College Competition Winners 2015

Engineering Prototyping Competition

The Prototyping Competition took place on December 1st, from 3-9 in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus. There were three rounds, including an initial judging round, a public voting round, and the final judging round. The final judges for the competition were Bill Geary, partner at Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., Chad Lafrance, Business Unit Manager at Texas Instruments Inc., Udi Laska, partner at REINS Management, Lynne Samuelson, Senior Scientist at U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center, Ram Sudireddy, Senior Vice President, IC Product Development at International Rectifier, and Marc Thomas, engineer at New Power India.

The winners from the competition are below:

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People’s Choice Award of $250 – EZ Removal
An automated snow removal system for solar panels.
Team Members: Hamid Mohseni (Renewable Solar Engineering, M.Sc.), Soma Hajian (Renewable Solar Engineering, M.Sc.), Norman Hallissey (Renewable Solar Engineering, M.Sc.), and Peyman Poozesh (Mechanical Engineering, Ph.D.).

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Third Place Award of $500 – invisaWear Technologies
A wearable safety device system connected to Bluetooth.
Team Members: Raymond Hamilton (Electrical Engineering) Rajia Abdelaziz (Electrical Engineering/Computer Science), and Erin Graceffa (Electrical Engineering)

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Second Place Award of $750 – SolHydrAir
An individual solar/wind/water turbine powered charger.
Team Members: William Tate (Mechanical Engineering), Sanjeev Mehta (Mechanical Engineering), Marcel Belperron (Mechanical Engineering), and Joseph Suy (Mechanical Engineering)

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First Place Award of $1,000 – Lorebooks
A Fanfiction website where authors can earn scholarships for their work.
Team Member: Alan Foster (Mechanical Engineering)

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Graduate Level Winner of $1,000 – Top-A-Can
A product to help safely dispose of tobacco products.
Team Members: Justin Lozier (Mechanical Engineering), Jonathan Benefiel (Mechanical Engineering), and Wilmer Ventura (Business)



DCU/MSB Innovation Contest

Digital Federal Credit Union and the Manning School of Business partnered with DifferenceMaker once again to put on this year’s Innovation Contest. The event was held on December 2nd, in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus from 6-9PM. Interim Dean of the Manning School of Business welcomed the event’s attendees. The judges for the contest were Jim Regan, President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union, Bill Jacobson, CEO of Workbar, and Leticia Porter, Director of Graduate Programs at the Manning School of Business.

Bank PR

First Place Award of $500 per team member – Jonny and David, Banking BR
A mobile application that allows users to track, manage, and monitor their spending.
Team Members: Jonathan Burgin and David Rocca

Lets Talk Money

Second Place Award of $250 per team member – Let’s Talk Money
A podcast that teaches listeners the basics of managing personal finances.
Team Members: Kreg Kaminski, Kevin Kwiatek, and Peter Larsen



FAHSS Creative Venture Competition

The FAHSS Creative Venture Competition took place on December 4th, at O’Leary Library Auditorium. The judges for the contest were Glenn Morgan, co-owner and a partner at Skyworld Interactive, John J. Ford III, the principal and owner of JF3 Consulting, and Danielle McFadden, the CEO of the Greater Lowell Chamber of Commerce.

Girls Get Going

First Place Award of $5,000 – Get Girls Going
A program to empower teenage girls through mentorship, education, and wellness.
Team Members: Nana Younge (Plastics Engineering) and Matilda Matovu (Political Science and Biology)

Finalists Awards of $250 per team: 

The 104

The 104 Ticket
A low-cost, highly user-friendly subscription ticket service that delivers high quality live classical music access and experiences on a reliable basis.
Team Member: Nicholas Quigley (Music Business)


An online-based service that allows students to trade, rent, and donate textbooks.
Team Members: Brittany Morris (Business, MIS), Christopher Tribu (Business Marketing), Daniel Santos (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science), and Nina Petropoulos (English)

AM Women Magazine

AM Women Magazine
An online lifestyle, fashion magazine for American Muslim women.
Team Members: Ayah Awadaliah (English) and Sherin Aygun (Psychology)

BMX Our Heroin

BMX-Out Heroin
A program that will provide bus/train tickets to use to transport candidates for substance treatment to existing help facilities in the area.
Team Members: Patty Burris (Legal Studies and Writing), Emily Catanzano (Education and Psychology), and Hannah Judkins (Environmental Studies and Gender Studies)

Global Idea Connection

This week DifferenceMaker held its first ever Global Idea Connection! The event was held from 9:00am to 11:00am at DifferenceMaker Central. UMass Lowell students attended the event and Skyped with students from B.V. Bhoomaraddi College of Engineering and Technology (BVB) in Hubli, India.

The Idea Connection was organized by Ashwin Mehta, Lecturer at UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business, and Nitin Kulkarni, an Associate Professor in BVB’s Department of Management Studies. The two universities have a study abroad program where students from the U.S. visit Hubli and vice-versa. The Idea Connection fits hand-in-hand with the study abroad program, of which the idea is to promote a global thought process when approaching innovation and entrepreneurship.

During the Idea Connection, students were encouraged to share their entrepreneurial ideas and share with the other college where they needed help. The goal is to create global and interdisciplinary teams for a pitch contest, or for the students to team up and participate in DifferenceMaker’s 2016 Idea Challenge. Photos from the event are below.

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Student & Alumni Mixer | October 21, 2015

On the evening of Wednesday, October 21st DifferenceMaker held its first Student and Alumni Mixer. Roughly 130 people were in attendance, including about 50 students, and about 80 faculty, staff, and alumni. The event was a way for alumni who fund the program, serve as mentors to student teams, and who have interest in the program to meet and network with students and DifferenceMaker teams.


The evening began with networking and continued with a student panel and an alumni panel. Student teams, Biobubbler, Love of the Game, and Nonspec, answered questions about their experience with the DifferenceMaker program and the current status of their projects. Afterward, alumni took the stage sharing their insight on the success of the program.


Rachel Paquette from DifferenceMaker Team Biobubbler.

The night concluded with the keynote speaker, Ron Insana. Insana is an Analyst and Commentator at CNBC. He enlightened the crowd with his input on the United States’ current economic status and some input on the business world.


Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurhip and Economic Development, and Ron Insana, Senior Analyst and Commentator at CNBC.

Thank you to everyone who attended and to everyone who made the event such a success! To view all of the photos from the event, click here.

Love of the Game Expanding on Campus


Love of the Game won the Significant Social Impact category in our 2015 DifferenceMaker Idea Challenge and was awarded $4,000. Team members include Jessica Dion (Exercise Physiology, class of 2016), Lucas Parsons (Exercise Physiology, class of 2016), Jennifer Pisarik (Exercise Physiology, class of 2017), Marissa Richards (Psychology, Class of 2018), Tyler Richards (Psychology, class of 2018), Rachel Silk (Junior, Business Marketing and Entrepreneurship, class of 2016), Matthew Short (Exercise Physiology, class of 2019), and Daniel Schmith (Freshman, Business Finance and Entrepreneurship, class of 2018).

Since winning in the Idea Challenge, this team has been hard at work at DifferenceMaker Central and the community to reach their goal of becoming a nonprofit organization that partners with local universities to teach sports to individuals with developmental disabilities. Since winning funding in the Idea Challenge, they have expanded their team and developed a presence on campus, planned and held their first event, pitched at Convocation and won $1,000, connected with local schools and similar nonprofits, and are currently working on establishing a Love of the Game club on the UML campus. They have also been fortunate enough to connect with a mentor, Tammy Concannon who works at Corporate Technologies and has helped the team develop their finances and operations.

The group held their first event on Sunday October 18th at the UMass Lowell Campus Recreation Center on East Campus. Roughly 15 local students with developmental disabilities attended the event and the UMass Lowell Men’s Varsity Basketball team led them through basketball training. The event was educational, fun, and rewarding for all in attendance. Love of the Game plans to expand their presence on campus to hold several events a semester while they apply to become a nonprofit organization. Below are photos from their first event.

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You can learn more about Love of the Game by watching this video from the Lowell Sun. If you want to help Love of the Game reach their monetary goals, you can donate through Hawk Hatch by clicking here. Anything helps! 

If you want help the team by volunteering or mentoring, you can email them at

Fall 2015 Kick Off Event

Last week on Wednesday, September 30th we kicked of the entrepreneurship calendar for the fall 2015 semester! We held our Fall 2015 Kick Off event in the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center Atrium on North Campus. Roughly 100 people, ranging from students, faculty, staff, and alumni, attended the event which took place from 6:00pm to 8:30pm.


DifferenceMaker Co-op employees, Thalia and Paul, welcoming guests to the Saab ETIC Atrium.

Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and DifferenceMaker Founder, started the event by introducing the program’s mission. Following his introduction were three representatives from each of the three DifferenceMaker College Competitions. Stephen Johnston, Assistant Professor of Plastics Engineering and DifferenceMaker Faculty Fellow, introduced the Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition. Next, Glenn Morgan, Co-owner of SkyWorld Interactive and member of the UMass Lowell class of 1986, announced the Fine Arts Humanities and Social Sciences’ Creative Venture Competition. Lastly, Scott Latham, Acting Dean and Associate Professor of the Manning School of Business, announced the Digital Federal Credit Union Innovation Contest.


Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and DifferenceMaker Founder, welcoming attendees.

Following the College Competitions announcement, Holly Butler, the DifferenceMaker Program Director, led a brainstorming activity where students had the opportunity to brainstorm solutions to big problems surrounding topics such as banking, social responsibility, healthcare, and more. Students had the opportunity to network and meet potential team members and mentors.


Student attendees brainstorming about solutions to problems regarding social responsibility.

To view photos from the event, click here. To view a full list of DifferenceMaker events this semester, click here. Thank you to everyone who participated in the Fall 2015 Kick Off event. We look forward to seeing more of you this semester!


Health Sciences & Engineering Mixer

On Monday, September 28th we held our first ever Health Sciences & Engineering Mixer. The College of Health Sciences and The College of Engineering partnered for this event where honors students were invited to participate in a DifferenceMaker ideation activity with staff and faculty fellows.


Tom O’Donnell, Management and Entrepreneurship Professor and Director of UML’s new Innovation Hub, working with student teams.

Students formed groups and used Tinker Toys to create a model vehicle to transport sick patients for miles on rough terrain to the nearest hospital in a hypothetical situation. Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurhip and Economic Development and Founder of the DifferenceMaker Program, tested the vehicles on a steep ramp around the room and building.

The goal for the event was to educate students from the two colleges about the DifferenceMaker Program, problem solving, and about the advantage of forming an interdisciplinary team for entrepreneurial ventures. To learn about our other fall 2015 events, please click here. To view photos from the Mixer, you can click here.



Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurhip and Economic Development and Founder of the DifferenceMaker Program, testing out student teams’ model vehicles.


Reebok’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at UMass Lowell


Kathleen Tullie, the Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Reebok is coming to UMass Lowell! She is giving a talk on socially responsible brands this Thursday, September 17th at 11:00am in O’Leary 222. This event will serve as a terrific opportunity for students to learn from a member of Reebok’s leadership team while also learning about social responsibility among businesses and corporations. All students are welcome to attend!!

Demo Day 2015

Last night, DifferenceMaker® held its first, ever Demo Day at UMass Lowell’s newest addition, the Innovation Hub on Canal Street downtown Lowell. Demo Day was the final part of a four-week boot camp in which several of our 2015 Idea Challenge finalist teams participated. During the boot camp, teams delved more into their business plan and reached out to potential customers in the community to learn more about opportunities and solutions surrounding their idea. The goal of the boot camp was to accelerate finalist teams’ progress in developing their ventures.


DifferenceMaker Co-op student, Paul, welcomed guests into the Innovation Hub for the event.

Demo Day, which took place last night, was an opportunity for the teams that participated in the boot camp, along with other finalist teams, to showcase their progress and to connect with mentors. Attendees included Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor for Entrepreneurship and Economic, Jacqueline Moloney, Executive Vice Chancellor, UMass Lowell alumni, and local business professionals and owners.


Dan and Jennie shared their DM project, Love of the Game, which is a nonprofit program where students with cognitive disabilities have the opportunity to play sports at UML facilities and with UML equipment, with the help of UML athletes.


Anthony and Mark share their DM project, Playable Therapy, which is a product where participants can complete their physical therapy routines through a video game that tracks their movement for the use of their doctor.

The event included brief presentation by the six teams in attendance, a question and answer session for each team, a poster session where attendees could learn more about the teams, and a networking portion where alumni and local business professionals connected with the teams to potentially mentor them.

To learn more about the DM Mentor Program or to get involved, click here.

Global Innovation & Entrepreneurship Summer 2015

All students

All of the students, faculty, and staff who participated in the immersion program.

Students from India, Thailand, China, Japan, and Guyana just visited UMass Lowell to take part in a two-week immersion experience with UMass Lowell students, faculty, staff, and even some of our DifferenceMaker teams. The students took part in an accelerated course called Global Entrepreneurship and Innovation within the Manning School of Business taught by Ashwin Mehta and Deborah Finch

The immersion experience focused on innovation and entrepreneurship, which fits right in with DifferenceMaker’s goal of helping students think innovatively in everyday life. Holly Butler, the director of the DifferenceMaker program, led a two-hour session on innovation and creativity last Thursday, June 18th. She spent time lecturing on the definition of each topic and differentiating the two.


A team, including a DifferenceMaker winning team (Playable Therapy), preparing their car model.

Afterward, the students spent about 45 minutes building a model of a car that could withstand a hypothetical situation of dirt roads and rough travel in order to bring residents of a rural town to a hospital far away. The students were given tinker toys and had to find team members with other tinker toys in order to create an innovative vehicle.

After teams made a model of the innovative vehicle with the tinker toys, they were asked to explain their vehicle in front of the class and test it by rolling it down a steep board of wood meant to mimic the rough terrain. The teams succeeded in matching their creativity and innovative skills to make functional and unique vehicles that all passed the test!

You can check out videos of the teams’ innovative cars by clicking here!


Holly, Director of the DifferenceMaker program, with some of the international students.

2015 Idea Challenge Winners

On Wednesday, April 15th, the 2015 Idea Challenge event was held in Moloney Hall at University Crossing. Ten teams pitched to win a portion of $35,000 and preliminary teams who didn’t make it to finals stood by their posters to share their ideas for the chance to win Fan Favorite. Thank you to all of our sponsors, judges, participants, and attendees. Below are the 2015 Idea Challenge winners!


Campus-Wide DifferenceMaker

Hydraulic Walker – $5,000: A walker that utilizes hydraulics, allowing for the legs to be quickly adjusted, so that it can be used on stairs.

Hydraulic Walker

  • Ryan Andrews, Graduate, Physical Therapy
  • Peter Klausmeyer, Graduate, Physical Therapy

Significant Social Impact

1st Place – $4,000
Love of the Game: A community outreach program aiming to integrate universities and people with physical and cognitive disabilities through sports.

Love of the Game

  • Jessica Dion, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Dylan Doucette, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Lucas Parsons, Junior, Exercise Physiology
  • Rachel Silk, Junior, Business, Marketing
  • Daniel Schmith, Freshman, Business, Entrepreneurship

2nd Place – $2,500
Buddies without Borders: A project aimed to bridge the gap between domestic students and international students starting with an in-person pair up then followed by a comprehensive website that allows members to define their profiles and micro-blog by text, photo, and video sharing.

Buddies Without Borders

  • Tugba Arsava, Graduate, Community Social Psychology
  • Burhan Colak, Graduate, Civil Engineering
  • Katherine Cox, Freshman, Psychology
  • Madeline Ormazza, Sophomore, Business
  • Shashank Raghuveer, Graduate, Computer Science
  • Fang Zhang, Graduate, Chemistry

Contribution to a Healthier Lifestyle

1st Place – $4,000
Playable Therapy: A platform of exercises and games, that, with Microsoft Kinect, will allow for motion tracking of a physical therapy (PT) patient during their exercise routine at home.

Playable Therapy

  • Suhaib Alfageeh, Junior, Computer Science
  • Lucas Brown, Junior, English and Math
  • Chelsea Hayes, Junior, Business
  • Damir Ismagilove, Junior, Math
  • Anthony Pitaro, Senior, Exercise Physiology
  • Mark Mcgrotty, Junior, Computer Science

2nd Place – $2,500

Solar Electric Vehicles: A series of low speedy and high efficiency commuter vehicles that utilize hub motor technology to allow people to travel using purelthe energy of the sun.

Solar Electric Vehicles

  • Chukwuma Azubuine, Graduate, Entrepreneurship
  • Richard Asirifi, Junior, Electrical Engineering
  • Anas Dahany, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • David Jenkins, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Oliver Kayego, Sophomore, Electrical Engineering
  • Chris Leger, Senior, Electrical Engineering
  • Jared Mrvos, Sophomore, Computer Engineering
  • Charles Reid, Senior, Mechanical Engineering
  • Kenneth Sanders, Freshman, Computer Science
  • Mukhammaddin Zinaddinov, Freshman, Electrical Engineering

Innovative Technology Solution

1st Place – $4,000
Masela Dentures: A fully 3D printable denture system as an alternative solution to expensive dentures manufactured using traditional casting and milling methods.

Masela Dentures

  • Cormac Hondros-McCarthy, Senior, Plastics Engineering
  • Casey McRae, Senior, Plastics Engineering

2nd Place – $2,500
KEnDERS Athletic Body Armor:A novel design for sports equipment using shear-thickening fluids.


  • Elizabeth Kender, Junior Plastics Engineering
  • Laura Kender, Junior, Plastics Engineering
  • Stephen Kender, Freshman, Mechanical Engineering

First to Market

1st Place – $4,000
Mayday: A wearable device connected via Bluetooth technology to a mobile phone, that, when activated, sends emergency alert signals to a list of emergency contacts.


  • Alessandro Agnello, PhD, Computer Science
  • Cibhi SelVen, Graduate, MBA

2nd Place – $2,500
Wordbuilder: An interactive toy designed to help children build the foundations of reading at an early age.

Word Builder

  • Sergio Coronado, Junior, Computer Engineering
  • Ian Copithorne, Junior, Computer Engineering

Honorable Mention – $1,500
Low Income Community Homework Center: A homework center opened in Lawrence, MA to help high school students graduate and move onto college.

Homework Center

  • Arnaldo Rivera, Senior, Psychology
  • Hector Rivera, Senior, Psychology

Fan Favorite – $2,500
Indoor Hydroponic System: A hydroponic garden that is equipped with an environment monitoring system that ensures optimal growing conditions for plants and requires little to no maintenance.

Indoor Hydroponic

  • Rapheeporn Aungaphinant, Graduate, MBA
  • Katherine Cain, Graduate, MBA
  • Tucker Holladay, Graduate, MBA
  • Shu-Wei Hsu, Graduate, MBA
  • Alima Shamuratova, Graduate, MBA