Virginia Western Community College among 12 finalists in Community College Innovation Challenge

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) – Virginia Western Community College is among 12 finalists that are entering a new phase of the 2021 Community College Innovation Challenge.

The competition is seeking to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking among community college students by challenging them to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)-based solutions to real-world problems.

Teams consist of two to four students and a faculty advisor or administrator.

Virginia Western’s submission to the contest, “The Community Coral Project,” supports coral growth through 3D printing of porous structures made of PLA, a plastic substitute made from fermented plant starch.

The next phase of the challenge involves a virtual boot camp where students will be able to interact with entrepreneurs and experts in business planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic communication, and marketplace dynamics.

The boot camp culminates in a Student Innovation Showcase with STEM leaders and Congressional stakeholders, and a pitch presentation to determine the first, second and third-place winning teams, with cash prizes awarded.

The other finalists and their projects include:

  • Austin Community College (Texas)
    • The OASIS: The Officer Aptitude & Stress Information System uses artificial intelligence to help police departments better analyze data from devices such as camera footage, GPS systems, and heart-rate monitors.
  • Bergen Community College (New Jersey)
    • The Electric Vehicle Conversion: Seeks to reduce carbon emissions within the transportation industry by developing modular kits to convert gasoline-powered pickup trucks into fully electric vehicles.
  • Borough of Manhattan Community College (New York)
    • Developing accessible and affordable Virtual Reality applications to serve as an interactive learning platform for children with autism to teach them essential life skills.
  • Columbus State Community College (Ohio)
    • The Greenage: Turning Colleges Green project is placing SMART, self-compacting recycling bins on college campuses that reward students for recycling through the use of an app.
  • Henry Ford College (Michigan)
    • The MaskKito: A sleek nano-cleanser mask project is developing a COVID-19 prevention mask with the ability to destroy viruses using the combined technology of nano-fiber weaves with UVC radiation.
  • Itawamba Community College (Mississippi)
    • The Achelous project is developing a filtering mechanism to collect clean water that can be used in rural areas, in times of emergency, and to provide water to the homeless.
  • Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana)
    • The Viruscan project seeks to combat the spread of a pandemic virus through a new inexpensive, self-administered test that automatically alerts primary care providers.
  • Johnson County Community College (Kansas)
    • Creating a mechanical bench that allows individuals who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs to get from their driver’s seat to the back of their vehicle unassisted to access their device.
  • Nashua Community College (New Hampshire)
    • The EnviroMask project is developing an environmentally friendly, fully biodegradable face mask using cotton with bioplastic and non-woven bamboo fiber.
  • Pasadena City College (California)
    • Exploring the use of antibody-conjugated nanoparticles to assist in the identification and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases
  • Tarrant County College (Texas)
    • The Shroomzzz: In-Hive Mushroom Cultivator project is focused on improving the health of bee colonies.

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