Innovation Earns First-Place Win

The Forsyth Tech nanotechnology team

Many of us hope to change the world. Forsyth Tech nanotechnology students are well on their way to doing it.

A Forsyth Tech team of six nanotechnology students won the second annual Community College Innovation Challenge. The competition – funded by the National Science Foundation in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges – encourages students to develop solutions to real-world problems using science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). As first-place winners, the team members received $2,000 each.

This year, students were asked to identify ways to improve sustainability in food, energy and water systems. The Forsyth Tech team submitted a proposal for an energy-efficient solar greenhouse. It developed a flexible plastic embedded with solar cells that will significantly reduce electrical costs for farmers whose greenhouses require lighting 12 hours a day and fans running constantly to maintain humidity.

“We are proud that our students’ hard work has been recognized by the National Science Foundation,” said Dr. Mehrdad Tajkarimi, nanotechnology instructor. “Their proposal reflects the kind of innovative thinking we encourage every day in our lab.”

The Forsyth Tech team attended a four-day Innovation Boot Camp in Arlington, Virginia, in June with the other nine finalists. During the camp, the students participated in professional development sessions to learn entrepreneurial skills.

The boot camp culminated on June 24 when the finalists presented their project prototypes to senators and their staff on Capitol Hill.