DifferenceMaker Demo Day

On July 13, from 5:00 – 8:00 p.m., DifferenceMaker hosted Demo Day. At this event, the 2022 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge Finalists presented their updated and improved ideas since advancing in the 2022 DifferenceMaker Summer Boot Camp.

Holly Lalos, Director, Rist DifferenceMaker Institute, opened up the event for the evening. To start, she presented to the audience a brief overview of the DifferenceMaker program. DifferenceMaker is a campus-wide program that helps students define problems and create real-life solutions to those problems.

Holly Lalos explains to the audience about the DifferenceMaker program.

One of the ways this is done is during the DifferenceMaker Summer Boot Camp. The objective of the Boot Camp is to increase teams’ understanding of their customer segments, business model, revenue streams, and more. Teams are also encouraged to develop a one-year project plan with milestones and tasks for utilizing their winning funds.

Holly thanked everyone who makes DifferenceMaker possible – faculty fellows, co-op students, mentors, and advisors. The Boot Camp Advisors this year were:

Then, thank you’s for the Boot Camp Guest Speakers were also made:

Demo Day helps teams advance their progress, gain critical feedback, and network with mentors. To begin the event, David Vatalaro, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow, discussed mentor matching steps. Surveys for both mentors and teams were sent out shortly after the event. From the survey results, teams will be paired to the appropriate mentor(s) based on their backgrounds, skills, and interests.

David Vatalaro, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow, explained the steps needed to be made for the mentor matching process.

Dave Vatalaro, Rist DifferenceMaker Fellow presenting the Mentor Program to the audience.
Dave Vatalaro sharing to the audience the social media platforms of DifferenceMaker.

Next, the event opened to student team presentations! Each team had 5 minutes to present, and 5 minutes for audience Q&A. They pitched about their business plans, customer discovery findings, value propositions, and benefit that their products would have for society. Potential mentors asked valuable questions to the teams throughout the evening.

Brandon Conceicao from Amara eager to answer an audience member’s question.
Mark Elman and Steven Evangelos from PEAK Performance sharing to the audience about their idea.
Ariel Pena-Martinez and Grissel Cervantes-Jaramillo from ThermoEXA presenting their data from their new and improved idea at Demo Day.

The teams that presented were:



Minds with Purpose

PEAK Performance



UMass Lowell Japanese Student Association

Vital Sensing Patch

Dave Vatalaro sharing the teams that would present for Demo Day.

After the presentations, students from the teams had the opportunity to network with the audience to help further their idea and receive guidance.

Mina Lam from UMass Lowell Japanese Student Association sharing about the organization to Ariel Shramko, 2021 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge finalist and founder of Terminus.
Alyssa Kennedy and Abigail White from Hoppers, networking with Holly Lalos and CEO and Co-Founder of invisaWear, Rajia Abdelaziz.
Mark Elman and Steven Evangelos from PEAK Performance discussing their idea with a potential mentor.
Ethan Block from Tendren having a conversation with a student.

Thank you to everyone that attended Demo Day and supported the students throughout the night!

Here is a video of the 2022 DifferenceMaker Demo Day event.

Demo Day slide featuring team picture from last Boot Camp session.