Consider the Impact

  • 33,791
    Students reached
  • $1.3 million
    Raised by student teams
  • 73
    Winning teams
  • $280,000
    Won by winning teams
  • 19
    Companies formed by teams
  • 8
    Patents filed or issued

DifferenceMaker Program Helps Bring Student Ideas to Life

Allison Dunbar '17 (Exercise Physiology); eNABLE Lowell team member poses with prosthetic hand
Allison Dunbar '17, eNABLE Lowell team member, poses with a prosthetic hand.

By David Perry

Launched in May 2012, DifferenceMaker is one of those UMass Lowell programs where everything comes together. Innovation. Cross-disciplinary cooperation. Communication. Engagement. Entrepreneurship.

The idea is to help students understand how they can make a difference in the world and to gather with others – faculty, other campus programs and students from colleges other than their own – to bring their vision to life. 

And if it really works out, a business may emerge from the hard work.

It wouldn’t be the first time.

DifferenceMaker Products & Services to Market

invisaWear, the safe jewelry company, began as a DifferenceMaker project Image by courtesy photo


The smart jewelry company designed to keep women safe by sending alerts via text to love ones and even police when activated began in 2016 as a DifferenceMaker project but is gaining big-time sparkle as it launches to the rest of the world. Read more

Liam plays basketball

eNABLE Lowell

eNABLE Lowell is an all-volunteer student chapter that designs and fabricates low-cost 3D-printed prosthetic devices for children with physical disabilities. Read more

Laptop pictured with state-of-the-art ECG technology to screen students for undetected cardiac conditions

Mass HeartBeat

Mass HeartBeat is an organization dedicated to bringing affordable and convenient heart screening services to students directly at their school, camp, or university. Read more

Veloxity co-founders Felipe Nascimento and Upkar Singh with their charging kiosk Image by Tory Germann


Felipe Nascimento '16 and Upkar Singh '16, co-founded startup Veloxity, maker of the cell phone charging kiosk located at University Crossing. Read more

Topacan in action


Industrious and driven to entrepreneurship, 25-year-old mechanical engineering grad Justin Lozier ’17 invented TopaCan, “the most convenient ashtray in the world.” Read more

Operation250 is an online platform consisting of an educational website, engaging videos and a large social media presence, focused on educating both young adolescents, parents and educators on how to prevent radical extremist recruitment.

Operation 250

Op250, which educates students, parents and teachers about the recruitment tactics of violent extremist organizations, was started by Tyler Cote '17 and other interns at the UML's Center for Terrorism and Security Studies. Read more

Nonspec is moving toward the market and winning acclaim

Nonspec Inc.

The co-founders and partners in Nonspec Inc., an emerging business that makes affordable prosthetics, landed a $50,000 prize as one of the Top 26 startups at MassChallenge, the Boston-based business accelerator. Read more

Breezy is a real-time air quality-monitoring device, which can be tracked through its cell phone application or online website.


Breezy is a real-time air quality-monitoring device, which can be tracked through its cell phone application or online website. Read more

Meet More DifferenceMakers

Security Top '16

Security Top is a reusable bottle cap designed for the purpose of increasing the prevention of contaminates entering a bottled beverage.

Our goal is to protect people from contaminated drinks.
Read More About Security Top