Savannah Marshall, Founder of Fresh Beets, Travels to Texas Part II!

Savannah Marshall studied community music at UMass Lowell and is a DifferenceMaker student. She won First to Market, a $4,000 prize at the 2014 Idea Challenge. Fresh Beets is a food truck and music venue that unites three discrete areas that the Greater Lowell community values highly into one vehicle of change. By combining food, music and education, Fresh Beets will turn any street corner, park, festival, or parking lot in Lowell into a total experience which feeds the mind, body and soul.

Savannah is currently in Texas where there is a vibrant food truck community.  She is learning more about the industry and how to launch her business. She will return to Lowell next month with the knowledge she gained from her research trip.

Here are more photos and captions of her trip:

Apple of my eye (2)

Apple of my Eye – Just a cool shot I took one morning eating an awesome apple for breakfast waiting for my manager to open the truck up. Breakfast at the truck, either before it opens or right before customers arrive after I’ve set up, has become my favorite part of my morning ritual!

Edible Austin (2)

Edible Austin – I took this photo after making some tacos for dinner that I was especially proud of. I distinctly remember that it was a Friday night, one of my first Friday’s in Austin and I was very happy to have a nice dinner and adult beverage for myself after a long but exciting week. After assembling, photographing, and eventually EATING the tacos, I realized how passionate I am about tacos in general… and then it hit me clear as day that I should strongly consider tacos for the truck! I texted Professor John Morgan immediately, and started brainstorming more flavor profiles and combinations, and I’ve been working on that ever since!

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Goofie Selfie – Working on the food truck!

second shift at Arlos (2)

2nd shift @ Arlos – Well, that’s when this was taken! I was a little too shy to ask my co-worker to take my picture on day 1, but I braved up and asked him on the second. :)

We are excited to hear about Savannah’s trip and the plans for her business when she returns in May.

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2016 USA Science and Engineering Festival | April 16 & 17, 2016

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Over the long weekend, DifferenceMaker traveled to Washington DC with a group of students and faculty from the Francis College of Engineering and UMass Lowell for the 2016 USA Science and Engineering Festival. On both Saturday the 16th and Sunday the 17th, over 120,000 people visited the Walter E. Washington Convention Center where the festival was held. Visitors to the DifferenceMaker table were challenged to find a solution to help students cross the Merrimack River over a map of Lowell. With lots of Legos and creativity, we saw some great ideas!

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We were happy to be a part of this great festival and look forward to participating again in 2018!

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2016 Idea Challenge Winners

On Wednesday, April 13th, the 2016 Idea Challenge event was held in Moloney Hall at University Crossing. 10 finalist teams pitched to a panel of judges to compete for $35,000 and many semifinalist teams presented to attendees about their projects in competition for the Fan Favorite award. Thank you to all of our sponsors, judges, participants, and guests! A special thank you to Chancellor Moloney for supporting both the DifferenceMaker program and all of its teams!

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Campus Wide DifferenceMaker

eNable Lowell – $6000: A chapter model to help expand eNABLE – an international volunteer organization that produces 3D printed prosthetic hands for kids around the world.

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Katherine Bilodeau, Senior, Exercise Physiology
Allison Dunbar, Junior, Exercise Physiology
Kreg Kaminski, Senior, Biology
Craig Kelly, Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering
Peter Larsen, Senior, Biology
Shannon Maguire, Sophomore, Business Administration
Alexander Peters, Senior, Mechanical Engineering

Significant Social Impact

Veteran’s QRF – $4500A web platform that will simplify the application process for Veteran service connected disability benefits. 

Henry DeLima, Alumni, Psychology
Terry Fox-Koor, Sophomore, Plastics Engineering
Brian Holt, Junior, Criminal Justice
Ann McGill, Alumni, Adjunct Professor
David Tetreault, Senior, Management

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle

OmniSense – $4500: A specialized device to track the bar path of a barbell when it is in motion. This device will sync to a smartphone so users will have real time access to their lifting data such as bar path and acceleration.

Bolutife Anifowose, Senior, Marketing
Michael Dollogono, Graduate, BioMedical Engineering and Biotechnology
Martin Lee, Senior, MIS

Innovative Technology Solution

Flaire – $4500: A wearable device that connects to a smart phone via Bluetooth. With the simple push of a button, it sends help messages and location information to predetermined emergency contacts.

Rajia Abdelaziz, Senior, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Erin Graceffa, Senior, Electrical Engineering
Raymond Hamilton, Senior, Electrical Engineering

First to Market

TopaCan – $4500A product – Can Ashtray that turns any empty can into a environmental friendly way to dispose of your cigarette butts. 

Justin Lozier, Junior, Mechanical Engineering

Honorable Mention

BASH – $2000: A new waste management system for the city of Les Cayes, Haiti that would improve the quality of water sanitation while creating job opportunities. 

AgMohd AgmohdTahir, Senior, BioChemical Engineering
Michael Doane, Senior, Chemical Engineering and Biology
Andrew Koplove, Senior, Plastics Engineering and Business Administration
Shaquilla Terry, Senior, Public Health

Happy Heart Cart – $2000: A program that provides advanced therapeutic and holistic practices to improve patient stays in adult hospitals through an activity cart that can either be wheeled between rooms, or stationary and present in every room. 

Irtiza Khtar, Graduate, Mechanical Engineering
MaryKate McDonough, Junior, Business Administration
Olivia Vieira, Senior, Nursing

Security Top – $2000: A reusable bottle cap for the purpose of increasing the prevention of contaminates that enter a bottled beverage. 

Cleveland Atkinson, Senior, Plastics Engineering
Joshua Desrochers, Junior, Plastics Engineering
Travis Goodrum, Junior, Plastics Engineering
Tabatha Ferreira, Junior, Plastics Engineering
Craig Frigon, Junior, Plastics Engineering
Malinna Pheng, Junior, Plastics Engineering
Andy Polanco, Senior, Plastics Engineering
SmartEater – $2000: An Automated Diet Monitoring (ADM) System designed to help people to manage their dietary behavior. 

Yang Gao, PhD, Computer Science

WordPro – $2000: A vocabulary builder – Digital flashcards – aimed at high school students learning a second language. 

Ruban Isagolov, Freshman, Business Administration
Yovaldi Venter, Graduate, MSITE

Fan Favorite

Expect – $1000: An application that facilitates communication between referring facilities/emergency medical services and accepting inpatient/emergency units.

David Machado, Computer Science
Emily O’Brien, Nursing, Senior
Amanda Reardon, Nursing

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Also, a special thank you to all of our judges!

– Lorna Boucher, Head of Branding and Strategy, KCG Holdings, Inc.
– Don LaTorre, President, L&G Management Consultants Inc.
– Joan Marchessault, Prinipal and Founder, Strategic Leadership Group
– Rich Miner, General Partner, Google Ventures, Inc.
– Kevin Murphy, City Manager, Lowell
– Brian Rist, President and CEO, The Smart Companies
– Mark Saab, Chief Technology Officer, Vention Medical
– Jack Wilson, President Emeritus UMass System

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2016 Idea Challenge Preliminary Pitch-off | Friday, April 1st

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On Friday, April 1st at 3:30p.m., 26 student teams began pitching their ideas to several panels of alumni judges. Of the 26 teams, 10 became 2016 Idea Challenge finalists, who will compete for $35,000 on April 13th.

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Congratulations to Biodigestor-Aided Solution in Haiti (BASH), eNABLE Lowell, Flaire, Happy Heart Cart, OmniSense, Security Top, SmartEater, TopaCan, Veterans QRF, and WordPro Mobile App!

A huge thank you to the alumni judges — Carly Burson, FAHSS ’05, Rob Busch, John Cadigan, Kennedy College of Sciences ’87, Cheryl Callahan, College of Health Sciences ’82, James Clancy, Francis College of Engineering ’81, Jason Cronin, FAHSS ’94, Lisa Dana, Graduate School of Education ’92 ’01, Janet Dellea, Manning School of Business ’84, Ken Dipoto, Manning School of Business ’78, John Doherty, Graduate School of Education ’83 ’92, Josh Entner, FAHSS ’94, Jonathan Geanakos, Manning School of Business, ’73, Steven Geyster, Francis College of Engineering ’83, Dr. Charles Gobron, Graduate School of Education ’06, Amy Hoey, College of Health Sciences ’88, Michelle Holland, College of Health Sciences ’87, Christopher Ianelli, Kennedy College of Sciences ’89, France Lampron, Kennedy College of Sciences ’90, Brenda Maille, FAHSS ’78, Elkin McCallum, Chris McKenna, Francis College of Engineering ’89, Glenn Morgan, FAHSS ’86, John Norden, FAHSS ’73, Ed Roberts, Graduate School of Education ’89 ’90, Martin Schedlbauer, Kennedy College of Sciences ’88 ’91 ’06, Bhupen Shah, Francis College of Engineering ’92, Andrew Sutherland, Manning School of Business ’94, Jack Swartz, Manning School of Business ’72, Annita Tanini, Manning School of Business ’92 ’00, Anne Veilleux, College of Health Sciences ’85.

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Please join us again on April 13th in University Crossing, Moloney Hall, at 5p.m. to watch and support the 10 finalist teams as they pitch off for $35,000!

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UMass Lowell Hawkathon | Friday, March 26th – Saturday, March 27th

UMass Lowell held its first Hackathon on Friday, March 25th starting at 5p.m. The problem-solving competition lasted until Saturday, March 26th at 7p.m.

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Over 80 participants from several schools, including UMass Lowell, MIT, Simmons, Wellesly, RISD,Olin, WNE, Brandeis, and many more attended and worked in teams to solve problems that matter to them. A number of different companies sponsored the event and networked with students before the event started. 78 participants made it to the end of the competition. Winners of the competition were awarded 6 prizes in 4 different categories. Nearly $10,000 worth of prizes were awarded, $6,000 in cash and $4,000 in additional prizes!

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Most Technically Complex: Robo Gym Metal Cobras
– Team Members: Josh Smolinski, Tyler Alterio, Hannah Gorman, Eric Marcoux, Yuetlong Leung
– Innovation: Gear Pong – Cell phone-controlled beer pong playing robot
– Award: $1000 + $500 Kloudless API Credit

 Biggest Community Impact (1st): Cardanos
– Team Members: Alex Pereira, Shawn Persaud, Shen Gao, Rodrigo Toste Gomes
– Innovation: Multilingual chat platform to increase connectivity across the globe
– Award: $1000 + 4 Dell Venue 10 Tablets

Biggest Community Impact (2nd): Just Cheese
– Team Members: Tony Ventura, Yusuf Yildiz, Samir Khoulani
– Innovation: Text message service to increase usability when dealing with SiS
– Award: $1000 + 3 Months Membership for the Innovation Hub

 Biggest Community Impact (3rd): Awkward Coders
– Team Members: Emma Morrison, Hannah Pastagal
– Innovation: App connecting volunteers to non-profit organizations
– Award: $500

Best Internet of Things Innovation: A Tribe Called Success
– Team Members: Andy MacGregor, Jeff Amari, Iman Nandi, Thomas Hsu
– Innovation: Low-cost text message-controlled door lock to make keys/RFID tags obsolete
– Award: $1000 + 5 Myo Armbands

Most Revolutionary Idea: Mocha Thunder
– Team Members: Michael Bowe, Cullin Lam, Son Nguyen, Bunchhleng Soth
– Innovation: Smart fridge application that knows what’s in your fridge, creates recipes, and notifies you of expiration
– Award: $1500

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Thank you to everyone who supported the first UMass Lowell Hawkathon! From faculty to staff and sponsors, it could not have been as successful without your support. The team looks forward to running another one again soon!

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Savannah Marshall, Founder of Fresh Beets, Travels to Texas!

Savannah Marshall studied community music at UMass Lowell and is a DifferenceMaker student. She won First to Market, a $4,000 prize at the 2014 Idea Challenge. Fresh Beets is a food truck and music venue that unites three discrete areas that the Greater Lowell community values highly into one vehicle of change. By combining food, music and education, Fresh Beets will turn any street corner, stake park, festival, or parking lot in Lowell into a total experience which feeds the mind, body and soul.

Savannah wanted to do research and learn more about the food truck industry so she used some of her winning funds to travel to Texas where there is a vibrant food truck community.  She has spent 6 months learning about the industry, inside and out. She is returning to Lowell in May and will begin implementing her creative business with the skills and knowledge she acquired in Texas.

Here are some photos and captions from her trip thus far:

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Newspaper! This is an article that ran in the Daily Texan, a newspaper put out by the University of Texas at Austin, describing the new truck on campus, featuring yours truly. :)

Inspiration (2)

Inspiration – I would pass by this incredible graffiti on my bike ride home from work every day when I lived at my first apartment. I still pass it sometimes. The sun would hit it in a really special way… and it was like a sign that I was on the right path with my aspirations.

Happy FRYday (2)

Happy FRYday! – We sell vegan burgers and fries primarily at Arlo’s, and one Friday night at the beginning of a shift I made myself some fries and put this picture on social media to get some Austin friends to visit the truck… and make my northern friends a little jealous.

Brainstorming sesh (2)

Brainstorming Sesh – One day I was out for several hours on my bike, enjoying nature, and enjoying some quality “me time.” Though, to be honest, the first few weeks of my trip were loaded with “me time” when I didn’t have too many friends or hours at work yet. I tried to stay positive about this time, and on this afternoon I found myself sprawled out at a Starbucks table I found along the bike trail, with coffee and a snack to fuel my furious pen hand. It made me so pleased to realize that I want to work on my project intrinsically.

My first bike (2)

My First Bike – I’ve been biking every day here in Austin because I don’t have a car. Such a blessing! It’s been really fun to ride everywhere, and while it’s definitely a hassle sometimes and certainly tiring, I love the simplicity, not buying gas, and love the environmental sustainability bikes promote. This bike was lent to me by my friend James! I’ve recently returned it and am on a bike my boyfriend bought on his visit down here. He found it to be cheaper to spend $100 and buy one than to rent one for several days, so I lucked out again with that!

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Arlos Burger – This is a bac’n cheeze burger from Arlos! SO GOOD

Nature (2)

Nature – Just one example of how beautiful it is down here! I found a lot of peace here at Ladybird Lake, a body of water that reminds me a lot of the Merrimack!

Reseach (2)

Research – Got a few books in the mail one morning in February. Made great companions to my cup of coffee. I still carry one or two around in my backpack everyday!

Thank you for sharing Savannah and keep up the great work! We are excited to hear from you when you return in May.

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Idea Challenge Semifinalists

Congratulations to the semifinalists for the 2016 Idea Challenge!

AM (American Muslim) Women Magazine
BankBR
Bio_Catheter
Biodigestor-Aided Solutions in Haiti (BASH)
Biophlox
Design of an efficient solar tablet for educational usage in a Nomadic population
eNABLE Lowell
Engineers for a Sustainable World: Sustainable Smoothie Cart
Expect
EZRemoval
Flaire by invisaWear Technologies
Get Girls Going
Happy Heart Cart
INSTA-SCAB
Kinder Minds
LoreBooks
MuV
OmniSense
Portable IV Fluid Warmers
Quick Response Security
SecureSurf
Security Top
SmartEater
SyncWasher
Teflon-Coated Ear Tubes
Textrade
TopaCan
Veterans QRF
WordPro

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The semifinalist teams will compete on April 1st in the Preliminary Pitch-off! The winners of that competition will move onto the final pitch of the 2016 $35,000 Idea Challenge on April 13th! Both pitch contests will be held in Moloney Hall at University Crossing at 5p.m. Be sure to come out and support the semifinalist and finalist teams!

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Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch

Our final 2016 workshop was held on Thursday, February 25th, in the Makerspace, Falmouth 102. Director of the DifferenceMaker Program, Holly Butler, introduced guest speaker for the night Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development. Professor Tello spoke about the ways in which pitches are developed and presented to judges during the Preliminary Pitch-off and Idea Challenge. He even demonstrated a rocket pitch of his own! Students enjoyed pizza while developing their key pitch points and ideas.

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Don’t forget to check on the Semi-Finalist announcement on Tuesday, March 8th! Catch up on all of our workshops and events on our resource page!

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Workshop 3: Developing Business Models

Our third workshop on developing business models was held on Tuesday, February 23rd from 5:30-7:30p.m. in the Makerspace, Falmouth 102. Holly Butler, Director of the DifferenceMaker program introduced Tom O’Donnell, Director of the Innovation Hub. While students enjoyed pizza, Tom spoke about the factors involved in developing business models and how to conquer potential struggles during the process.

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Stay in the loop and catch up on updates on our resource page! Also, look for the announcement of the Semi-Finalists on Tuesday, March 8th!

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Workshop 2: Assessing Opportunities and Value Propositions

The second workshop of the 2016 series, Assessing Opportunities and Value Propoistions, was held on Tuesday, February 16th from 5:30-7:30p.m. in the Makerspace, Falmouth 102 on North Campus. Holly Butler, Director of the DifferenceMaker program introduced guest speaker Tom O’Donnell, Director of the Innovation Hub. Approximately 30 students attended the event. During the workshop, students enjoyed pizza and soda while working on an interactive activity to explore the opportunities associated with their projects and each project’s value proposition. Also in attendance were two DifferenceMaker faculty fellows, Deb Finch from the Manning School of Business and Stephen Johnston from the Francis College of Engineering. Tom O’Donnell wrapped up the workshop but showcasing two prototypes developed from ideas and pulled the workshop together by emphasizing the importance of knowing a project’s opportunity and what value that project brings to potential customers.

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The workshop materials will be on our resource page within the next few days. Feel free to review these materials if you could not attend or need a refresher!

Please attend our last two workshops next week!

February 23 – Workshop 3: Developing Business Models, Guest Speaker Tom O’Donnell
February 25 – Workshop 4: Delivering Your Rocket Pitch, Guest Speaker Steven Tello

All workshops will be held from 5:30-7:30p.m., in the Makerspace, Falmouth 102 on North Campus. Pizza and soda will be served!

 

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