Congratulations to the 10 finalist winners of the 1st Annual UMass Lowell DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge - 2013!

2013 Winners

Man with prosthetic leg and UMass student
Jonathan deAlderete (right in photo) and Erin Keaney cofounded Nonspec, which creates low-cost, high-functioning prosthetic limbs to people around the world.

Campus-Wide DifferenceMaker

Nonspec - $5,000

Low cost high functionality replacement limb with an acceptable amount of customization for children in other nations.

  • Katherine Cain- Undergraduate, Engineering
  • Jonathan De Alderete- Undergraduate, Engineering
  • Brendan Donoghue- Undergraduate, History
  • Sean Gibson- Undergraduate, Engineering
  • Olivia Keane- Undergraduate, Engineering
  • Erin Keaney- Undergraduate, Engineering 

For more information visit Nonspec's website

Significant Social Impact

1st Place - $3,500

Healthy Habits

Inspire children to achieve healthier lifestyles by eating nutritious foods, exercising and being active to prevent sedentary lifestyles.

  • Jacqueline Bradley - Undergraduate, Nursing
  • Meghan Hathaway - Undergraduate, Nursing
  • Katerina Kafkas - Undergraduate, Nursing
  • Nicole Leblanc - Undergraduate, Nursing
  • Haley Mayne - Undergraduate, Nursing
  • Michelle Racioppi - Undergraduate, Nursing

2nd Place - $1,500

Bright Future Generation

Non-Profit organization: Mental health services addressing the needs of Rwandan youth.

  • Vanessa Colomba
  • Steve DiPerna
  • Isaie Mihigo
  • Yousef Theeb

Sustainable Environment

1st Place - $3,500

Lowell Sprouts/Let's Grow Lowell

Uses school gardens as a way to educate middle school children about the importance of sustainable, organic agriculture.

  • Mary Beth Burwood - Undergraduate, Psychology
  • Sean Hicks - Undergraduate, Marketing
  • Christopher Horne - Undergraduate, Economics

For more information about Lowell Sprouts/ Let's Grown Lowell visit their website

2nd Place - $1,500

Hybrid Power Tricycle

Assistive Tricycle for handicap kids that utilizes pedaling power and a motor together. It also has a full support system and wireless shutoff. 

  • Anthony Capone
  • Derek Dempsey

Innovative Technology

1st Place - $3,500

Robotic Feeding Arm

Produces robotic arms to assist people where debilitating circumstances inhibit them from performing daily living activities. 

  • Philip Colangelo - Graduate, Computer Engineering

2nd Place - $1,500


School enrichment collaboration application. It provides modules for student note-taking, book trading, as well as discussion groups.

  • Avery DeCesare
  • Rohit Krishnan
  • Eric Marcoux
  • Tanjil Mustafa
  • Brian Tran

First to Market

1st Place - $3,500Grab a Bite

Social Food Network that engages users and helps increase restaurants customer traffic through marketing, ease of use and convenience.

  • Aldo Beqiraj - Undergraduate, Electrical Engineering 
  • Denis Lemos - Undergraduate, Computer Engineering
  • Andrew MacRobert - Undergraduate, Marketing
  • Andrew Webb - Undergraduate, Computer Science

2nd Place - $1,500


A produce that gives tactile/kinesthetic feedback for both correct spinal alignment and correct breathing mechanics to demand quality movement.

  • Ramez Antoun - Double Alum, Physical Therapy 
  • Nick Bleil - Alum, Graphic Design 
  • Ryan Connor
  • Michael Tadros
  • Robert Roufail

Honorable Mention DifferenceMaker

U.R. Corp - $500

Recognizes the importance of small businesses and what they do for the economies of local and national marketplaces and helps them compete with larger companies by expanding their market reach.

  • Robert Fisher