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Media Advisory 15-009

Innovators come to Capitol Hill to share creative solutions to real-world problems

Meet Community College Innovation Challenge winners from across the country

students working on computer

CCIC winning teams will be in Washington, D.C., for NSF and AACC's Innovation Boot Camp, June 15-18.
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June 15, 2015

Media are invited to Capitol Hill on June 17 to to meet the 10 winning teams of the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). Live demonstrations will give attendees a chance to explore and interact with their creative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based approaches to addressing real-world problems, such as water contamination, emergency response and energy needs.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) earlier this year invited students at community colleges from across the country to participate in the CCIC. Specifically, they were called to identify perplexing problems and propose innovative, STEM-based solutions in potentially impactful areas such as big data, infrastructure security, sustainability and broadening participation in STEM. Winning teams offered a broad range of innovative projects and detailed creative approaches with tremendous potential for solving some of America's most daunting challenges.

This week, the competition's top teams have come to Washington, D.C., to participate in a three-day innovation "boot camp" sponsored by NSF and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The event on June 17 will be a highlight to their visit to the nation's capital; they will display their innovations and interact with visitors.

Please join host U.S. Representative David Price, other members of Congress, NSF and AACC principals and staff for a reception on the Hill as the students showcase their projects.


Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC) Display on Capitol Hill


Wednesday, June 17, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. EST


Rayburn Gold Room, 2168 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C.


Spotlighting researchers from community colleges across the country--*see team list below

Journalists interested in attending, please write to by June 17 at noon to reserve a spot.

*Winning teams displaying their innovative projects follow:

Amphibian research drives broad STEM participation, Amphibian Pathogens, Inver Hills Community College (Minn.)
A test that observes DNA under UV light to identify the presence of a devastating parasitic fungus in amphibians.

Biosensor for coliphage, aka "Betadataquantatada", IvyTech Biotech, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana (Ind.)
A hand-held, lay person-operated biosensor that flags contamination via a color change in a water sample.

Reliable urban food production in changing climate,The FUE - food in urban environments, Tulsa Community College (Okla.)
A small-scale replica of an experimental rooftop garden that tests the effects of different weather conditions on food production in urban environments.

Mobile medical disaster relief dispensation unit, The Red Foxes, Red Rocks Community College (Colo.)
Secure portable methods of distributing and tracking medicine in disaster relief scenarios.

Optical characterization of lagoon pollutants, Team Lagoon, Indian River State College (Fla.)
Optical methods on manned and unmanned systems to monitor water quality of the Indian River Lagoon with an estimated economic value of $3.7 billion.

Engineering algae to improve biofuel production, Innovators of the Bighorns, Sheridan Community College (Wyo.)
A display with a short, interactive, animated film that shows all aspects of the process of using food crops such as algae as fuel.

Real-time accident detection on Michigan highways, HFC Future Engineers, Henry Ford College (Mich.)
A prototype of road networks that detect accidents in real-time and immediately dispatch authorities.

Environmentally friendly pigment synthesis, Snow College Innovation Team, Snow College (UT)
Live demos on how to make pigments that act as antennas in a plant cell to redirect and store solar energy, and to see pigments at work in a solar cell to power a model home

Water Health as assessed by surveying protists, PVCC Water Health, Piedmont Virginia Community College (Va.)
A demo of the Open Science Framework, a free, online tool to promote the collaboration and sharing of data on critical issues such as water health.

College High School aquaponic mentoring partnership, Tulsa CHAMP, Tulsa Community College (Okla.)
A hands-on demo of a "living laboratory" designed to teach about the multi-disciplinary field of aquaponics.

Background on the CCIC

Today more than 40 percent of U.S. undergraduates are enrolled at community colleges. Groups underrepresented in STEM as well as first-generation college students make up a significant portion of students on community college campuses. NSF-funded projects at community colleges support STEM students transferring to four-year colleges, as well as receiving education and training to become part of the high-tech workforce--in fields as diverse as biotechnology, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

For full details on the contest, visit the challenge website to see eligibility criteria, entry guidelines, timeline and prize information. You can also watch the 20 semifinalist videos from which the 10 winners were chosen.

This challenge furthers NSF's mission by enabling students to discover and demonstrate their ingenuity to use science to make a difference in the world and transfer knowledge into action. It also furthers the benefit of incorporating research into the traditional teaching mission of the community college. Get updates on Twitter: #CCIChallenge.


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311,
John Stevens, Snow College,
Daniel Mediate, Sheridan College,,
Heidi Stringham, Snow College,,
Gary J. Erwin, Henry Ford College, (313) 317-6800,
Judy Jacobs, Inver Hills Community College,,
Kim Rein, Red Rocks Community College,, (303) 914-6260,,
Michelle Abaldo, Indian River State College, (772) 462-7265,
Nicole Burgin, Tulsa Community College,, (918) 595-7966,
Leigh-Anne M. Lawrence, Piedmont Virginia Community College, (434) 961-6574,
Ericka McCauley, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, (713) 859-0057,

Program Contacts
Susan M. Mason, NSF, (703) 292-7748,
Kimberly Nelson, NSF, (703) 292-5052,

Related Websites
Community College Innovation Challenge Website:
Community College Innovation Challenge video:

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2017, its budget is $7.5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 48,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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