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Final Round of Pitching at Ag Springboard 2015

A peek into the final round of Ag Springboard competition Tuesday, as five student teams pitched their ideas for new business and social enterprises to the judges.

Peek inside the presentation room for the final round of Ag Springboard competition, where five finalist teams pitched their concepts for new businesses or social enterprises to a panel of judges.

By the end of the day, judges had decided the first and second place winners:

A nonprofit venture to provide basic laboratory equipment to high school science students in West African countries won the $7,500 grand prize.

Bridge the GapSci plans to match sources of lab glassware, gloves, coats and pipettes with West African countries, starting with Ghana, to allow students to conduct experiments and learn science hands-on. Sixty percent of labs in secondary schools in Africa don’t have working equipment and 40 percent don’t have labs.

The team members are:

  • Shawntawnee Collins, Ph.D. in immunology/infectious diseases
  • Jamaal James, Ph.D. student in molecular medicine
  • Kerry Belton, Ph.D. student in molecular toxicology
  • Josephine Garban, Ph.D. student in molecular medicine
  • Sarah Owusu, Ph.D. student in physiology

Judges awarded the $2,500 second place prize to Kronkos Farms, pitching a plan to use biotechnology to bring saffron production to the United States, won the $2,500 second place prize. The team’s concept is to use biotechnology to decrease labor, and increase yield and quality of saffron, paving the way for domestic production.

The team members are Joanna Hofstaedter, a junior secondary education biology major; Tina Shing Li Lai, an M.S. student in plant biology, Nate Hamaker, a junior double-major student in chemical engineering and plant biology and Kristen Fisher, an environmental resource management major graduating in May.

Congratulations to the three other finalists:

  • Team bluHouse, pitching a product that replicates the water cycle and captures moisture in a greenhouse. Team members: Elliott Killian, a senior horticulture student and Richard Zang, a senior aerospace engineering student.
  • DeliveredU, pitching a weekly delivery service of perishable grocery staples as a convenience for health-conscious students. Team members: Melissa Luyster, a junior food science student and Ryan Stein, a senior agriculture business major.
  • Protein Station, pitching a service that delivers nutrient-dense meals to students during the post-workout recovery window, to optimize health and nutrition. Team members: Yangyili Fu, a sophomore finance major; Yue Mao, a junior supply chain management student; Yu-Jou Chen, a psychology major, Sicong Chen, a sophomore finance student and Jaye Aster Broder, who sophomore pursuing a double major in food science and Spanish.