Forsyth Technical Community College Nanotechnology Students Attend National Science Foundation Innovation Challenge

Forsyth Technical Community College Nanotechnology students participated in the The National Science Foundation (NSF), fourth annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) last week.  This is a federally funded program that encourages students to develop skills for innovation and entrepreneurship by developing and presenting science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) solutions to real-world problems.

Teams consist of three to five students, a faculty mentor and an industry partner. The challenge requires teams to assess their innovation’s potential impact, identify its scientific and market feasibility and determine its societal relevance. Teams then must submit written and video entries. Click here to see their video.

The Forsyth Tech team named “Illumination Innovation” was comprised of Austin Bennett, Winter Collins, Michael Harmon, Carmen Wright, along with Industry Partner William Szwarc and Faculty Mentor Bob Summers. The team uses field-induced polymer electroluminescent lights to reduce the costs associated with growing produce in urban greenhouses.

As the only team selected from North Carolina, the Forsyth Tech team joined nine other finalists at a four-day boot camp in Alexandria, Va. The boot camp is designed to provide a hands-on learning opportunity for the ten finalist teams to further develop their ideas through a workshop focused on building innovation, entrepreneurship, and strategic communications.

While Forsyth Tech did not place first or second, they were applauded for their outstanding presentation and their use of technology.

First place winner was Western Dakota Tech, South Dakota: Electrical Automation to Solve Hunger

The Electrical Automation to Solve Hunger project involves an automated system that combines raising fish for food with a method for growing crops using minimal human involvement.

Second place winner was Oakton Community College, Illinois: Heat Recovering Silencer

The Heat Recovering Silencer project replaces the traditional vehicle muffler with a new device that maintains noise reduction while recovering exhaust heat.

Austin Bennett, William Szwarc, Michael Harmon, Robert Summers, Winter Collins and Carmen Wright

Forsyth Tech Nanotechnology Team in front of The White House, from left: Austin Bennett, William Szwarc, Michael Harmon, Robert Summers, Winter Collins and Carmen Wright.