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Media Advisory 16-011

Community college students bring natural resource creativity to Capitol Hill

Ten teams offer innovative STEM solutions to problems at the nexus of food, energy and water

An NSF-funded research team uses industrial waste to lessen the acidity of soil at polluted sites.

An NSF-funded research team uses industrial waste to lessen the acidity of soil at polluted sites.

June 16, 2016

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Come to Capitol Hill to meet the 10 finalist teams of the second annual Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). Explore and interact with their creative science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based approaches to addressing real-world problems at the nexus of food, energy and water.

In Oct. 2015, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) invited student researchers at community colleges across the country to enter the CCIC. Specifically, they were asked to identify perplexing problems at the nexus of energy, food and water, and propose innovative, STEM-based solutions. Teams offered a broad range of innovative projects and detailed creative approaches with tremendous potential for positive impact.

Next week, the 10 best teams will come to Washington, D.C. to participate in a four-day innovation bootcamp, sponsored by NSF and the AACC. A highlight of their visit will be an event on Capitol Hill on June 22 where they will display their innovations.

In addition to the final, technical judging, there will be an opportunity to choose a team to win the People's Choice Award. How? Attend the reception, visit finalists' displays and cast a ballot onsite. You can get a head start by viewing the finalist videos online.


Community Challenge Innovation Challenge (CCIC) Display on Capitol Hill


Wednesday, June 22, 5 - 7:30 p.m. EST


902 Hart Senate Office Building,
Washington, DC


Spotlighting researchers from community colleges across the country

Finalist teams displaying their innovative projects:

Team Name - Institution (State)Project Title
Red Rocks Community College, Colo. Cooling Tower Blowdown Water Conservation
Perimeter College at Georgia State University, Ga. Autonomous Technology Lake Algae Skimmer
Henry Ford College, Mich. The Food Innovators
Normandale Community College, Minn. Water and Energy Hydrokinetic Turbine Project
Forsyth Technical Community College, N.C. Energy Efficient Solar Greenhouse Utilizing Nanotechnology
Northeast Community College, Neb. Crop-It
Tulsa Community College, Okla. AMCLAM: Automated Microfluid Colorimetry Lab for Aquaponic Monitoring
Bucks County Community College, Pa. The Wind Catcher Max
Virginia Western Community College, Va. Virginia Weston Apple STEMs
Northwest Wisconsin Technical College, Wis. Junk Yard Generator


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 those receiving education and training to become part of the high-tech workforce in diverse fields such as biotechnology, agriculture, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing.

For details on the contest, full eligibility criteria, entry guidelines, timeline and prize information, visit the challenge website.

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 community colleges. Get updates on Twitter: #CCIChallenge.


Media Contacts
Lisa-Joy Zgorski, NSF, (703) 292-8311, email:
Gary Erwin, Henry Ford College, (313) 317-6800, email:
Kim Rein, Red Rocks Community College, (303) 914-6260, email:
Jim Curry, Northeast Community College, (202) 750-2471, email:
Marta Kaufmann, Bucks Community College, (336) 408-5015, email:
Casey Fryda, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, (920) 498-6288, email:
Martha Murphy, Forsyth Technical Community College, (336) 408-5015, email:
Steven Geller, Normandale Community College, (952) 358-8954, email:
Josh Meyer, Virginia Western Community College, (540) 857-6714, email:
Rebecca Rakoczy, Perimeter College at Georgia State University, (678) 891-2691, email:

Program Contacts
Kimberly Nelson, NSF, (703) 292-5052, email:

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) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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