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2021 Idea Challenge Final Awards

Congratulations to UMass Lowell's 2021 DifferenceMaker $50K Idea Challenge Winners!

Prize categories and winners are as follows:



Rist Campus-Wide DifferenceMaker, $7,000 Rist

TrueFIT - A novel fail-safe mask fitting and sealing solution that significantly reduces exposure to infectious aerosols, improving filtration efficiency and saving lives.

  • Siddhant Iyer, Graduate, Plastics Engineering
  • Justin Marcoullier, Senior, Business Administration
  • Pranav Ramaswamy, Freshman, Westford Academy

Significant Social Impact, $4,000 Significant

Digital Life - A prosthetic device for kids with digital congenital deformities. It aims to give life to hands by opening up a world of possibilities.

  • Smriti Kumar, Junior, Biomedical Engineering
  • Alejandra Luna Juarez, Junior, Biomedical Engineering
  • Tina Thuy Nguyen Hoang, Junior, Biomedical Engineering
  • Amy Nguyen, Junior, Biomedical Engineering

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle, $4,000 Healthy

Apple a Day - A weekly pill case that is discreet and more appealing for kids.

  • Emily Philpot, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Jack Ryan, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Param Rajeshbhai Patel, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering

Sutherland Innovative Technology Solution (Sponsored by Andrew Sutherland '94), $4,000 innovative

NavLens - A wearable device that enhances the spatial awareness of the visually impaired. This will be accomplished through the development of cost effective methods for converting visual-spatial information into audio-spatial sounds.

  • Alden Giedraitis, Junior, Electrical Engineering
  • Daniel Giuliano, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Christina Haugh, Senior, Business
  • Jack Houle, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
  • Asa Losurdo, Junior, Electrical Engineering
  • Edwin Meriaux, Computer Engineering

Jack. M. Wilson First Product to Market Award (Sponsored by Jack Wilson, President Emeritus), $4,000 market

Wonder Wheel - An affordable wheelchair power assist device.

  • Rasha Ghazal, Senior, Biomedical Engineering
  • Alexander Hoefer, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Khang Nguyen, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Sanskriti Sharma, Senior, Computer Engineering

Commitment to a Sustainable Environment, $4,000 environment

Green Fertilizer - An idea to design, build, and characterize a standalone on-demand fertilizer production system. The integration of renewable energy to generate a synthetic fertilizer using locally available inputs and deliver it on-demand reduces the cost of fertilizer, emissions, waste and runoff.

  • Samuel Alpert, Graduate, Energy Engineering
  • Benard Tabu, Ph.D., Energy Engineering
  • Visal Veng, Ph.D., Energy Engineering

Honorable Mentions, $2,000 honorable

Concept Project - A multi-media startup that creates awareness for various social issues while completing mental and physical challenges in the outdoors.

  • Adrian DelliCollo
  • Garret Roberts, Sophomore, Business Administration, Finance

Terminus - Inspired by VEGGIE and Biosphere II, Terminus is a terrarium that can be used to grow food everywhere (even on Mars)!

  • Brian Cleavitt, Freshman, Business Administration, International Business
  • Rohan Goyal, Freshman, Computer Science
  • Renin Jose, Sophomore, Computer Engineering
  • Eliot Pirone, Junior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Michael Pottorff II
  • Ariel Shramko, Freshman, Environmental Engineering

Tommy Vi's Gelato - A new food concept to Lowell, where Asian flavors are combined with Italian machinery and technique to create a unique version of Gelato. Through food and culture, the goal for this business is to create a positive local food community.

  • Tommy Vi, Senior, Business Administration, Accounting

VieVest - A carefully engineered product that protects athletes from impact and abrasion sustained from common barbell movements. The mission is to provide peace of mind, comfort, and safety during the dynamic Olympic lifts regularly programmed for athletes at all skill levels.

  • Alexander Frawley, Junior, Business Administration