2018 $50K Idea Challenge

This past Wednesday, April 25th, our 6th Annual $50,000 Idea Challenge was held in Moloney Hall, University Crossing, from 5-8:30PM. There was a great turnout, with six  teams competing for Fan Favorite, and ten teams battling for a piece of the $50,000. Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to Chancellor Moloney for speaking and always supporting DifferenceMaker.

The winning teams and their categories include:

Fan Favorite – $1,000


“T.A.P, an acronym for teach-a-pal is a concept to address the insufficiency of exams by introducing and utilizing a peer to peer study solution in hopes of increasing performance.” Bernard Tay, Senior, Marketing & Entrepreneurship; Cassandra Francois, Junior, Art; Hilton Carboo, Junior, Computer Science.

Significant Social Impact – $4,500


“A peer learning platform that aims to bring classmates together in order to make friends and utilize each other as tools for academic success.” Nicholas Norcross, Junior, Business Information Systems & Kevin Seery, Sophomore, Supply Chain and Operations Management.

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle – $4,500

Lead-Ex Filter

“This project aims to develop an effective lead removal device for water distribution system.” Lewis Rowles, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering, & Arsalan Khalid, PhD, Civil and Environmental Engineering.

First to Market – $4,500

Mass Heartbeat

“Mass HeartBeat is an organization dedicated to bringing affordable and convenient heart screening services to students directly at their school, camp, or university. Mass HeartBeat uses state-of-the-art ECG technology to screen students for undetected cardiac conditions that could lead to sudden cardiac death if left untreated.” Jack Nealon, Graduate, Law; Shane Lavoie, Graduate, Masters of Business Administration; Pat Cusanelli, Alumni, Medical Device.

Innovative Technology Solution – $4,500


“A pre-programed small-footprint robotic arm is able to spray exact doses of pesticide in complex farming environment such as apple, plum, cherry (branched tree).” Thanh Hoang, Senior, EE, & Trung Nguyen, Senior, Mechanical Engineering.

2018 Campus-wide DifferenceMaker – $6,000

Iron Legion

 “Our objective is to develop an autonomous drone network designed to carry out delivery service, search and rescue, and infrastructure security operations.” George Le, Senior, Computer Science, & Peter Maitland, Junior, Homeland Security/Criminal Justice.

Five other teams received Honorable Mentions and a prize of $2,000!

Honorable Mentions- $2,000


“The project deals with the issue of spent coffee grounds getting disposed in landfills without true utilization of what the coffee bean has to offer. It also addresses the energy crisis issue by providing alternative sources of fuel from materials considered to be waste from the past three centuries.” Anikitha Sushma, Graduate, Energy Engineering, & Abhiram Authipudi, Graduate, Energy Engineering.

SASS- Solo Adventurer Safety System

“Providing reliable GPS tracking and communication with a timed checking system to make sure the adventurer is always safe.” Cameron Edmonds, Senior, Electrical UG- Robotics Minor; Matthew Pelland, Sophomore, Computer Science/Math; Jackson Seal, Sophomore, Computer Science/Robotics; Curtis Sargent, Marketing.


“A device that could be attached to any door in order to help people easily and safely access their homes key-free.” Edwin Taveras, Senior, Electrical Engineering; Michael Silva, Senior, Electrical Engineering; & Robinson Arias Gonzalez, Senior, Electrical Engineering.


“The focus of this project is to create an app for people with dietary restrictions whether it be health, cultural or religious find restaurants near them that suit their needs.” Sebastian Pascal, Freshman, Business; Isaac Brown, Graduate, Computer Science; Alana Zheng, Freshman, Business; Joseph Ayoka, Freshman, Computer Science.

Personalized Learning

“This project is focused around utilizing students personality traits and learning styles to match them with the most optimal professor for each of their classes based off of their teaching style.” Daniel Falcone, Junior, Business Administration; Jennifer Lee, Junior, World Languages; KavyaKumar Vallurupalli, Graduate, Computer Science; ManojReddy Dumpa, Graduate, Computer Science.

A huge thank you to all of our judges. We appreciate all your hard work!

  • Mary Burns ‘84​, College of FAHSS, Splash Media Group Boston, LLC​
  • Cindy Conde ‘87 ‘91​, Francis College of Engineering,​ CEO,​ CondeCo
  • Janis Raguin ‘92, ​College of Education, Educator
  • Mark Saab, ’81, ’13 (H)​, Francis College of Engineering, CTO, Vention Medical.

Also, a big thank you to our sponsors!

  • Circle Health​
  • Jim Dandeneau​ ​
  • Joseph C. Day Chancellors’ Fund ​
  • Digital Federal Credit Union​
  • Foley and Lardner, LLP​ ​
  • Joseph P. Donahue Charitable Foundation​ ​
  • Nancy L. Donahue Endowed Fellowship in Values and Ethics​  ​
  • Enterprise Bank​ ​
  • Middlesex Community College ​
  • Mitchell Kertzman Endowed Discretionary Fund
  • Robert J. Manning Endowment Fund (Robert and Donna Manning)​ ​
  • Francis L. McKone Chancellor’s Discretionary Endowment Fund​
  • Glenn Morgan, Class of 1986, College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences​ ​
  • Pernick Chancellor’s Endowed Discretionary Fund​ ​
  • James Regan, Class of 1988, Manning School of Business​ ​
  • Spinola Angel Investment Fund for Entrepreneurship​ ​
  • Jack Wilson Endowed Presidential Entrepreneurship Award Fund​