2014 Winners

Girl looking into microscope
Rachel Paquette, here with microscope, founded BioBubbler with Nawal Khan. This Significant Social Impact winner created this filtration system and introduced it in Haiti.

Congratulations to UMass Lowell's 2014 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge Winners! Challenge categories and winners are as follows:

CampusCampus-Wide DifferenceMaker

SOS: Support our Students -$7,000

This Campus Community Shop at UMass Lowell would be a centrally located resource for students of low-income or those in need of assistance. It would also serve as a resource center for community engagement, for credit service placements and volunteer opportunities in the area.

  • Teresa Shroll, Graduate, Community Social Psychology
  • Mary Tauras, Graduate, Community Social Psychology
  • Sadie Prickett, Graduate, Community Social Psychology
  • Xavier Guay, Junior, Computer Science
  • Chandana Penukonda, Senior, Finance
  • Anna Henson, Freshman, Marketing

SignificantSignificant Social Impact

1st Place-$4,000

The BioBubbler is made from indigenous material and does not require chemicals or electricity to use. It is a slow sand filtration system that eliminates bacteria in water by absorption, predation, natural death, and oxygen depletion.

  • Rachel Paquette, Senior, Biology
  • Nawal Khan, Junior, Marketing and Management

2nd Place-$2,000

Nerdonyx is a place where theory meets application. This team is helping to encourage anyone who wants to be an engineer or scientist to pursue their dream.

  • Ryan Hart, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Shiv Sharma, Ph.D., Electrical Engineering
  • Kyle Vigeant, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Timothy Pflanz, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Albert Andino-Aponte, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Kyle Homan, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Anupama Purohit, Graduate, MBA

ContributionContribution to a Sustainable Environment

1st Place-$4,000

TermaGreen is a waste heat recovery solutions company that has innovated the heat recovery mechanism known as the organic ranking cycle. TermaGreen has innovated the design of this machine to make a significant difference in its operations.
  • Gregory Bohenko, Senior, Business
  • Alexander Martinez, Freshman, Business, Economics and Mathematics
  • Aaron Stafford, Senior, Business

InnovativeInnovative Technology Solution

1st Place-$4,000
OTTOnomous Technology

OTTOnomous Technology is a novel solution for replacing camshafts in car engines with electro-mechanical actuators.

  • Erik Christiansen, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Victor Maldonado, Senior, Accounting and Global Business
  • Jeremy Dorson, Senior, Electrical Engineering

FirstFirst to Market

1st Place-$4,000
Fresh Beets

Fresh Beets is a food truck and music venue that unites three discrete areas that the Greater Lowell community values highly into one vehicle of change. By combining food, music and education, Fresh Beets will turn any street corner, stake park, festival, or parking lot in Lowell into a total experience which feeds the mind, body and soul.

  • Savannah Marshall, Graduate, Community Music

2nd Place-$2,000

Treehouse is a website & phone application that connects friends with plans, events, and small businesses nearby.

  • James Abdallah, Senior, Finance and Marketing

2nd Place-$2,000

ZHOOM is a mobile application that improves the dining experience and service in restaurants. The features of ZHOOM include an online menu, mobile ordering functionality and payment system and customer reviews.

  • Chuen Hong Lau, Graduate, Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship
  • Wai Yuen Tang, Junior, Electrical Engineering
  • Darin Eidens, Graduate, Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship
  • Dan Coughlin, Graduate, MBA

HonorableHonorable Mention

TutorTrack is a mobile application that makes it easy for tutors to track, add, and edit their time slots and for students to subscribe a book a time slot.
  • Madhumathi Prakash, Sophomore, Computer Science
  • Virinchi Balabhadrapatruni, Sophomore, Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
  • Disha Amin, Junior, Computer Science


The iHand is a concept integrating retinal scanning technology into a full arm, shoulder to fingertips, prosthetic.

  • James Whiting, Freshman, Mechanical Engineering
  • Zihao Gao, Freshman, Chemical Engineering

Chat UML

Chat UML, a non-profit, will reach those in need of emotional help through a dedicated website where participants will chat with a Chat UML volunteer about whatever issue they feel a need to. The hope is to assist people before their situation escalates and becomes a crisis.

  • Brittany Morris, Freshman, Psychology
  • Kiara Cole, Sophomore, Business
  • Jon Madden, Senior, Computer Science
  • Lauren Jendrock, Freshman, Psychology
  • Peter Potash, Ph.D., Computer Science

Prevention's Possible

The mission of this project is to use creative mediums and personal experience to reach today’s youth with the expectation that WE CAN prevent tragic outcomes!

  • Matthew Clarke, Senior, Liberal Arts
  • Nick Pedini, Freshman, Sociology/Legal Studies

S.imulated A.ction T.esting

A gaming option for S.A.T. testing for students who have testing anxiety.

  • Niki Roberge, Senior, English
  • Amalfi Reyes, Senior, English
  • Kaylen Harris, Junior, English
  • Lisa Jackson, Junior, Peace and Conflict Studies

FanFan Favorite

Mr. Meds
Mr. Meds is a mobile robot used in a hospital pharmacy for medication organization, scheduling, and distribution.
  • Philip Colangelo, Graduate, Computer Science
  • Bryan Nguon, Junior, Computer Engineering
  • Curtis Quintal, Senior, Computer Science
  • Gianni Falzone, Graduate, Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship
  • Vikas Subramani, Graduate, Computer Engineering