In photos: The Community College Innovation Challenge

Last week, teams comprised of students and mentors from 10 selected community colleges traveled to the Washington, D.C., area to, in part, learn how to pitch innovative STEM projects they developed. The Community College Innovation Challenge boot camp, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, provided the squads with expert advice about making “elevator” pitches, selling a story and understanding potential customers’ needs and preferences. They also were coached on how to present their projects before doing so at a special reception before invited members of Congress, White House staff and other top-level government officials. The event concluded with a judging of the presentations before an overall winner was selected. Below, we capture through photos the four-day event, which starts with registration and concludes with a closing awards ceremony and a celebration.

The team from Northern Virginia Community College starts its day with registration.

As a warm-up exercise, participants interview each other and provide a summary to the group.

Reavelyn Pray, a 2017 CCIC student team member from Del Mar College (Texas), highlights how she benefited from the program.

Godfrey Ssenyonga (right), a former CCIC team member from Frederick Community College in Maryland who now studies at Johns Hopkins University, chats with student participants from this year’s teams.

Teams are paired to learn about each other’s projects for the challenge. Each team then had to make a 45-second elevator pitch based on what they learned about the other college’s project.

Roundtable discussions with National Science Board staff and National Science Board members, such as Diane Souvaine (center), who is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

ATE-TV videos roundtable discussions between members of the National Science Board and community college students and faculty advisors. The videos will be part of case studies the board is producing.

Team members from Central Lakes College (Minnesota) pose with their posterboard in front of the White House before their presentation in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next door. (Photo: National Science Foundation/ Bill Petros)

Students pitch their projects to VIPs such as James Reuter, acting associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. (Photo: National Science Foundation/ Bill Petros)

The team from Ohlone College (California) presents to judges its proposal for using drones as an inexpensive and safe way to detect landmines.

The team from Oakton Community College (Illinois) debriefs after its presentation to the judges.

Western Dakota Tech celebrates after winning the Community College Innovation Challenge for its idea to reduce hunger by using aquaponics, a method that cultivates both plants and fish in a symbiotic life cycle.

About the Author

Matthew Dembicki
is editor of Community College Daily and serves as publications director for the American Association of Community Colleges.