Young and inexperienced persons can often be remarkably wise. They can provide youthful energy and an unbridled injection of ideas that can be overlooked due to their simplicity. Sometimes, it takes individuals with a basic understanding of a subject to deliver a novel solution to a problem.
Such was the case when students from Clarkson University, Syracuse University and the University of Rochester took part in an innovation competition aimed at adding some spark to the fields of advanced manufacturing, energy, environment and water. Nineteen students from Clarkson were among the more than 50 who helped to create innovative solutions at the SPARK think tank-style event hosted by OBG (Part of Ramboll) April 5 in Syracuse.
As part of the SPARK Innovation Competition, the students worked with OBG experts and industry partners to solve real-time problems facing industry. Teams were given the opportunity to work alongside real-world industry representatives to brainstorm, problem solve and find innovative solutions to various challenges during this 24-hour event. Industry partners included Corning, EagleHawk, Matt Brewing Company and National Grid.
Clarkson students were well represented among the competition’s winning teams. Junior Katelyn Murphy (Environmental Engineering) was a member of the first-place winning team while senior Benjamin Stewart (Chemical Engineering) and sophomore Matteo Rehm (Mechanical Engineering) were on the team that placed second. Seniors Thomas Rougeux (Chemical Engineering) and Thomas Gitlin (Engineering & Management) were members of the team that finished in third place.
Also representing Clarkson at the competition were seniors Hayley Szeglowski (Environmental Engineering), Dallas Towner (Electrical Engineering) and Owen Talmage (Mechanical Engineering); juniors Jacqueline Otala (Engineering & Management), Adam Sherwood (Civil Engineering), Jacob Merritt (Engineering & Management), John-Paul Kalilec (Mechanical Engineering), Noah Poirier (Mechanical Engineering) and Timothy Shupe (Aeronautical Engineering); and sophomores Phoebe Bloomfield (Environmental Engineering), Nicholas Dorrance (Mechanical Engineering), Demetrius Boone (Engineering & Management), Ben Ellis (Electrical Engineering) and Michael Estes (Electrical Engineering).
Clarkson students were mentored by Margo Jenkins, Director of the Clarkson Career Center, and Mary Brothers, Career and Employer Relations for the Clarkson School of Engineering.
Ideas presented by the student teams were evaluated by a panel of judges. Awards were provided to the top teams. The competition gave students real-life experience in solving issues with inventive solutions. The event provided fresh perspectives and the opportunity to interact with top talent for OBG and its partner organizations.
Since its inception in 2013, SPARK has been scaled to hold competitions across the United States and includes multiple universities and Fortune 50 companies. Guided by subject matter experts, student teams develop ideas and concepts, and pitch their solutions to a panel of academic and private sector judges to win prizes.