Sept. 17, 2020

NDSU’s Innovation Challenge: Develop a passion to create


At NDSU, your creativity can soar and your entrepreneurial dreams can come into focus.

The Innovation Challenge, hosted by the NDSU Research and Technology Park and the Nice Center, helps students learn essential skills of creativity, problem solving, public speaking, and collaboration. During the annual national competition, students bring an idea, receive mentorship and training, and share their final product with the entire state on Innovation Day. 

New this year, the competition is going completely virtual with the first bootcamp on October 6. Student teams will compete in three tracks – Social Impact, Graduate Research and Entrepreneurship – as they explore practical applications for their academic knowledge.

Last year, for example, senior Korie DeBardlabon and freshman Ashlin Hickman teamed up on a project called “DeBard Engineering.” The team developed an apparatus that uses a bacterial-based lubrication to lessen friction in wind turbines, increasing their efficiency by at least 10 percent.

“I have enjoyed meeting new people who think beyond what already exists. The people who have chosen to do the Innovation Challenge are a group of motivated and incredibly intelligent people with a unique drive and passion to create something new,” said DeBardlabon, a biology major from Fargo who wants to help the environment. “I've learned it is okay to think outside of the box, and if I fail it doesn't say anything about me or what to expect for my future.”

The competition builds teamwork, presentation skills and, most of all, innovative thought. Connections are made with local business leaders who want to see students succeed.

“I have enjoyed building and designing things since I was in kindergarten,” said Hickman, an electrical engineering major who was born in Wichita, Texas. “My life is encompassed with working on projects and researching new things. My partner and I want to use the Innovation Challenge to springboard a company.”

The Innovation Challenge is one of many exciting opportunities you’ll have at NDSU. Start your own adventure today.

Start your NDSU experience by completing your application.