Design & Pitch Challenges in STEM


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.


Challenge - Operation Lifeline

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


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!


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?


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.


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.

This 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.

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