Design & Pitch Challenges in STEM

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You have great ideas for how to make the world a better place. The Design & Pitch Challenges in STEM are your chance to start turning those ideas into a reality.

In these Challenges, you will need to think like an entrepreneur as you create real solutions to messy STEM problems. You will need to use your knowledge and expertise in creative ways to invent new products that meet customers’ needs. You will need to be able to recognize when you need to learn something new about STEM, your customers, or the situation, and be willing to work to learn it.

But entrepreneurship is not just about building great solutions. At the end of each Challenge, you will need to convince a panel of judges that your solution is worth funding in a process called “making a pitch.” Be clear and be convincing. The world needs your ideas.

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Challenge - Operation Lifeline

When disaster strikes, emergency response is crucial. How will you get essential refrigerated medical supplies to patients and facilities?

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Challenge - Power Me Up

Gas-powered vehicles damage the environment, and more people are buying electric vehicles. However, charging stations are few and far between. Bring (electric) power to the people!

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Challenge - Keep It Real

Smartphones are everywhere, and they make many things much easier... but sometimes they make good face-to-face conversations harder! How can you help people put down their phones and connect IRL?

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Challenge - Building Algorithms

In today’s internet world, data on people’s opinions are highly prized. One way to figure out those opinions is to ask people to complete surveys where they rate or rank their favorites. Researchers create formulas that analyze those answers in an automated process. That process is called an algorithm. Algorithms are everywhere.

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Challenge - Prototype to Profit

Being an entrepreneur is about finding problems and turning them into opportunities. Taking advantage of those opportunities requires understanding the situation and choosing the right approach, or business model. The right business model can be the difference between success and failure for an entrepreneur.

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Challenge - Erase Food Waste

Catalog-perfect produce isn't the only kind that tastes delicious. 30-50% of food grown in the U.S. gets thrown away, and weird-looking vegetables are often the first to go. But ugly food tastes great! How can you erase food waste?

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Challenge - Fix It: Design for Community Impact

In every community, there are problems that need solving or things that need improving. What can you fix in your community?

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Challenge - Flashy Fashion

People are always looking for the newest trends, and wearable technology is the next big thing! What kind of flashy fashion can you design?

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Challenge - Pollution Solution

The world is becoming overwhelmed by plastic waste. Can you imagine a solution to replace plastics that does not cause as much harm to the environment?

This free material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1759167. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.
These free materials were authored by Dr. Jere Confrey, Dr. Erin Krupa, Michael Belcher, and the research team in the Department of STEM Education at North Carolina State University. Contact us at design_pitch@ncsu.edu

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