Villanova Engineers among Winners of University’s Pitch Day Competitions

College of Engineering students were among the winners of the Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Institute’s sixth annual Pitch Day competition held April 20. Pitch Day gives students from across the University’s schools and colleges the opportunity to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, while gaining real-world experience in building an idea from the ground up. 

Pitch Day features the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), in which student entrepreneurs present original ideas and prototypes to a panel of alumni and guest judges involved in business development, investments, marketing and technology. In addition to the $10,000 awarded to student startups through VSEC, students receive invaluable feedback from mentors and advisors that can help advance their ideas. This is the first year Pitch Day has expanded to include a Creativity Challenge and Virtual Reality Competition.

“The finalists this year represent the diverse populations of the University, and proposed practical, attainable solutions for real problems our world is facing,” said II Luscri, executive director of the ICE Institute. “We expanded Pitch Day to include the two new competitions to create new intersections among our community and highlight the importance of creativity and technology in academic and entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Pitch Day also includes the announcement of Villanova’s annual Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards winners. The ICE Awards were created and endowed by Patrick Meyer '74 VSB in honor of the Meyer family (Patrick '74, Edward '86, and C. Paul '30) to recognize the spirit of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship that enhances Villanova University. The Meyer ICE Award is conferred on a student in each of the University’s schools and colleges, as well as one faculty recipient.

“Each year the nominations for the Meyer ICE award continue to grow – symbolic of how innovation and creativity have become deeply embedded in nearly every academic discipline at Villanova,” said Luscri.

College of Engineering winners from the 2017 Pitch Day included:

VSEC (COE students were part of teams that included students from other Villanova schools and colleges):

2nd Place – MediCall – Saya Doyama ’17 CpE
An emergency app that stores critical personal information and, during an emergency, can contact 911 and send them your location, as well as all the information stored in the app.

Saya Doyama ’17 CpE (far left) was part of the “MediCall” team, which took second place in the VSEC competition.
Saya Doyama ’17 CpE (far left) was part of the “MediCall” team, which took second place in the VSEC competition.

Klingler Unitas Prize (which recognizes the team that makes the greatest strides toward incorporating Villanova’s core value of Unitas through a cross-campus perspective) and “VUers” Choice Award (for best video) – Focus Friend – Madeline Lopez ’17 EE, Ethan Fortin ’17 CpE 
Linked to a student's Villanova account, this app rewards students for staying off of their phones during class time. 

Madeline Lopez ’17 EE (far right) and Ethan Fortin ’17 CpE (2nd from right) were members of team “Focus Friend,” which took home the Klingler Unitas Prize and “VUers” Choice Award.
Madeline Lopez ’17 EE (far right) and Ethan Fortin ’17 CpE (2nd from right) were members of team “Focus Friend,” which took home the Klingler Unitas Prize and “VUers” Choice Award.
Deyjah Foster ’19 ChE accepted the Halloran Social Venture award for the “Afya Tea” team.
Deyjah Foster ’19 ChE accepted the Halloran Social Venture award for the “Afya Tea” team.

Halloran Social Venture - Afya Tea - Vanessa Kungne ’17 MSChE, Deyjah Foster ’19 ChE, Ibukunoluwa Sanni ’19 EE, Oluwasemilore Ibirogba ’19 CpE

Afya Tea is an organic herbal tea produced in Cameroon, Central Africa to help manage healthy blood sugar levels for tea lovers globally, especially diabetics.

Branden Garrett ’19 CpE (right) won “Most Inspiring” for Caritas of Culture in the Creativity Challenge.
Branden Garrett ’19 CpE (right) won “Most Inspiring” for Caritas of Culture in the Creativity Challenge.

Creativity Challenge:
Most Inspiring – Caritas of Culture  – Branden Garrett ’19 CpE

Caritas of Culture is a one day event on campus in the spring where Villanova groups of various cultures have an opportunity to perform in front of the Villanova community, as well as decorate some part of a building on main campus with the theme being their respective culture. There will also be various cultural food catering companies from several different cultures. 

Vanessa Kungne ’17 MSChE, founder of Afya Tea, won the 2017 Meyer ICE Award for the College of Engineering.
Vanessa Kungne ’17 MSChE, founder of Afya Tea, won the 2017 Meyer ICE Award for the College of Engineering.

The 2017 Meyer ICE Award:
Vanessa Kungne ’17
MSChE started her own tea company, Afya Tea, which helps people suffering from diabetes. A Chemical Engineering graduate student from Cameroon, Vanessa was named to Forbes Magazine Africa 30 under 30 in 2016.