Friday, March 09, 2018

Student entrepreneurs present at 2018 Innovation in Action finals and James A. Kelly Learning Levers Prize competition


For a third year, student social entrepreneurs gathered to present the projects and products they have developed to address real-world problems in education. The James A. Kelly Learning Levers Prize Competition and Innovation in Action Education competition finals took place on March 5 in Prechter. Student teams participated in a series of workshops over five months, which prepared them with skills in design thinking, prototyping, market analysis, and pitching proposals. The Kelly Learning Lever Prize is a competition designed to challenge University of Michigan students to invent digital tools with the potential to significantly improve student learning. This prize encourages a culture of innovation in education, and rewards the creative, interdisciplinary work of University of Michigan students.

Five of the eight final teams were invited to present to a panel of judges who posed questions to the students, and decided on which projects would be awarded the three top prizes. Judges included Millie Chu, faculty affiliate and consultant at the William Davidson Institute and business consultant for Michigan SBDC; David Merritt, founder of a cause-based fashion brand; Ebony Pope, director of U.S. ventures at Village Capital; and Pete Giordano, startup advisor and investor.

U-M alumnus and entrepreneur Pete Giordano presented the keynote address. Giordano discussed “innovation through true insight” with a focus on building relationships with people that can set and steward goals, identify your blind spots, challenge you to improve, and inspire, motivate and support you.

This year’s cohort created projects which confront fake news, inform loan decisions, support college students throughout their education, connect potential collaborators, and help students retain what they learn in their courses.

First place winner ($10,000) and Audience Choice Winner ($1,000): Dough
Yahya Bajwa, Ford School of Public Policy
Catalina Kaiyoorawongs, Ross School of Business
Alfredo Novoa, School of Public Health

Dough is an education text service linked to tools that assist students make more informed student loan decisions.

Second place winner ($7,500): 1Team
Paul Hur, School of Information
Iman Yeckehzaare, School of Information

1Team is building an intelligent personal tutor that knows what the student knows, does not ever let them forget it, and teaches them new things they are capable of easily grasping. This will help students to learn concepts for the long-term, and help them succeed in their academic work, or in the job market.

Third place winner ($5,000): ScholarFit
Matthew Nelson, Design Science

ScholarFit is a platform that provides just-in-time feedback to college students. Using self-reported in conjunction with university-collected data, gamification techniques are used to display student progress, unlock badges based on academic activities, make comparisons to similar students from current & previous years, predict outcomes and make recommendations.

Deepti Bettampadi, School of Public Health
Sophia Chiu, School of Information
Juan Marquez, School of Public Health
Jonathan Overstreet, School of Education
Jasmine Wang, Law School

Deceptive information is everywhere around us- news articles, social media, even product labels. Fyltr is committed to improving information literacy in children. Through fun and engaging games, we build the fundamental skills necessary to critically evaluate information.

Intend to Attend
Jake Baker, Ross School of Business
Sean Bolourchi, School of Public Health
Hannah Chen, Ross School of Business + School of Information
MaryRose Clark, College of LSA
Olivia Ouyang, School of Information
Megan Taylor, School of Education

Our team is exploring how we could use digital technologies to support rural high school students as they prepare for and apply to college.

Benjamin Bear, College of LSA
Carolyn Giroux, Rackham School of Graduate Studies
Nolan Kataoka, College of Engineering
Akira Nishii, College of Engineering
Akshay Rao, College of Engineering

For many students, undergraduate research is their first experience working on real-world problems that may provide widespread impact and help people in the future. Research is a chance for students to apply what they've learned in class to the real world, to venture boldly beyond the maps of the known. Not to mention that undergraduate research experience is now necessary rather than an added bonus when applying to graduate school, industrial R&D jobs, and numerous other career paths. However, there are many social and financial barriers that make it difficult for an undergraduate student to locate and get accepted into university research positions. Perch aims to reduce barriers to undergraduate research. We plan to achieve this through an online platform that centralizes communication between research faculty and students, as well as a standardized system of training and certifying research skills.

Refugees to College
Sean Anderson, School of Music, Theater, and Dance
David Kamper, School of Music, Theater, and Dance

Refugees to College believes that everyone deserves access to a good education. Supported by aid organizations such as Samaritas and Washtenaw Refugee Welcome, we provide one-on-one support and college readiness workshops to refugees and their families. Learn more at

Young Eun Kim, School of Information
Alex Park, Law School

Univentures is a networking and skills-sharing web platform where U-M students across disciplines can easily connect and collaborate together on projects. All students will be provided with an online portfolio populated with project details, their role on the team, and the impact they had upon completion of the projects.

Within This Section

News by Topic