Forsyth Technical Community College Nanotechnology Students Selected as Finalists in National Science Foundation Innovation Challenge

The National Science Foundation (NSF), in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), has named a team of Forsyth Tech nanotechnology students one of the 10 finalists in the second annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). 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.

“Our students demonstrate their dedication to science and technology every day. When they are recognized nationally, it makes us especially proud,” said Robert Summers, interim program coordinator, nanotechnology. “Their experience in this competition provides them so much more than their experiment alone. It gives them increased confidence in their research, teamwork and presentation skills, plus the opportunity to meet students from across the country.”

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 ten must submit written and video entries.

Forsyth Tech President Gary Green said, “The success of our nanotechnology students in the NSF Innovation Challenge illustrates the quality educational experience, including experience in applied research, that our students receive. These are community college students working on the edge of science and technology.”

As the only team selected from North Carolina, the Forsyth Tech team will join the other nine finalists at a four-day boot camp in June 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.

The 10 finalists are:

Central Lakes College, Minnesota: Supporting Our Service Members

Supporting Our Service Members is a STEM approach that leverages mobile technology to help active military as well as veterans’ families cope with stress, especially during a time of crisis.

Forsyth Technical Community College, North Carolina: Illumination Innovation

Illumination Innovation uses field induced polymer electroluminescent lights to reduce the costs associated with growing produce in urban greenhouses.

Laney College, California: Integrated Thermal Electric Solar Water Heater

Integrated Thermal Electric Solar Water Heater integrates a heat collector on the back of a solar electric panel to capture unused thermal energy to heat water for national disaster victims, homeless individuals and those living or camping in isolated regions.

Los Angeles Mission College, California: Using wastewater to generate electricity in L.A.

This project uses bacteria in an innovation microbial fuel cell configuration to treat wastewater and produce energy.

Northern Virginia Community College, Virginia: Chariteering

Chariteering is a web-based platform that facilitates collaboration between individuals who need assistance in the wake of disaster and engineers or professionals who would like to volunteer to find solutions.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin: Easy Cast

Easy Cast is an efficient and cost-effective invention for mass producing a versatile, hands-free fishing apparatus that allows individuals with limited physical ability to enjoy fishing.

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.

Ohlone College, California: Drone System for the Detection of Landmines

This project combines drone technology, nanotechnology and materials science to offer an inexpensive and safe way to detect landmines.

Red Rock Community College, Colorado: Knee Assisting Exoskeleton

The Knee Assisting Exoskeleton project attempts to reduce weight on the knee joint with a full leg exoskeleton, creating a brace that will assist patients with a faster and more efficient recovery.

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.

Forsyth Tech student finalists

Forsyth Tech student finalists with their field-induced polymer electroluminescent light (FIPEL) prototype. From left Michael Harmon, Winter Collins, Carmen Wright and Austin Bennett.

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