Skip to main content

WVU IDEA Hub celebrates 2019 Demo Day winners

Demo Day 2019

While thousands of West Virginia University students, faculty and staff from nearly all colleges, as well as both regional affiliates, participated in the second annual Demo Day on April 25, many also entered into competitions for cash prizes, classroom projects and, of course, bragging rights. Several competitions were held by different units, colleges and departments, including the Demo Day Expo, the Hovercraft Show and Race, the "Is there an app for that?" Pitch Challenge, the Social Action Showcase and Challenge, the Video Game Pitch Competition and the Women's and Gender Studies Showcase. Below is a list of the winners and their project descriptions.

Read more about Demo Day, hosted by the WVU Idea Hub:

Demo Day Expo

More than 30 individual and group projects competed in the Demo Day Expo, covering a wide variety of disciplines and colleges. Five monetary awards were presented to the contestants, where they each received $1,000 to help continue to develop their idea, invention or innovation. A sixth award for the Moving WV Forward was also granted to recognize an innovation designed to help move WV forward based on the initiative’s blueprint findings and guiding principle.

Eleven expert judges from different backgrounds in business, entrepreneurship and industry walked around the trade show style event to hear the contestants pitch their idea, innovation or invention. Criteria included identifying a problem or opportunity, meeting the needs of the market, delivery of pitch and presentation, visual display and the ability to respond to questions about their innovation. The Demo Day Expo winners include:

Pure Maple Syrup: Students in the Potomac State College’s Sustainable Agriculture Entrepreneurship (SAGE) program tapped approximately 500 of the more than 5,000 trees located on the college’s farms. They have then been involved in the development, production, packaging and sales of the maple syrup. The project is under the advisement of two IDEA Faculty Fellows, Amy Weaver and Keri Whitacre.

Si-Mo Strip: WVU Tech student Christina Stover, a senior biology student, presented the Si-Mo Strip, which is a new idea and process to monitor blood glucose. This innovation uses aptamers as opposed to regular enzymes currently found in blood glucose testing supplies.

Technology/Design Integration project: - Students in the Davis College’s Spring Residential Interior Design class, Connor Siger, Dana Solomon, Sarabeth Benusa and Megan Mateosky, worked with real-life client family in Cheat Lake this spring. Using inexpensive scanning technologies, they produced a detailed and accurate Sketchup model of the original house, saving valuable class time which could then be used to redesign the house. As a part of the space-planning process, the students used VR technology to evaluate their designs for needed modification.

Internet of Sound Kiosk: John Chambers College of Business and EconomicsHospitality and Innovation Technology Lab students, Sam Abbot, Sophia Hogan and Wren Parker, along with advisor and Associate Professor, Hospitality and Tourism Management Dr. Ajay Aluri, partnered with LISNR and the WV Tourism Office to build an interactive Internet of Sound (IoS) Kiosk for check-in at a local hotel lobby to create personalized guest experiences. The IoS Kiosk is “an advanced, near-ultrasonic, ultra-low power data transmission using sound.” This new innovative platform helps individuals get information related to tourist attractions without internet connection. This group also won the Moving WV Forward award.  

IRAWO: Davis College’s Fashion Dress Merchandising student, Damilola Fasinu, created a garment is based on a strong sense of uniqueness, culture and narrative design that functions as a direct channel of communication. IRAWO extends beyond physical beauty to display a textured, layered aesthetics embodying the philosophies of sustainability, preservation, strength and complex simplicity.

Hovercraft Race and Show

Statler College’s Engineering Innovation Hub Prototyping Shop & Makerspace showcased student-designed & build radio controlled hovercraft. Students piloted their vehicles around the lab’s course competing for the fastest race time. They were also judged on aesthetics and build quality by a panel of guest judges and votes from our Demo Day guests.

1st Place Overall and 1st Place Performance: Students Michael Garzarelli (Mech-Aero), Cody Gillespie (Mech-Aero), Emily Hines (Industrial), Makenzie Keepers (Industrial), Jacob Pino (Mech-Aero) and Michael Ramsey (Industrial) won first place overall for their “Team A” hovercraft and won the best race time at 15.8 seconds. 

2nd Place Overall and 1st Place Aesthetics and Construction Quality: Students Trevor Brison (Mechanical), Jack Hull (Mech-Aero), Lawrence Karlson (Industrial), Derek Lapke (Industrial) and Matthew Williams (Mechanical) won second place overall for their hovercraft “The A Team” and won first place for aesthetics and construction quality. 

3rd Place Overall and 2nd Place Performance: Students John Ancosky (Industrial), Alexandria Ayers (Industrial), Connor King (Industrial) and Justin Warner (Industrial) won third place overall for their hovercraft “The STEMinists” and won the second best race time at 18.5 seconds. 

People’s Choice Award and 3rd Place Aesthetics and Construction Quality: Students Timothy Bailey (Industrial), Garrett Beery (Industrial), Adam Dodson (MechAero), Danielle Schmidt (Industrial) and James Seese (Industrial) won the people's choice by an overwhelming majority of votes from our Demo Day guests for their hovercraft “Tuition is Too Damn High.” 

3rd Place Performance: Students Stafford Cessna (Mechanical), Stephen Cottrell (Industrial), Natalie Marsh (Mech & Areo), Curtis Stapleton (Aerospace), Joshua Swanson (Industrial) and Brandon Troy (Mechanical) won third place for best performance with their hovercraft “The Hover Sports Inc.,” with a race time of 19.6 seconds. 

2nd Place Aesthetics and Construction Quality: Joseph Demaio (Mechanical), Jenna Harker (Industrial), Zane Hummel (Industrial), Jacob Kidwell (Industrial), Lawrence Redinger (Mechanical) and Dillon Thompson (Mechanical) won second place for aesthetics and construction quality for their hovercraft “Shell Raisers.”

“Is there an app for that?” Challenge

Students pitched their newest and best app ideas in the “Is there an app for that?” pitch challenge, hosted by the LaunchLab Network and sponsored by Codecademy.

First Place Prize: Calify – Alanis Yates, senior from Eberly MDS

Second Place Prize: FIT – FIT, (Fashion Innovation Technologies) - Brandon Slicklein, Joshua Slocum, & Dylan Hupp, senior Industrial Engineering students from Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources

Third Place Prize: Aha! – Nima ShahabShahmir WVU Tech Info System  

Social Action Showcase and Challenge

The inaugural Social Action Showcase and Challenge displayed students’ innovative ideas on how to impact social change in West Virginia, which was hosted by the Center for Service and Learning, in partnership with the Social Action Clinic and the Honors College.

First Place Prize: Mary Ellen Croft, a graduate student from the School of Social Work, was awarded a $300 bookstore gift card for her project. She recognized a gap in integrated healthcare, particularly in rural settings, and worked to secure nearly $200,000 in grant funds to create a health home program, develop policies and procedures and build community support to implement the health home program in Alleghany County Maryland and improve healthcare management.

Second Place Prize: Cristin Dolan, a senior chemical engineering student, was awarded a $100 bookstore gift card. She developed and facilitated educational composting workshops for both local children and seniors through partnerships with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute and The Schack Neighborhood House. She also coordinated with the Wiles Hill Community Garden and The Shack Neighborhood House to begin the composting pilot programs.

Third Place Prize: Megan Martin, a senior exercise physiology student, was awarded a $75 bookstore gift card. She worked under the direction of Dr. Miriam Leary and partnered with Senior Monongalians and the Wiles Hill Community Center via the Morgantown Board of Parks and Recreation (BOPARC) to conduct workshops on wellness, staff fitness facilities, conduct fitness assessments, create personalized work-outs, teach fitness classes and suggest practical ways to incorporate healthy living into the daily life of local seniors.

Social Action Challenge winner: The Inside Out Team, represented by Brooke Bleifus-Hennen, Sophia Kozorosky and Tyquan Roach, and advised by Delia Trickett, shared how impactful their experience was taking the Inside Out Course. They expressed their overall perception of people who have been incarcerated and pitched the idea of coordinating a panel to facilitate dialogue between members of the community, university and those who have served time in the criminal justice system. They won $500 to support their project.

Women’s and Gender Studies Showcase

More than 250 students participated in the Women's and Gender Studies Showcase, where they presented ways that social justice can be addressed through entrepreneurship and innovation. The showcase was hosted by Eberly College and the Center for Women's and Gender Studies. Students from Potomac State College also participated. Each of the teams won gift cards, totaling $275.

First Place Prize: College of Creative Arts students Josephine Gill, Ella Wogaman and Joseph Zecevic won first place for their Crafting Equality project. They researched how well women conductors, painters and playwrights are represented in WVU classes and in performances. Overall, they found women were not well-represented in these fields. They also found that in the case of theatre plays written by women, they were assigned in classes but not among those performed for the public. To remedy this, the team proposed an arts festival focusing on the work of women in these areas as a tool to promote more equal representation.

Second Place Prize: Students developed an Instagram campaign to raise awareness about stopping sex trafficking, featuring a mock life-size Barbie doll box #Notforsale as a prop. The campaign, “Not in Stores: Sold Everywhere: How Does Poverty Contribute to Sex Trafficking,” was created by Katerina Cleaver (Public Health Sciences), Lydia Owens (Journalism), Elijah Readd (Phycology), Kalynn Eyler (Social Work) and Isabelle Lloyd (Child Development and Family Studies).

Third Place Prize: Students examined defeating and defining the stigma of mental illness on WVU’s campus and in Appalachia. They created a campaign series for Welcome Week, including four events that promote body positivity and to better self-image. By improving body confidence students will be able to accurately display their individuality on campus and make accountable friends. The campaign, “Beating Mental Health Stigma,” was conducted by Hannah Burkhart (Public Relations, Event Planning, and Rural Community Development), Arthur Eason (Biochemistry) and Carl Quaine (Computer Science, and Cyber Criminology).


CONTACT: Katie Farmer

Communications Director & Marketing Strategist, Office of the Provost