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WVU to embrace entrepreneurship and innovation at inaugural Demo Day

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Nearly 70 West Virginia University students and faculty members from across campus will showcase their innovative ideas, cutting-edge inventions, working prototypes and unique business ventures at the inaugural WVU IDEA Hub Demo Day Thursday, April 19.

The teams will compete for prizes determined by those who attend the all-day, university-wide event.

Demo Day’s focal event will be a Student & Faculty Expo on the fifth floor of the Evansdale Crossing from 3-5 p.m.

The WVU community and the general public are also encouraged to attend the robust slate of activities scheduled at different campus locations throughout the day, from a video game pitch competition to an interior and fashion design showcase and interactive hospitality presentations. See the complete program of Demo Day activities and locations.

With a robust culture of innovation, design and entrepreneurship applied across WVU, the IDEA Hub was established by the Office of the Provost three years ago to coordinate and elevate creative and inventive work. The IDEA Hub now serves as the nexus that connects students, faculty, staff and community members to the colleges, units and programs that harness entrepreneurship and innovation to solve problems and embrace change. The organizations of the IDEA Hub are trained to help nascent entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators develop and launch their ideas by providing the resources, expertise and coaching critical to every stage of the startup process.

WVU’s Demo Day will demonstrate the scope of new discoveries, inventions and business ventures across diverse majors and colleges, as well as the power of multidisciplinary collaboration among faculty and students.

Demo Day is the brainchild of the 2016-2018 class of IDEA Fellows, eight faculty members from  across WVU who were selected via a competitive process to train in infusing entrepreneurship into their curriculum and then implement that training in the classroom. In addition to their classroom work, the Fellows work together to promote entrepreneurship and innovation across the university. The Fellows hope that Demo Day will provide a campus-wide platform for showcasing the kind of creative thinking and problem solving that they find so exciting themselves—and which their students find both inspirational and transformative.  

Cross-departmental collaboration will be seen in every facet of Demo Day. Jeffery Moser, an IDEA Fellow and teaching assistant professor in the Reed College of Media, and Frances Van Scoy, an associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, joined forces this semester to teach video game design and development. Their students will reveal their collaborative results at the Video Game Pitch competition starting at 11 a.m. in the LaunchLab in Evansdale Crossing room 413.

Other cross-college collaborations will be on display during the Expo, including such student partners as Ephraim Pittore, a graduate student in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design and Josh Gross, a student studying in Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Jessica Mannering, a strategic communications major, and Michael Brinkley, a mechanical engineering major, have been working together prototyping customizable stomp pads for snowboards, which will offer users enhanced balance when getting on and off the lifts. Mixing Brinkley’s engineering aptitude with Mannering’s communications background, the team has already proven to be a winning one, taking home the grand prize in the LaunchLab’s March Idea Challenge pitch competition.

“We recognize the importance of building a more robust and diverse economy for our state. By embracing an entrepreneurial mindset and increasing the opportunity for collaboration at WVU, we are catalyzing the creation of innovative companies and fostering a culture of entrepreneurship,” said Mindy Walls, assistant vice president for innovation and entrepreneurship and director of the IDEA Hub. “Demo Day is one of many opportunities at WVU for us to showcase our talented entrepreneurs, inventors and innovators.” 

-WVU-

kl/04/12/18

CONTACT: Katie Longo
Communications Director and Marketing Strategist, Office of the Provost
304.293.1066; katie.longo@mail.wvu.edu 

Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.