Texas A&M Students Can Compete To Help Fight COVID-19
The Texas A&M University College of Engineering has initiated the Aggies Against COVID-19 Virtual Competition, inviting students of all majors to help identify and solve problems related to the pandemic.
This virtual student design competition encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and is open to all Texas A&M students.
“What better way to address some of the problems than challenging innovative, enthusiastic, and passionate students to find imaginative solutions to problems this virus has caused?,” said Director of Engineering Entrepreneurship Rodney Boehm. “The goal is to generate as many new ideas as possible. Wouldn’t it be great if one of these ideas could ease the suffering of even one person? We have the opportunity to change peoples’ lives.”
Individuals and teams can compete and must register by Friday, April 3.
Competitors will choose from pressing problems that have been identified by those fighting COVID-19, organizers said. Then they will determine what type of solution to develop based on the skills of team members.
Once the top five projects have been determined by competition organizers, those teams will have the opportunity to share their solutions with more than 100 companies by participating in the annual Engineering Project Showcase , which will be held virtually.
“Beyond that, our goal is to promote the solutions developed by our students with the broader community of health professionals and industry,” said Texas A&M Executive Director of Industry and Nonprofit Partnerships Magda Lagoudas. “We will enable students to identify collaborators and explore commercializing these products to support our country and the world during this critical time.”
The idea for the competition came from Joshua VanCura, a Texas A&M mechanical engineering graduate student, who said over the last few weeks he’d become increasingly disheartened by the continuing growth of the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of preparation from many governments around the world.
“I started to brainstorm ways that I could begin to help others,” he said. “I was looking into designing new masks, face shields and ventilators to meet the growing demand, creating apps to help connect at-risk individuals with people that could help them with errands, etc.”
At some point, VanCura said, he realized there are likely hundreds of other Aggies who feel called to help.
“I remembered events like Aggies Invent and the Engineering Project Showcase,” VanCura said. “I had seen the incredible ideas that students had come up with in short time frames and decided that I wanted to try and focus that same energy into a COVID-19 design competition.”
A Zoom informational session was held on March 31, a recording of which can be viewed on the College of Engineering website as well as full details on the competition and contact information for those who have questions.