SRC Student Innovation Day

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Are you a STEM innovator?  Join SRC for a day of creative problem solving, collaboration, and competition. Deadline to apply is February 28 and space is limited.

Event Details

The Competition

  • A one day event focusing on developing creative problem solving and collaboration skills
  • Contestants will be challenged to develop innovative solutions to real-world challenge problems.
  • Collaborate in a team setting to come up with creative ideas and designs.
  • Interact with SRC’s Science, Technology and Engineering Leadership Rotation (STELR) Program mentors throughout the day.
  • Challenge other teams with your innovative solutions and compete for cash prizes!


  • Open to students majoring in science, technology and math (STEM) fields
  • Participation restricted to U.S. Citizens
  • Students must submit an application to be considered for participation
  • Applications are due by February 28 – Slots are limited.

Learn more and apply here:

LaunchPad and NYS STLC team to offer tech commercialization office hours

The Blackstone LaunchPad is pleased to announce a new collaboration with the NYS Science & Technology Law Center (“NYS STLC”), an Empire State Development/NYSTAR sponsored resource available to New York State entities working on commercializing new technologies.

Do you have questions about patents and how to tell if a technology is likely to meet new, non-obvious and patentable subject matter patent requirements?  Students from the NYS STLC program will be at the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library the following times to discuss patent searching strategies and assist with conducting a patent search. Patent searches are also helpful for determining competitors in a technical area. Assistance will be provided on a first come first serve basis or you can sign up for a ½ hour slot in advance by e-mailing

“LaunchPad tech commercialization office hours” will be:

  • Wednesday, February 28th 10 – 12
  • Tuesday, March 6th 3 – 5
  • Thursday, March 22nd 2:30 – 4:30
  • Monday,  March 26th  10:30 – 12:30
  • Wednesday April 4th, 10 – 12
  • Tuesday, April 10thth 3 – 5
  • Thursday, April 19th  2:30 – 4:30
  • Monday, April 23rd 10:30 – 12:30

Office hours will rotate with Jennifer Hicks, Lindsey Round, Xiang Tony Qi and Tom Carlon.  This service is free and open to SU students. It is not a substitute for IP patent counsel.

When it comes to new technologies, knowing what you don’t know is half the battle. The NYS STLC helps entrepreneurs and companies with new technologies identify potential challenges and devise effective strategies to successfully bring that technology to market.

From market landscapes to intellectual property protection to licensing options to potential funding sources, NYS STLC has helped scores of companies and institutions make their technology vision become a commercial reality. If you are a company or institution focused on bringing new technology to market, the NYS STLC is here to assist and guide you.  The NYS STLC does not file for or prosecute patents.  The program does not provide legal advice or opinions and does not otherwise compete with IP law firms.  The NYS STLC operates through the Technology Commercialization Law Program at the Syracuse University College of Law.

The NYS Science & Technology Law Center (“NYS STLC”) is an Empire State Development/NYSTAR sponsored resource available to New York State entities working on commercializing new technologies.

Community builder and social entrepreneur Audrey Miller

Photo of Audrey Miller

Born and raised just outside Toledo in the small town of Maumee, Ohio, Audrey Miller ’20 knew that being engaged in community development was always going to be her top priority. After declaring her double major in political science and international relations in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Miller has been very active in the community building and civic engagement space on and off campus at Syracuse University.

When asked about how she decided to start dabbling into social entrepreneurship, Miller explained, “I feel like I’ve always been interested in nonprofit or governmental work. Ever since I got involved with awesome organizations working both locally and internationally, I realized that the word ‘community’ is much, much bigger than I am. And that’s why it’s our responsibility to not only educate but also empower the communities we live in.”

Back in 2014, Miller got involved with United for Uganda, a nonprofit organization that sponsors education programs for Ugandan children, especially those who are orphans, who comes from big families, and those who have HIV/AIDs. It is the vulnerable communities like the ones United for Uganda that got Miller thinking there’ has to be more she could do right at home in Maumee. She then started a chapter for the nonprofit at her own high school, and organized fundraisers and information sessions to raise awareness in her community.

When she arrived in Syracuse, she quickly joined Thrive Projects; a nonprofit organization that was grew in the Blackstone LaunchPad. Seeing Thrive’s mission of supporting community development projects around the world through customized vocational training, Miller knew she had come to the right place. A year later, she co-founded Thrive at SU, a registered student organization that works to bridge the gap between the SU student body and the local Syracuse community by collaborating with nonprofits in the area. Wherever she goes, Miller is constantly looking for ways to give back to the environment and the people in it.

Miller and the Thrive at SU team is hard at work putting together the final touches of the Thrive Together Fair, an interactive cultural event that features performances and speakers from across campus and the local community in a day that celebrates the diversity of Syracuse. The event will take place on Saturday, March 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and community members and Syracuse University students, faculty, staff and alumni are welcome.

In the fall of 2018, Miller will step into the role of President of Thrive at SU, and she hopes to continue staying involved with the Syracuse community, especially with marginalized groups. She believes that only by starting a conversation, and celebrating our differences, can we cross the barrier of misunderstanding and miscommunication together, and #ThriveTogether.

Photo and story by Amanda Chou ‘18, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow.

Meet the influencer, Kate Beckman, founder of Fresh U

Photo of Kate Beckman

Without a doubt, Kate Beckman is one of the most influential women entrepreneurs at Syracuse University.

While she is finishing up the New Media Management graduate program at the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Beckman looked back on her undergraduate experience studying at Newhouse’s magazine journalism program, being a #FemaleFounder, and evolving as a recognized expert on Gen Z and a national voice in the digital media world.

“Seeing the growth of entrepreneurial resources at Syracuse University is really inspiring,” Beckman says.  “I am so glad that students with great ideas have access to a community of supportive students and mentors.”

Originally, from Wisconsin, Beckman has always been fascinated by the out-of-state college experience. When she arrived on campus, she noticed there were no student publications that specifically created content for incoming freshmen. Beckman had questions about how to live out the best Syracuse experience. She also wanted to know how other freshmen were doing. Beckman wasted no time, and launched a freshman publication that helped SU newbies navigate their new life away from home.

By sophomore year, Beckman recognized that the freshman experience was not necessarily unique to the Syracuse campus. She decided to expand her publication nationally, naming it Fresh U. Working closely with the Newhouse Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, Beckman was able to create a business model to scale to other college campuses around the country. Fresh U quickly became a resource for students applying to college as well as a resource for freshmen when they first step onto campus.

By the time she graduated, she had built a media network with contributors and readers from more than 100 campuses.  Today, Fresh U is a national digital hub with more than 400 student writers, and Fresh U regularly collaborates with Seventeen and Teen Vogue. Beckman was able to grow a small on-campus student publication into a trusted national media venture in just a few years.  As part of her business model, she did extensive research on Generation Z, the generation born after the late 1990s, which comprise most college campuses.  Her extensive insights rapidly positioned her as an expert on Gen Z – a cohort that brands want to reach because of its economic potential.  This group makes up made up 25% of the U.S. population, making them a larger cohort than the Baby Boomers or Millennials. They are digital natives, social media savvy and an entrepreneurial cohort – with the ability and desire to sell to the world from their own home, co-working space or virtual storefront.

Because of her incredible work ethic, networking skills, and extensive research and social media background, Beckman has been able to drive Fresh U’s growth organically.  Moreover, it is being noticed.  She is frequently asked to speak about Gen Z.  Beckman placed in the top “entrepreneurial eight” of Student Startup Madness at SXSW after winning Syracuse University’s campus competition in 2016. She won the Syracuse University ACC InVenture Prize competition in spring 2017, and was a top five finalist of the ACC InVenture Prize competition in Atlanta – pitching on stage, Shark-Tank style, in a live broadcast television production at Georgia Tech. This spring she will be competing in the campus iPrize Competition.

When Beckman was a freshman at Syracuse, entrepreneurship was siloed. Over her time here, she saw it knit together as a supportive ecosystem.  When Beckman started working with the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU, she realized the value of a collaborative innovation hub that connects with the essential subject matter experts that are so vital to growing an idea into a venture.  She loved the sense of community she found in a place that brought together so many disciplines and skill sets.  She describes the LaunchPad as a student centered entrepreneurial space that allowed her to quickly grow her network, meet, and brainstorm her ideas with fellow peers more confidently.

As her graduation approaches in May 2018, Beckman is exploring strategic options.  She is weighing how Fresh U evolves, how to expand partnerships with existing or new companies, and keeping an eye out for opportunities and incredible things that are always emerging in the rapidly changing digital media world.  She knows how to find opportunity.  More important, she knows how to create it. She is already a respected digital media mogul, and nothing is stopping her.  Follow her journey, because she’s just get started and her star is rising.

Photo and story by Amanda Chou ‘18, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow.


David Fox gets your startup thinking going each week

Photo of David Fox

David Fox had a milestone this week.  He published the 50th issue of Startup Thinking, that awesome newsletter you receive each Tuesday about all things innovative at SU. If you’ve ever wondered about the behind the scenes work that goes into each issue, look no further than David and his LaunchPad team of student writers and photographers.  He’s also the publisher of this weekly Thursday Startup Spotlight newsletter profiling entrepreneurs, and creates many of the videos for our student ventures.  So we thought this is the perfect week to shine the spotlight on David.

Entrepreneurs are motivated and creative individuals, and David Fox is definitely one of those individuals. He is behind many of the innovative projects coming out of the LaunchPad, and has been actively engaged with the #WeAreEntrepreneurs campaign here at Syracuse.

Growing up in Jackson, New Jersey or as it’s better known, Six Flags Great Adventure, New Jersey, David was a leader.  He was very engaged in service activities as an officer of Key Club, a volunteer club for high school students where he was vice president as a sophomore and served as president his junior and senior years.  He gained 300 hours of community service and learned valuable leadership skills that made him a better entrepreneur.

He began that journey at SU in The Whitman School of Management and as a sophomore realized that he wanted to be immersed in a technical field and moved to the School of Information Studies to study Information Management and Technology, where he currently continues his studies as a junior.

David was first introduced to the Blackstone LaunchPad by his sophomore year iSchool roommate who was interning in the LaunchPad. David was encouraged to apply for an intern position as well. Following a productive semester interning in the LaunchPad, he was offered a job as a Global Media Fellow, an event he considers to be the turning point of his college career.

David, a self-proclaimed jack of all trades, can typically be found working on constructing and publishing the weekly newsletter– Startup Thinking, filming a visually stunning promo video, tweeting about entrepreneurship, or wearing a pair of funky socks. If you were to ask him about his favorite part about working inside the giant glass box David would be quick to reply with, “The people– whether it’s the people who already work here or the entrepreneurs who walk in. There is nothing more motivating than watching other people succeed.”

After working in the LaunchPad for nearly a year David has finally decided to start his own company, Necessity Apparel. He has teamed up with another Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow, Victoria Lawson, to create a clothing line with what he says is a “beach aesthetic.” His plan includes donating 10% of the profits to the organization, Charity Water a company he had worked closely with in high school that provides clean drinking water to developing countries.

David, who has always wanted to start his own business, got the idea for an apparel company after extensive research. He had originally planned to start a nonprofit, but after learning more about that regulatory framework of that structure, quickly moved to the next best thing– a company that accomplishes social good.  He’s approaching his venture from a triple bottom line perspective.

He’s working on the steps to help bring Necessity Apparel to an official debut later this year. David is just about ready to finalize a manufacturer, so, keep your eyes peeled.

David says an entrepreneur is someone who “knows a lot about a lot of things,” – an accomplished generalist with an inquisitive mind who is always exploring ideas.  That’s something he really embodies, but the LaunchPad thinks he has some superpowers.  You see them every Tuesday when you get your weekly issue of Startup Thinking, and you’ll see them soon when Neccesity Apparel launches

Story by Blackstone Global Media Fellow Audrey Miller ‘20 and photo by Amanda Chou, Blackstone Global Media Fellow ‘18

Ryan Twombly powers innovation

Photo of Ryan Twombly

Ryan Twombly ’19 is no stranger to the highways of Central New York.

Hailing from the Finger Lakes region of New York, Twombly is a junior majoring in aerospace engineering at the College of Engineering and Computer Science and minoring in business management at the Martin J. Whitman School of Management. Inspired by Syracuse University’s dynamic sports reputation and social scene, Twombly grew up knowing that he wanted to spend his college years relatively closer to home. But it wasn’t until this past summer at Invent@SU when he realized that he could put renewable energy to work on highways right here in Central New York.

In the summer of 2017, Ryan spent six weeks at Invent@SU with who would soon be his co-founder Tyler Vartabedian (watch for future profile on Tyler) developing ComEnergy, a device to illuminate roadways by harnessing wind created by passing vehicles.  Their patent pending invention is a vertical axis wind turbine, installed on a highway median to capture wind, convert it kinetic energy, then mechanical energy, and then electrical energy.

ComEnergy believes that renewable energy can help offset the costs of electricity that comes with powering electric signs, toll booths, weigh stations, streetlights and other roadside infrastructure.  Those costs are often more than what we think.  For instance, the average streetlight consumes 420 kWh annually and costs taxpayers or ratepayers an average of $44.23 per light per year. ComEnergy believes its innovation can help tackle this problem.

The team has tested its early prototype at Syracuse University’s Skytop wind tunnel, which was constructed to measure the efficiency of devices in relation to wind gusts, turbulent flow, and wind shear, and how to control airflow for better efficiency. They also looked at drag, which is the resistance felt by the turbine blades as they beat the air, and how to address drag to achieve the results they are looking for. As part of their discovery process, they also spoke with transportation planners from the New York State Department of Transportation to gain feedback and determine interest in a pilot project to test their concept.

The ComEnergy team is comprised of co-founders Twombly and Vartabedian, and CTO Sunny Vaishnani. Their diverse backgrounds and skills enabled them to rapidly prototype their invention, and prepare for on-campus business plan competitions this spring.  They were one of the “elite eight” finalists in the recent ACC InVenture Prize, and look forward to pitching their innovation in other campus events.

They are continuing to do discovery work, fine-tune their prototype, engage in testing, and continue with their patent strategy. Their goal is to overcome challenges associated with conventional wind turbines which are designed for a set operating point where wind speed and directions are assumed constant. That is an issue for a busy interstate highway which has changing variables and conditions, requiring smart planning and design. They are also exploring energy storage systems, and electric distribution infrastructure required to make the system work.

Wind energy is expected to be a fast growing technology sector globally, filling a growing electrical energy demand in an environmentally responsible manner. ComEnergy is hoping to be part of that solution, particularly in developing regions around the world. With a near constant source of wind on the highways due to rapidly moving vehicles, they are hoping they can create a smart new highway network powered by innovation.

Engineering isn’t Ryan’s only passion.  He is just as committed to civic engagement.  He is coordinator and intern at the Syracuse University Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public and Community Service, where he helps coordinate weekly visits of 20+ volunteers to H.W. Smith Middle School for sessions that teach STEM related projects to 5th-8th graders in the Syracuse City School District.

He’s also looking for a summer internship that will put his engineering and problem-solving skills to work.  “I am an incredibly focused and tenacious individual currently seeking an internship for the summer of 2018. I bring to the table experience both in industry and in extracurricular activities, and possess qualities like a strong work-ethic, leadership abilities, and problem-solving skills, which make me a strong candidate for any internship position.”

Couldn’t agree more.  Ryan will power innovation throughout his life and career.

Photo and story by Amanda Chou ‘18, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow.

Social entrepreneurs celebrate Syracuse’s cultural diversity

Photo of Amanda Chou and Audrey Miller

Thrive at SU, a registered student organization based in the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library, is hosting its second annual Thrive Together Fair on Saturday, March 3, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium at the Schine Student Center. Tickets are $7 and are on sale now at the Schine Box Office and online at A $10 ticket option includes $3 that is donated directly into the transportation fees for New American families attending the event.

Hosted by Student Association president James Franco and vice president Angie Pati, the Thrive Together Fair is an interactive event that features performances and speakers from campus and community, in a celebration of cultural diversity. The event will feature Olive Sephuma, director of the Center for New Americans, and Nada Odeh, an SU graduate student from Syria. A variety of cuisines from around the world will be available.

Thrive at SU President Amanda Chou (left) and Vice President Audrey Miller (right) are spearheading the event with a cross campus team of student volunteers who are interested in social entrepreneurship.  Thrive at SU holds weekly meetings in LaunchPad and welcomes new members.

Thrive at SU is the student organization affiliate of Thrive Projects, a nonprofit that works with underserved and vulnerable communities around the world. The organization works to bridge the gap between the SU student body and the local Syracuse community by collaborating with local nonprofits that serve marginalized communities in Syracuse.

Each year, Thrive at SU partners with a nonprofit to raise awareness for the organization’s mission and work. This year, Thrive at SU is again working with InterFaith Works and its Center for New Americans, which provides resettlement and post-resettlement services to help refugee families reestablish their lives and overcome the barriers to successful integration in their new communities. All proceeds from the 2018 Thrive Together Fair will be donated to InterFaith Works.

“Thrive at SU firmly believes that the strength of Syracuse is rooted in both its diversity and sense of togetherness,” said Thrive at SU president Amanda Chou. “Thrive at SU recognizes the important role that refugees play in the community and hopes this event will serve as a reminder that we are at our best when we face times of struggle together.”

If you need an accommodation in order to fully participate in this event, or if you are interested in becoming part of Thrive at SU, please contact Amanda Chou at

Thrive Together Cultural Fair on March 3

Photo of students holding a banner at last year's Thrive Cultural Fair

Thrive at SU, based out of the LaunchPad in Bird Library, is hosting its second annual Thrive Together Cultural Fair on Saturday, March 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Goldstein Auditorium in the Schine Student Center. Tickets are available at the Schine Box Office for $7, with all proceeds going to InterFaith Works’ Center for New Americans.

The fair will showcase foods and performances from cultures around the world. Olive Sephuma, director of the Center for New Americans at InterFaith Works, and graduate student Nada Odeh will speak at the event, sharing their experiences and discussing the organization.

As the collegiate-level affiliate of Thrive Projects, a nonprofit that works with underserved and vulnerable communities around the world, Thrive at SU firmly believes that the strength of Syracuse is rooted in both its diversity and sense of togetherness. Thrive at SU recognizes the important role that refugees play in the community and hopes this event “serves as a reminder that we are at our best when we face times of struggle together.”

The Blackstone LaunchPad looks forward to tabling at this event and supporting it.

Story below by Rabia Tanweer for this week’s Daily Orange

Despite the refugee population in Syracuse declining recently, displaced people who find themselves in central New York have several places they can turn to for help.

As a city that generally receives a large number of refugees, Syracuse experienced a dramatic change in 2017. Last year, the percentage of new refugees that came to the city decreased by 72 percent. This decline reflects the lowest number of new refugees in a decade.

InterFaith Works has made efforts to help arriving refugees establish themselves in Syracuse since it was established in 1976. Thrive at SU, an on-campus organization at Syracuse University, will partner with InterFaith Works next month to hold its second Thrive Together Fair.

The Center for New Americans, the branch of the organization that most directly helps resettled refugees, provides many services to help refugees, including picking them up from the airport, finding and furnishing initial apartments and helping them find employment and medical care.

InterFaith Works also aims to build understanding between people of different racial and religious backgrounds. It provides services to help refugees understand the culture, like providing English lessons and preparing them for citizenship tests.

The recent decline in incoming refugees has affected InterFaith Works and other organizations like it. President and CEO Beth Broadway said the agency has been settling refugees since 1990, and she hasn’t seen such low numbers in the time she’s been with the organization.

Broadway said President Donald Trump’s executive order in January 2017 regarding refugee admittance has affected InterFaith Works as well. The order banned refugees from Syria, suspended the refugee program for 120 days and decreased the limit of incoming refugees from 110,000 per year to 50,000, per The New York Times.

“Refugee organizations are, in a sense, being strangled due to travel bans,” she said.

Broadway said that by December 2016, 87 refugees were resettled in Syracuse by InterFaith Works. One year later, the organization saw a more than 90 percent reduction with only eight refugees.

This has very real effects for those who benefit from InterFaith Works’ services, Broadway said.

“Our organization works to reunify families,” she said. “We work to bring spouses and children here once (the arriving refugee) gets established, but due to the executive order we can’t bring them.”

“Families are waiting — they’re scared,” she continued. “They can’t return to their own countries to visit. Families are still in danger, and this will continue.”

Due to the small number of people arriving, InterFaith Works has had to adapt to these circumstances, Broadway said. The organization has shifted its focus from preparing for the arrival of refugees to increasing its efforts with those who are here now.

Much of what they do now, Broadway said, focuses on navigating U.S. medical systems and helping refugees become citizens. The agency is able to supplement funding received through grants with donations from the community.

Brian Kam, co-founder of Thrive at SU, said the current political climate inspired the group to help refugees, which is why they teamed up with InterFaith Works last year. The first Thrive Together Fair raised more than $1,500 and was attended by many students and community members, including the mayor of Syracuse.

Khalid Khan, Thrive’s vice president, said this year’s fundraiser will feature “student organizations tabling at (the) event, representing the different backgrounds and cultures of our campus.”

Broadway expressed gratitude to the community for its generous donations, fundraisers and volunteer work. She also said that despite the current circumstances, InterFaith Works is as dedicated to its mission as ever.

“We are here, and we are not going away … we are committed to this work.”

Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library Joins National Entrepreneurship Week 2018 Coalition

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library is proud to join library partnerships, educational institutions, and schools around the country for National Entrepreneurship Week 2018, the annual Congressionally-chartered week dedicated to showcasing and supporting entrepreneurship throughout the United States.

You can create a #TwitterStorm for #NatlEshipWeek by tweeting, posting and tagging #WeAreEntrepreneurs @LaunchPadSYR @SULib 

Innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of Syracuse University, and we are proud that Syracuse University has located its center for entrepreneurship at the center of academic life — in Bird Library.

National Entrepreneurship Week 2018 has a theme, and libraries of all types around the country are participating in it.  Bird Library is one of only a few collegiate libraries with an entrepreneurship service center located in the library – a reason to celebrate our culture of innovation, invention and creativity.

Join us to amplify that message across the country during #NatlEshipWeek in #libraries and help more entrepreneurs, innovators, and starters connect with their librarians.

Activities scheduled this week by EntreEd (founder of National Entrepreneurship Week) include webinars:

  • Monday, February 19, Entrepreneur Showcase. Join us as the U.S. EDA’s Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship discusses the importance of entrepreneurs nation-wide.
  • Tuesday, February 20, Education Entrepreneurship. National Entrepreneurship Week’s Founder, EntreEd, and their higher ed partner, NACCE, will chat about the importance of entrepreneurship education.
  • Wednesday, February 21, Rural Entrepreneurship. The Rural Community Assistance Partnership will be discussing the importance of rural entrepreneurship and how to support rural efforts with national partners.
  • Thursday, February 22, Non-profits & Foundations. Join The Michelson 20MM Foundation and the OtterCares foundation as they discuss the importance of nonprofits in building entrepreneurial ecosystems.
  • Friday, February 23, Entrepreneurship for Everyone. Join EveryLibrary, a network of over 250,000 libraries nationwide, as they discuss the importance of entrepreneurship in communities nation-wide.

“Libraries across the country are a first-stop for entrepreneurs, starters, and creators who are looking for the business intelligence, skills building, and access to mentor networks they need to take their ideas to the next level,” writes EveryLibrary.  “Libraries help drive economic development as incubators for early stage businesses and as accelerators for good ideas into the local market.”

Sign up for the free webinar series this week here:

In-Spire wins Syracuse University ACC InVenture Prize Competition

Photo of Simon and Tarangelo

Kayla Simon ’19 (left) and Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19 (right) will represent Syracuse University at the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) InVenture Prize Competition on April 5-6 at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

They were selected top team from a slate of “elite eight” finalists competing in a campus qualifier held on February 16 coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University. The teams pitched novel ideas for products, services and technologies to a panel of judges drawn from across campus, with expertise in law, finance, marketing, design, product development and social enterprise.

Tarangelo and Simon, College of Engineering and Computer Science majors, are the co-founders of In-Spire, a patent-pending bracelet that can work as a wearable asthma inhaler.  The team was the first place winner at the 2017 Invent@SU competition in New York City, and also won the 2017 Impact Prize Competition sponsored by the LaunchPad as part of Syracuse University Libraries. They developed their prototype at the Invent@SU invention accelerator this past summer and worked on their path to commercialization this academic year with the LaunchPad and other resource providers.

The ACC’s 15 member universities come together once a year for the ACC InVenture Prize — the “turf” of ideas — with top student innovators competing “Shark Tank” style before a live audience and panel of expert judges at an ACC campus.  At the Atlanta event, the top ACC team will win $15,000, the second-place team will receive $10,000, and $5,000 will go to the fan favorite, based on live texting during the PBS televised show.

In-spire will face off against teams from Boston College, Clemson University, Duke University, Florida State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State, University of Notre Dame, University of Louisville, University of Miami, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, University of Pittsburgh, University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and Wake Forest University.

Five finalists will be selected in a semi-final round April 5 to compete in the nationally televised finals April 6 on stage at Georgia Tech.

At last year’s competition, Syracuse University’s Kate Beckman (SI School of Public Communication) advanced to the final five for her venture, FreshU, a national online publication for college freshmen with a staff of 300 contributing writers on more than 100 campuses.

The eight finalists for the recent Syracuse University campus qualifier were:

  • Anything but Beer: team leader Brittany Berry (VPA), for a line of gluten-free alcoholic craft beverages;
  • Com Energy: team leader Tyler Vartabedian (Engineering & Computer Science), for a highway barrier-mounted vertical axis wind turbine to provide clean energy;
  • Drop Top: team leader Jason Kuperberg (Arts and Sciences) for a drip irrigation utilizing REVLAR, a waterproof, tear-proof, durable paper-thin material;
  • Farm to Flame: team leader William Lee Mendes McKnight (Arts and Sciences), for a biomass combustion system that can be used to power micro-grids in rural communities living in energy poverty;
  • Fibre Free: team co-leaders Serena Omo-Lamai and Charles Keppler (Engineering & Computer Science), for a laundry ball that traps microfibers, preventing them from entering aquifers and the atmosphere;
  • In-spire: team co-leaders Kayla Simon and Elizabeth Tarangelo (College of Engineering & Computer Science), for a wearable inhaler for asthma patients who suffer from asthma attacks while on the go;
  • ModoScript: team leader David Zuleta (Arts and Sciences), for a pill-safe digital system to address overdosing and underdosing;
  • WAYV: team leader Julia Dorie Haber (S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications), for an immersive pop-up unit that will revolutionize the way brands interact with college students.

Farm to Flame, founded by William Lee Mendes McKnight ‘18, winner of the campus Hult Prize competition, was selected as Syracuse University’s alternate for the April ACC event.  McKnight will also be heading to Boston in March for the prestigious global regionals of the $1 million Hult Prize competition, known as the “Nobel Prize of social entrepreneurship.”

“Syracuse University continues to gain recognition for the number of students here who are engaged in innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Vice Chancellor and Provost Michele Wheatly. “The ACC InVenture Prize competition is another great opportunity to showcase their good work at the national level. Congratulations to the In-Spire team who will proudly represent Syracuse at the finals—and to all the students who participated.”

“I’m delighted that the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries coordinated this campus-wide competition, and provided extensive coaching and mentoring to the competitors,” said Dean of Libraries and University Librarian David Seaman. “We are very impressed by the strong and diverse slate of innovations that were developed by Syracuse University students.”

“We are incredibly proud of Kayla, Elizabeth, and all of the students who participated in the ACC InVenture Prize competition,” said Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Teresa Abi-Nader Dahlberg. “It is particularly exciting to see students who completed the Invent@SU invention accelerator program continue to be recognized as innovators. The skills they developed in Invent@SU—to design, prototype, and pitch a novel device—were on full display in this competition. I encourage all students to follow their example and take advantage of the resources offered by the Blackstone LaunchPad, Invent@SU, and the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem at SU.”