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Engineering Prototyping

DifferenceMaker Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition

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This program is supported by the Francis College of Engineering and the DifferenceMaker program.

The Competition

Do you have a great idea? Are you wondering if it can be turned into a real product that customers would buy and use? If so, then this is for you: a competition to push you to think about an idea and bring it to life.

What is the difference between this competition and other innovation and entrepreneurship competitions on campus? This competition is more than just generating an idea; it is about generating a product - whether it is a mechanical/electrical device, a software application, or an integrated system. After all, ideas are great but we want you to be creative and build it, sketch it, etc., with the resources you have!


  • Applicants must be students (graduate or undergraduate) at UMass Lowell and at least one team member must be from the Francis College of Engineering.
  • Students are encouraged to form interdisciplinary teams with all team members taking part in developing the executive summary submission and prototype development.
  • Each team should identify a faculty advisor from the Francis College of Engineering.

Important Dates

Application Registration and Deadline Instructions

  • Create a team using the Idea Platform.
  • After you have created a team, log back into the  Idea Platform and apply to the Engineering Competition.
  • Once your application is approved, then you can submit an executive summary via the Idea Platform.
  • Questions? Please contract the Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator 

Executive Summary

Executive summaries will be submitted online in the Idea Platform. Teams submitting plans past the deadline will not be included in the competition.

Available Resources

  • Teams that submit a proposal by the deadline are eligible to submit receipts of expenses incurred in their prototype design.
  • A maximum of $100 will be reimbursed, with valid expenses including material costs, equipment rental, etc. Student teams must approach engineering faculty and/or technical staff for the use of laboratory facilities (if necessary) in their designs and prototyping.
  • All registered teams will be invited to attend DifferenceMaker events during the semester to learn relevant skills and techniques, from idea generation to writing a business plan.


  • $2,500 award for 1st place team
  • $1,500 award for 2nd place team
  • $1,000 award for 3rd place team
  • $500 award for the people's choice award (crowd voting)


  • Should I enter my design? Ask Professor Carter Keough and Professor Kelilah Wolkowicz, Francis College of Engineering and DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellows by email: and
  • Questions related to the competition? Please contact Francis College of Engineering Program Coordinator.
  • Other questions? Please email the DifferenceMaker Program:

2020 Winners

  • First Place Award, $2,500 went to ConnectKnee - A knee brace that incorporates the use of EMG sensors and goniometers to track and record a patient's recovery, making it more efficient and hands on
  • Team: Jackson Kelley, Brennan Macaig, Tiffany Miller, and Alyssa Mulry
  • Second Place Award, $1,500 went to FEMME - This project is a new era of affordable, menstruation pads that are non-toxic to the environment and to the human body.
  • Team: Joanna Chase, Kristin Kihara, Massanica Mom, and Skylar Murphy
  • Third Place Award, $1,000 went to Strip Away the Back Log - A low-cost rape test kit using ELISA in an effort to end the backlog of rape test kits in the U.S.
  • Team: Victoria AcostaDiaz, Emily Doherty, Ariel Dulaney, and Madison Merrill
  • People's Choice Award: $500 went to Team Terminus - Inspired by NASA's VEGGIE idea for the ISS, the goal is to create a terrarium that will allow future Mars colonists to grow food. This will be done by creating an enclosed terrarium.
  • Team: Gabriel Asmar, Varun Dhorajia, Daniel Greaney, Renin KingslyJose, Nelson Lee, Micheal Pottorff, and Ariel Shramko, Natilia Woozencroft

Thank you to all the 2020 preliminary and finalist judges!