Impact Prize winners announced

Kennedy Patlan and Gisella von Dran

A panel of area civic leaders this week announced the winners of the first Impact Prize competition at Syracuse University. Winners were selected for the most innovative and implementable ideas to help solve civic, environmental, economic, or other public challenges, as part of a campus-wide social entrepreneurship challenge. Selected from a field of 36 teams, the finalists competed November 14 in front of a live audience as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse University.

Tied for first place and each receiving a $2,000 team prize were participants in the recent Invention Accelerator at Syracuse University, Invent@SU:

  • In-Spire: Kayla Simon and Elizabeth Tarangelo (Engineering & Computer Science), for a wearable Albuterol inhaler for asthma patients who suffer from asthma attacks while on-the-go;
  • Fibrefree: Serena Omo-Lamai and Charles Keppler (Engineering & Computer Science), for a laundry ball that traps microfibers, preventing them from entering aquifers and the atmosphere.

Second place, receiving a $1,000 team prize was:

  • Food for Community: Samantha Guillaume and Patrick Carleton (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry), for a not-for-profit that transports unused food from local schools and takes it to local pantries.

Organized by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library, the $5,000 Impact Prize competition was supported through a personal gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran, director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, and former assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management.  Dr. von Dran also served as a judge and presented the awards.

The Impact Prize competition was managed by Kennedy Patlan ’18, a triple major in advertising in the Newhouse School, citizenship and civic engagement in the Maxwell School and women’s and gender studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. As the first Blackstone LaunchPad Engagement Scholar, Patlan organized the competition, conducted outreach across campus, organized Impact Generator workshops, provided peer mentoring of the applicants, and supervised all event logistics.

The competition was open to Syracuse University students, as well as SUNY ESF students who are studying entrepreneurship at SU.

Other finalists competing in the November 14 finals included:

  • Biomass Combustion Process: team leader William Lee Mendes McKnight (Arts and Sciences), for a high efficiency biomass combustion process to power village-scale generators;
  • Comfeet: team leader Francis Marinez (Engineering & Computer Science), for eco-friendly, size-adjustable shoes for toddlers;
  • Doorway Energy: team leader Teodoro DeLelllis (Engineering & Computer Science), for a solution to capture energy coming from commercial doorways through wind turbine technology;
  • GreenStrip: Jose Javier Garcia Rovira (Whitman) for a product that enhances the planting process in infertile soils around the world;
  • Greenwood Investment Network: Asile Patin (Arts and Sciences), for a nonprofit to create an evergreen fund for local minority business owners to access seed funding in a collective, sustainable way;
  • Modoscript: team leader David Zuleta (Arts and Sciences), for a Pill-Safe Digital Health System to address overdosing and underdosing;
  • Native Women’s E-Mag: Michelle Schenandoah (Newhouse), for an interactive E-magazine and brand to serve as a national platform for Native women;
  • Spolitic: team leader Abigail Hamilton (Whitman), for an app that connects politically passionate people to engagement opportunities to effectively organize our generation’s movements;
  • Starfruit: team leader Nathan Elequin (Education), for an educational technology consulting company dedicated to matching schools with the instructional software best-suited to improve teachers’ experiences or their student’s engagement;
  • Wind Turbine Project: team leaderTyler Vartabedian (Engineering & Computer Science), for a highway-barrier mounted vertical axis wind turbine to provide clean energy.

Judges for the final round were:  Paul Brooks, LaunchNY Venture Development Organization; Eric Ennis, City of Syracuse Neighborhood and Business Development; Robert Herz, In-sourcing Community Incubator; Owen Kerney, City of Syracuse – Onondaga County Planning Agency; Joanne Lenweaver, WISE Women’s Business Center; Karen Livingston, NYS Small Business Development Center; and Caitlin Moriarty, The Tech Garden.





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