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!

Goofie Selfie (2)

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.

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


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!

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!


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.


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

invisaWear – $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


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

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, invisaWear, 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!