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COBE Innovation Challenge – Students Take Home $10,000 in Prize Money

the stag at the innovation challenge award ceremony

The inaugural COBE Innovation Challenge was held last week and eight teams won $1000 – $2000 each. This business model competition for graduates and undergraduates gives students experience in innovation and a chance to practice skills researching, testing new ideas, prototyping, presenting elevator pitches and co-creating with students in other disciplines. Twenty-three undergraduate and graduate teams participated.

student winner smiling

The awards ceremony on December 12 began with a welcome address by President Marlene Tromp, followed by keynote addresses from Dean Mark Bannister of the College of Business and Economics and Dean Joanne Lighty of the College of Engineering.

After their inspiring talks, the eight finalist teams — each winning $1000 — presented their elevator pitches and slide presentations.

Global Audience Choice Awards went to the undergraduate Eco Buoy team and the graduate Two Hot to Trot team, each winning $1,000.

The evening culminated with the presentation of the COBE Inspiration Award to Blake Hansen who generously supported the event.

Finalists – Winners



Kaela Cullen, Brandon Miller, Kalyn Walker, Cailey Rankin

Team BLink Kaela Cullen, Brandon Miller, Cailey Rankin, Kalyn Walker

Eco Buoy

Katelyn Bigley, Harvey Shackleton, Jack Conrad, Robby Davis
Not pictured: Olivia Coca, Kaelee Novich, Benton Wickersham, Ellie Woerner

team eco buoy Katelyn Bigley, Jack Conrad, Harvey Shackleton, Benton Wickersham

Soderberg Solutions

Peter Soderberg, James Soderberg

team Soderberg Solutions James Soderberg, Peter Soderberg


Austin Ober, Blas Ortiz, Monteen-alyse Ebert, Abby Rogers
Not pictured: Jessica Roberts,

team SymBiome Monteen-alyse Ebert, Austin Ober, Blas Ortiz, Jessica Roberts, Abby Rogers


The 5 Flyers

Josh Alvey, Matthew Jones, Holly Syreen, Tai Clymo
Not pictured: Ananth Nibhanupudi,

team The 5 Flyers Josh Alvey, Tai Clymo, Matthew Jones, Ananth Nibhanupudi, Holly Syreen

Oncology Anywhere

Dawn Hunter, Dahlton Grover, Jake Schmidt, Louis Leraistre

Team Oncology Anywhere Dahlton Grover, Dawn Hunter, Louis Leraistre, Jake Schmidt

Team Two Hot to Trot

Chris King, Kate Ellison, Ben Weaver, Chai Pacquing, Colin Cross

Team Two Hot to Trot Colin Cross, Kate Ellison, Chris King, Cynthia Pacquing, Ben Weaver

Team Solutions

Casey Silveria, Sarah Ober-Hick, Jordan Packard

Not pictured: Wenlu McIntosh

Team Solutions Wenlu McIntosh, Sarah Ober-Hick, Jordan Packard, Casey Silveria