Students Pitch Innovative Media Ideas in FlashLab
Congratulations to the finalists and winners of the 2nd annual FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest. The competition came to a close Dec. 3 where seven students pitched their ideas and the judges crowned four winners. Each winning idea will share up to $10,000 from the Student Media Innovation Fund in order to launch, test and maintain their ideas in the coming months.
1st Place – Tyshaia Earnest and Kylah Carter (Fashion Merchandising majors, Fashion Media minors) for their idea to have training for non-JMC students who want to participate in Student Media but hesitate because they feel they don’t have the skills and can’t join.
2nd Place – Aidan Taylor (DMP and Pan African Studies double major) for his idea to create a more inclusive film experience that reaches out to underrepresented voices, giving them the opportunity to create a short film, documentary, etc. from their perspective.
3rd Place – Rachel Hale (PR major) for her idea to create a virtual reality/360 experience to show students what it was like to be a student in the run-up to May 4th, 1970. What was it like to be in a dorm room in late April 1970? What was the popular culture like? What would the room look like? What would it feel like?
This is also the first year the Sol Baltimore Endowed Scholarship for Innovation in Student Media was awarded to one of our finalists. Sol Baltimore is a 1956 graduate of Kent State University, having earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. He reached out to Student Media wanting to support something outside the box, which led to the creation of this scholarship.
Sarah Riedlinger (VCD major) was awarded the $1,000 scholarship for her idea to develop a game that would be distributed through the popular game platform, Steam. The game is a story-based game that shows users what it’s like to be a journalist. She’s already in the development phase, working with instructors in VCD and others with hopes to have it completed by May.
Student Media is proud to have handed out twice the amount of money than last year, have the number of entries increase by almost 50% from last year, have winners representing four different schools across two college and have judges representing students, alumni, private sector and public sector leaders.
- Zach Mikrut is the Assistant Director at LaunchNET Kent State, a program that helps students, faculty/staff, and alumni transform their ideas into thriving businesses, successful projects, or innovative collaborations. Zach is responsible for managing and coordinating the operational activities of the program including consulting, entrepreneurial tools, staffing, and collaborating with other university stakeholders. He has collaborated to create entrepreneurial events including throwing students in elevators for a pitch competition, having visual designers create podcasts, and staying up for 36 hours at hackathons.
- Heather Roszczyk was appointed by Mayor Horrigan in 2017 as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Advocate for the City of Akron. She is the voice of entrepreneurs and business owners inside city hall, supporting existing and emerging efforts to bolster Akron’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship throughout Akron. Her vision is for Akron’s streets to be alive with people and art, its storefronts full of thriving small businesses, and its tech as locally sourced as its food.
- Ile-Ife Okantah is a Kent State graduate student studying journalism. While completing her undergraduate degree at Kent, Ife was active in the school of journalism and mass communication. She has served as the fashion beat reporter for the Kent Stater, editor in chief of Uhuru Magazine and president of Kent's chapter of National Association of Black Journalists. One of the highlights of her undergraduate experience was delivering her own Tedx Talk.
- Micah Tindor has made a career for himself building businesses and product lines: Founded, built and sold two companies; included iRecon, a Car Dealership SaaS company to Cox Automotive, built two new lines of Connected Fleet business for the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, and led the sales deployment of Home Advisor into Canada. He has an MBA in strategy from the Ohio State University and currently works as Business Operations Director at Cox Automotive's vAuto.