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Media Advisory 17-005

Media invited to Capitol Hill as students, lawmakers meet for NSF Community College Innovation Challenge

Student-led projects tackle everything from antibiotic-resistant bacteria to homelessness

Community College Innovation Challenge

CCIC's goal is to retain community college students in STEM fields.

June 12, 2017

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

On June 14, media are invited to join members of the House and Senate on Capitol Hill as they meet this year's finalists in the third annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC).

Every year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) invite teams from across the country to submit innovative solutions grounded in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to solve some of the nation's most pressing challenges. Since 2014, CCIC has worked to bring community college students into STEM disciplines, where they will receive the education and training needed for future high-tech professions.

The finalists -- 10 teams consisting of students, faculty mentors and industry partners -- will demonstrate their solutions to problems such as solar energy production, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and homelessness. The Capitol Hill event follows a four-day Innovation Boot Camp, where the students will learn how to put their proposals into action to make real-world change.

Please join us on Capitol Hill for a reception as the students showcase their projects. NSF and the AACC will announce the top three finalists at the event.


WHAT: Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) Finalists' Reception on Capitol Hill
WHO: Remarks by Dr. Joan Ferrini-Mundy, NSF Chief Operating Officer
WHEN: Wednesday, June 14, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Russell Senate Office Building, Room 485, Washington, D.C.
TO ATTEND: Journalists please write to by noon, June 14.

This year's challenge produced a range of innovative projects under one of three themes:

  • Maker to Manufacturer
  • Energy and Environment
  • Security Technologies

The 10 finalists are:

Maker to Manufacturer

  • Del Mar College, Texas: Slowing Antibiotic Resistance with EnteroSword
    Danial Nasr Azadani, Julianne Grose, J. Robert Hatherill, Reavelyn Pray and John Ramirez
    The Slowing Antibiotic Resistance with EnteroSword project advocates the use of tailor-made viruses that target bacteria that are resistant to conventional antibiotics treatment methods.
  • Laney College, California: Laney College Pocket House Project
    Jake Chevrier, Marisha Farnsworth, Kimberly Gonzalez, Richard Rothbart, Daniel Ticker and Miguel Vega
    The Laney College Pocket House Project aims to overturn homelessness by using digital fabrication methods to create safe, inexpensive homes that are quick to manufacture and simple to assemble with minimal waste.

Energy and Environment

  • Corning Community College, New York: Project WaterFED
    Joseph Davis, Andy Diffenderfer, Sri Kamesh Narasimhan, Patrick Pruden and Jacob Zelko
    Project WaterFED aims to give people in communities with limited access to drinking water the tools to create water filters and other products by recycling discarded plastics.
  • El Paso Community College, Texas: Paso Del Norte Solar Innovators
    Roberto Alcala, Luis Lopez, Madero Rogelio Aguirre, Benito Oseguera and Olga Valerio
    Team El Paso Community College presents a composite-based material that improves solar panel performance by absorbing excess heat. The material prolongs the lifetime of solar panel systems and increases their energy efficiency in high temperature areas.
  • Forsyth Technical, North Carolina: Renewable Energy Roof Tile System
    Amber DeWitt, Brandon Mitchell, Julie Reynolds, Robert Summers and William Szwarc
    Forsyth Technical proposes a Renewable Energy Roofing Tile System that offers a realistic alternative to fossil fuels and traditional solar panels.
  • Frederick Community College, Maryland: Recycled Solar Stations for Energy
    Tanner Ash, Elizabeth Doyle, Cassie Kraham, Sean Scott, Godfrey Ssenyonga, Judy Staveley and Adil Zuber
    The Frederick Community College team piggybacks off recent research to experimentally determine the energy output of bacteria in soil. The team constructed a better bio-solar cell by changing the materials used in bio-solar cell creation.
  • Henry Ford College, Michigan: Veteroil: An Alternative Energy from Yard Waste
    Breanna Allen, Janice Gilliland and Will O'Connell
    The Henry Ford College proposes to replace fossil fuel with a biofuel from yard waste, which costs cities $7.3 billion per year. This innovation could save cities thousands of dollars each year by reducing the amount of yard waste fill disposed in landfills.
  • Oakton Community College, Illinois: Evaluation of Baking Oven Exhaust Recovery
    Harry Budge IV, Eduardo Jimenez Jr., Omer Malik, Rahim Sajwani and Helen Skop
    The Evaluation of Baking Oven Exhaust Recovery project contributes to development of innovative technology that evaluates ethanol pollution from various bakery processes that waste water and energy.

Security Technologies

  • Bucks County Community College, Pennsylvania: Simply Secure
    Nikolous Bertino, Christine Delahanty, Roshan Thomas and Alexander White
    Bucks County's Simply Secure project would produce a low-cost, portable device that small businesses and everyday consumers could use to confidently and securely connect to any wireless network and ensure data travels cryptically from end-to-end.
  • Red Rocks Community College, Colorado: Cyber Lab Learning Environment
    Bill Cherrington, Isaac Kerley, Joseph Murdock, Bruno Salvatico and John Sanchez
    The Red Rocks Community College team uses printed and digital material to demonstrate the power of the Cyber Lab Learning Environment. Just as real-world labs enable student learning in STEM fields, a cyber lab provides an alternative, yet safe, environment for advanced learning.

About CCIC

Today, more than 40 percent of U.S. undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges. Groups underrepresented in STEM as well as first-generation college students make up significant portions of students on community college campuses. NSF-funded projects at community colleges support STEM students who transfer to four-year colleges, as well as those who receive education and training to become part of the high-tech workforce, in fields as diverse as biotechnology, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

For full details on the contest, visit the challenge website to see eligibility criteria, entry guidelines, timeline and prize information.

CCIC furthers NSF's mission by enabling students to discover and demonstrate their ingenuity using science to make a difference in the world and turn knowledge into action. It also helps incorporate research into the traditional teaching mission of the community college. Get updates on Twitter: #CCIChallenge.


Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, its budget is $8.1 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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