Shark Tank-style innovation problem pushes college students to search out options to each day issues

Ailani Barr, a freshman at Armstrong Junior High, wants to find a way to relieve her grandmother’s liver problems.

As part of a new project-based science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) learning program, FlexFactor, Barr learned the importance of flexible hybrid electronics and how it can be used to solve real-world problems.

In order to detect gastrointestinal diseases and other problems that can result from the liver, she, along with a few other students, came up with the idea of ​​a camera contained in a pill that goes through the digestive system and is attached to the liver to find possible gastric complications.

“We thought about it because my grandma has liver problems and she’s older, so she doesn’t believe in a lot of medical technology. This could give her a way to tell if she has liver problems,” Barr said.

Students across the Golden Triangle are learning about the importance of manufacturing and hybrid electronics.

FlexFactor is locally managed by East Mississippi Community College and owned by the NextFlex research institute. The students identify a problem they want to fix, research a way to solve it and show their project idea to a panel in a “Shark Tank” -style presentation. Camille Cooper, coordinator of the EMCC FlexFactor Outreach, said this program not only teaches students to think critically, but also introduces them to careers that they may not necessarily be familiar with.

Camille Cooper

“We want students to see themselves as something after high school,” said Cooper. “We’re not necessarily trying to push them to EMCC or an advanced manufacturing career. … This program just gives you a lot of different opportunities and teaches you real life. “

Together with Armstrong Junior High, EMCC has partnered with Columbus High School and Golden Triangle Early College High School to produce FlexFactor – with 278 students in those three schools learning skills such as problem identification, research methodology, and slide presentation programs.

The program began in mid-October and ends on November 17, when students present their graduation projects to panels composed of school board members, community partners, and representatives from the Golden Triangle Development Link. Cooper said FlexFactor is bringing K-12 education, college, and the professional industries together to help future generations.

“It’s really rewarding to see how far these students have come in six weeks,” said Cooper. “This program lets you think outside the box. There are already solutions for many things, but that makes them a little more difficult and gives them the opportunity to develop their own solution. “

Katie Young, the AJH freshman faculty sponsor, said the students for this program were selected by those who were in manufacturing and technology for the You Science test, an aptitude test that not only had career interests but also Abilities measures have been accelerated. Young said she loved watching her students excel on this program because it allows them to learn about careers in manufacturing.

“It was great to see our kids doing something outside of their normal routine,” said Young. “It’s a way to apply the skills you’ve learned in the classroom and solve real-world problems. That really gives teenagers strength. “

Barr said FlexFactor inspired her to potentially pursue a career in manufacturing in the future, as she now knows the process of making technological products.

“It was a good experience because I saw how things are done,” said Barr. “… I could imagine doing such a job.”

Native “Shark Tank”-style pitch assembly held by small enterprise homeowners | WDVM25 & DCW50

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 / 11:28 PM EST
Updated: February 26, 2021 / 11:29 PM EST

WINCHESTER, VA. (WDVM) – Three people had the opportunity to attend a “Shark Tank” -style event to win prizes on Friday.

“Pitch Night 2021” is the creation of two small business owners – Crystel Smith and Alex Skinner – who wanted to encourage young business people, especially after all the adversity of the pandemic.

“Pitch Night was my chance to give them the opportunity to be around people who believed in them, create a little confidence in themselves, and be around business professionals to offer this business advice, right? And to give them the resources to raise capital to grow their business, ”said Smith.

Before the event began, the finalists were trained by Skinner, the owner of InnoVault in Winchester, where Pitch Night 2021 was taking place.

“He gave some really good tips on how to pitch in general. And especially how to summarize a lot of information in 10 minutes, ”said Dustyn Vallies, a finalist who served.LocalFood network“A company focused on connecting farmers with truck drivers and moving local food.

Finalist awards included $ 1,000 for growing their business, one to two months of personal coaching from Smith, a copy of Smith’s book, Business 101, and months of use of the InnoVault space. Only three finalists were selected from a pool of people who applied to participate.

“I was really excited – and actually surprised – that I was selected just because I had never done anything like this before,” said Paulius Mui, finalist and co-founder of “Table rounds“A word association game that focuses on improving people’s understanding of medical terminology. “And so my team and I decided to apply and then we heard back that I could do the pitch.”

In the end, Kelly Botta won the event for her company “SMARTYPANTS MEDICINE“That was created to transform primary health care – for people with or without health insurance – to make it more affordable and accessible.

“I am very surprised. I am really relieved. I was very nervous. It’s a whole different and new idea so I was excited but nervous. I’m glad I decided to do it and I’m very grateful, ”said Botta.

And the pitch nights are not over yet. Smith has already planned the second part of the pitch night, which is scheduled for May 28, 2021. And prices will stay the same, according to Smith.

“This is your opportunity to share your idea with a panel of experts, a community of people who believe in you and investors who want to invest,” said Smith.

For more information on LocalFood Network, see Here.

For more information on table rounds, see Here.

More information about SMARTYPANTSMEDICINE can be found at Here.