Kits to assist with STEM education and a podcast to alleviate the stigma of mental
health issues won the top prizes in the high school division of Trine University’s
annual Innovation Challenge competition.
Held Feb. 16 on the Trine campus and presented by Trine innovation 1 and Farmers State
Bank, this year’s contest included projects by 41 students.
Connor Wueller and Nash Brown from DeKalb High School took the top technology prize
with Intellekits, hands-on kits they developed to provide a different approach to
STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education.
Zien Smith, Chase Chmielews and Vinida Chuengviroj from Career Academy South Bend
were named runners-up in the technology division for Instaheat, an electricity-free,
quick access heated blanket for use in emergencies.
In the business division, Carly Rasbaugh from Lakeland High School took first prize
for “No Rain, No Flowers,” a podcast that addresses the stigma associated with mental
health issues, particularly in teens.
The runner-up in that category was “Bow Wow Boutique” by Lexi Long, Emma Huth and
Phoebe Sullivan of DeKalb High School. That business concept uses recycled materials
to make bandanas for pets.
Event judges were Deb Richard, chair of Trine’s Ketner School of Business; Joshua
Wenning, Ph.D., executive director, Region 8 Educational Service Center; David Corcoran,
adjunct professor at Trine and regional entrepreneur; Mark Cowen, executive vice president
and chief business development officer at Farmers State Bank; Lorne Groe, advisor
for Keebo; Andie Hines-Langemann, regional director of entrepreneurship, Elevate Northeast
Indiana; and Steve Franks, Entrepreneurship Program Manager, Believe in a Dream.
Trine University’s Innovation Challenge provides cash prizes to top business and technology
ideas, with awards funded by a gift from Farmers State Bank. Top prize for the high
school Innovation Challenge was $1,000 in each category. Runners-up received $500.
Entries will be accepted through March 16 for the college and community event, with
finalists presenting their projects to judges on March 30.
About Farmers State Bank
Founded in 1915 in Stroh, Indiana, Farmers State Bank is one of northeast Indiana’s
leading financial institutions and the Home of Blue Button Banking. With corporate
headquarters in LaGrange, Indiana, Farmers State Bank has been providing banking and
financial services to both consumers and businesses for over 100 years. To learn more,