Kent State Team Captures People’s Choice Vote In International Competition
Kent State University’s College of Arts and Sciences and Office of Global Education recently hosted the MISSION: LIFE VI international innovation competition, focused on bringing together interdisciplinary teams to address major world problems. The Kent State team, whose idea focused on diverting food waste from the landfill stream and converting it into electricity, won the people’s choice award after more than 300 people visited the three exhibits and voted for their favorite.
This year’s teams focused on the theme Global Sustainable Development in the 21st Century. The event, which was held in the Integrated Sciences Building, featured presentations from teams from Kent State, Texas and Brazil. Judges in and around Kent State watched the teams’ 10-minute presentations and voted on the juried awards. The team from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná in Brazil, who developed and tested a role-playing game focused on teaching the U.N.’s Sustainability Development Goals for middle and high school students, won the juried first-place prize.
The team from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas, took second place in both the people’s choice and juried awards for its software app designed to connect students and nonprofits, making the tracking of volunteer hours more efficient for both parties.
Judges for the event were Roy Messing, director of the Ohio Employee Ownership Center at Kent State; Melanie Knowles, Kent State’s manager of sustainability; and Jason Miller, engineering manager at Echogen Power Systems.
The student teams competed at the local level to advance to the international competition, which was introduced to Kent State by Edgar Kooijman, Ph.D., Kent State associate professor and director of the biotechnology program, who has been instrumental in the development of the strategic partnership with the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, an acclaimed not-for-profit private Catholic university located in Curitiba in southern Brazil where MISSION: LIFE originated. Previously, the School of Life Sciences at the Brazilian university has hosted the competition.
"As an international scholar myself – I am originally from the Netherlands – I am so excited to have the opportunity to mentor and lead students in international activities at Kent State University," Dr. Kooijman says. "Hosting the MISSION: LIFE VI competition provides a wonderful occasion for students to experience some of the international activities the university is engaged in."
The Kent State team was comprised of Edward Chiyaka (graduate student, public health), Paramanand Deginal (sophomore, aeronautics), Andrew Hughes (freshman, biotechnology), Quaid Kloha (senior, accounting), Michael Mandac (senior, hospitality management) and Michelle Park (senior, fashion design).