April 26, 2013

App contest rewards student entrepreneurs

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s inaugural Saluki App Competition showed the unique and diverse ideas students have for enhancing life on campus and in the region using special software applications they created.

The contest drew numerous ideas for mobile device software applications with several students winning cash awards for their ingenuity.  The winners, chosen by a panel of judges and through online voting, earned $600 in cash prizes. 

Each team included one or more students and could have faculty, staff, alumni or members of the general public but at least half of each competing team had to be comprised of spring 2013 SIU students.  The purpose of the contest was to recognize and cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit among University students and their associates.

There were two contest categories:  popular vote and vote by judges.

The winners, by category, along with a brief description of the app, the prizes won and available information about the creator(s) are:

Popular Vote

  • First -- Saluki Write, a composition and research reference application providing assistance with all stages of academic and professional writing tasks, Robert Calton (a doctoral English student), $150 prize.
  • Second -- Life at Southern, an application providing details specifically for SIU students about events, dining, night life, campus/community resources, specials and more, Jeremy Packer (sophomore computer science major from Metropolis), $100 prize.
  • Third -- ofCourse, an Android application to organize homework, quizzes, tests and other tasks, William Blankenship (freshman accounting major from Springfield), Patrick Brown (doctoral computer science student from Marion), Drew Murphy (senior computer science major from Altamont) and Jake Bock (sophomore computer science major from St. Joseph), $50 prize.

Vote by Judges

  • First -- Life at Southern, $150 prize.
  • Second -- ofCourse, $150 prize.

Additional prizes also went to the honorable mention winners.  They were:

  • Duncan, an application allowing students to view and organize academic assignments and projects using their mobile devices, John Leco (senior art major.)
  • SalukTracks, a customizable online campus map application showing paths to all locations and additional features, William Welling (senior computer science major from Chicago).
  • Workout Into the Future, an application offering all of the information anyone would want about the Student Recreation Center, Michael Henley (senior information systems technology major) and Ashley Schoolcraft (senior art major from Carbondale).

Find more details about the competition and the winners online at http://www.siu.launcht.com/

Although the competition is over, the entrepreneurship it inspired is ongoing.  Several of the contestants are moving forward to further develop, implement and market their apps.

“We want to encourage students to think entrepreneurially and consider the commercial potential of their work.  One student contestant has already joined the new Student Innovation Incubator program at the Southern Illinois Research Park and we expect more to join,” Jeff Myers, senior technology transfer specialist in the University’s Technology Transfer Office, said. 

SIU sponsors of the competition included the Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Dean, the Technology Transfer Program and the Student Innovation Incubator.  Husch Blackwell, LLP., donated all of the cash awards while 710 Bookstore provided the honorable mention prizes.