nevells (Business, ’21) for using mixed reality to help with more effective pharmacy processes.

Bronze level winners, recipients of $250, were Devin Jozokos (Pre-Med, ’22) and Rushi Shah (Med, ’22) for using sensors and cloud computing to help stroke patients, and Samantha Schultz (Neuroscience/Pre-Med Bio, ’20) and Vandan Patel (Med, ’22) for using artificial intelligence to detect and care for Alzheimer’s patients.

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