GREEN BAY-UW-Green Bay freshman Jessica Hagberg earned first place at the WiSys Innovation On-Ramp Pitch Event on Wednesday, December 6.
The event was the culmination of the WiSys Innovation On-Ramp programming for the fall. 361 students from UW-Green Bay registered for the five-week online learning course, which teaches students how to grow their innovative thinking skills. The program was piloted at UW-Green Bay in 2022 and has expanded to UW-Platteville, UW-Stout, and UW-Eau Claire. Throughout the course, students received help with their innovative ideas from faculty and staff, and six students took part in the final pitch event.
Hagberg, a freshman studying business administration and marketing, earned the $1,000 first prize for Bloc, an automated time-blocking app. Bloc would sync to Gmail and Outlook calendars and allow users to add additional tasks to the app. Then, the app would block time off on the calendar based on priorities and deadlines, helping users manage their time and days more efficiently. Users would also be able to pause and resume when needed, and Bloc will reconfigure the calendar automatically.
Hagberg also qualifies for the WiSys Big Idea Tournament, where she will compete against students from across the Universities of Wisconsin for a chance to win up to $2,500. The event will be held on April 19, 2024, hosted at the Idea Fund of La Crosse.
Riley Arneson, a senior studying computer science, received second place and $500 for Password Pro, an online tool that would help individuals and companies create stronger passwords by demonstrating cracking attempts and showing how easy it is for accounts to be hacked. Password Pro would help to flag potential weak spots in passwords and provide feedback on how to strengthen them.
Third place and $250 went to the team of Cody Leisgang and James VanderWyst, both seniors studying mechanical engineering. Their idea, which was inspired by an engineering class project, is the Dispensinator, which is a hands-free smart method for automatically dispensing food in controlled portions and frees up employees to focus on other aspects of work.
Two additional students took part in the pitch event. Mason Chaltry, a business administration major, pitched Relief Ball, a smart golf ball that uses GPS to track balls, helping to solve the problem of golfers losing their golf balls. Brendon Fitch pitched Mobile Robot Pathing Applications, which is a less expensive robot that uses grid technology to help robots move around safely within warehouses and increase warehouse efficiency.
Three judges took part in the event:
- Tara Carr, Director of the Small Business Development Center, UW-Green Bay
- Vinith Poduval, SVP & Chief Innovation Officer, Schreiber Foods
- Jennifer Corbett, Chief Marketing Officer, Midwest Games
WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students and alumni of the Universities of Wisconsin to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop and commercialize discoveries, and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.
WiSys is the lead organization for a prestigious National Science Foundation Engines Type 1 Development Award in Sustainable Agriculture. Learn more about the grant here.