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Choice Award winners selected at Innovation Challenge showcase event

Student teams received People’s Choice and Sponsors' Choice Awards during the NDSU Innovation Challenge showcase March 21 at the NDSU Memorial Union.

NDSU students, faculty, staff and community members selected the project “Whip Cord” for the Dr. Well’s $1,000 People’s Choice Award. Students Braden Lach, Aaron Knudtson, and Jason Schirck developed a football helmet with features that will decrease the risk of concussions in the hard-hitting sport.

Sponsors in attendance selected the “Treker” project for the Sponsors' Choice Award. Students Micah Johnson and Jared Kugler developed a mobilized wheelchair with tracks that increases traction in winter seasons and allows the user to climb stairs. The students will meet with Shane Waslaski, president and CEO of Intelligent InSites, to discover new ways of thinking about their project and how to bring it to market.

The showcase is a mid-point of NDSU’s Innovation Challenge, which helps to hone students’ entrepreneurial skills and instills the drive to create. Student teams are competing in three categories:

• Products – creating and selling a physical item

• Services – finding ways to help someone else do something better

• Social Impact – changing public view or developing a non-profit organization

During the showcase event, NDSU President Dean L. Bresciani; North Dakota Commerce Commissioner Jay Schuler; Jeffrey Stamp, chief storyteller at Bold Thinking; and Chuck Hoge, NDSU Research and Technology Park executive director, spoke about the importance of entrepreneurial skills.

“We are proud of the innovations these students have developed, and we hope to see them continue to pursue their passion for entrepreneurship and new ideas,” Hoge said. “The showcase is an outstanding time for the public to interact with students and learn more about their outstanding ideas. Students love to share their ideas, and the public gets an opportunity to meet students with a passion for change.”

Final presentations are scheduled for Thursday, April 5, and the competition culminates at an awards ceremony Tuesday, April 17, when the winners are announced and will receive cash prizes.

The Innovation Challenge program is sponsored by the NDSU Research and Technology Park and the Office of the Provost.

For more information, contact Emily Schubert at 701-499-3604 or

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North Dakota State University
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