Email Print Share
Community College Innovation Challenge

What You Get

Finalist teams:

  • Meet and interact with entrepreneurs and experts in business planning, stakeholder engagement, communication and marketplace dynamics.
  • Showcase projects and schools at an invitation-only event on Capitol Hill. Meet and interact with elected representatives, legislative professionals and other dignitaries.
  • Gain life-changing business acumen and communication skills.
  • Network with other community college innovators, make new friends and share ideas.
  • Engage directly with NSF and AACC.
  • Build students' resumes.
  • Gain recognition for faculty mentors and their college.
  • Compete for cash awards (for students and faculty mentors) in a friendly, yet competitive, environment.
  • Offer input and explore funding opportunities through separate faculty mentor sessions with NSF and AACC leadership.

Bill Petros Photography

What You Win

NSF and AACC awards:

  • A plaque for all finalist schools.
  • A $500 honorarium for all finalist faculty mentors.
  • Full travel support for all finalist attendees.
  • Cash awards to first and second-place teams (students only).
  • First place: $1,500.
  • Second place: $1,200.

What Past Participants Say

"Thank you is not enough! Students' lives have been impacted and transformed this week. You have provided tools and techniques they will use in future career paths. As a faculty mentor, it was a great honor to watch our students shine. Thank you for recognizing the importance of community colleges in our nation and the need to support innovative curriculum and opportunities."

"The boot camp was a great learning experience. I am determined to become an entrepreneur now. It was something that always caught my attention but that after this boot camp, I feel equipped with the confidence to pursue this dream. The most important thing was realizing that it is very possible for me to be an engineer and own a business that I'm passionate about."

"Going to Capitol Hill was an honor. I really enjoyed learning communication skills. I will definitely use the skills that were taught every day from now on! Also, the connections I made... priceless!"

"I can't tell you how grateful I am for this valuable experience for both my students and for me. The kindness and professionalism of everyone involved will never be forgotten. Thank you."

"It was a very good experience for me, since I haven't presented in front of anyone. I used to skip classes when there was a presentation because I'm a little bit shy and I get stressed. I learned ways to decrease stress."

"The final presentations (I choked!) gave me the great opportunity to experience where I need to focus my efforts next time. I will definitely prepare much more thoroughly the exact wording of the concepts that I communicate as well as the structure, pacing and dramatic elements."

Next: How to Enter

Return to top

Community College Innovation Challenge
National Science Foundation
2415 Eisenhower Avenue
Alexandria, Virginia 22314 USA

Follow #CCIChallenge

Who: Teams of 3-5 community college students with an interest in STEM, innovation and entrepreneurism; a faculty mentor and an industry partner.

When: Submit Oct. 18, 2017 - Feb. 14, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. EST.

Required Innovation Boot Camp for finalists and their faculty mentor, Alexandria, Va., June 11-14, 2018.


Why: To foster development of crucial innovation and entrepreneurial skills, gain confidence, network, win prizes and make real-world change.