Community College Innovation Challenge invites community college students to create STEM solutions to real-world challenges that benefit society
A Virtual Boot Camp Experience will allow students to share their ideas with experts and practitioners in the field
Washington, DC – Today, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF), has launched its platform to advance student innovation and impact in STEM through the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC). The competition seeks to foster the development of students’ innovation, communication, and entrepreneurial skills. It also enables students to discover and demonstrate their capacity to use STEM to make a difference in the world and translate that knowledge into action.
The CCIC is a national competition where community college student teams, working with a supportive faculty or administrator mentor, use science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to innovate solutions to real-world problems.
Teams of two to four students are invited to submit proposals—and up to 10 finalist teams will be selected to develop their proposal from a unique, game-changing idea into a Shark Tank-style pitch for a Virtual Innovation Boot Camp where they will compete for cash awards.
“CCIC truly showcases the innovation that is happening at the nation’s community colleges,” said Walter G. Bumphus, president and CEO of AACC. “These students bring to life the next level of cutting-edge thinking and we are proud to partner with NSF to provide this opportunity to students and to advance their initiatives at a national level.”
Given the rapid pace of technological advancement and the requirement of new skills sets to prepare for the future of work, students of today must be prepared to compete in an increasingly competitive and global market as well as engage in a virtual workplace.
While last year’s competition was canceled due to COVID-19, AACC has reconceptualized this year’s competition as a virtual event.
The Virtual Innovation Boot Camp provides professional development, mentoring, and coaching designed to build strategic communication and entrepreneurial skills to help students advance their innovations in both the private and public sectors. Students participate in sessions on commercializing ideas, using technology for social applications, communicating with stakeholders, refining a pitch, and more. The Virtual Innovation Boot Camp culminates in a virtual poster session and engagement opportunity with STEM leaders and Congressional stakeholders, and a pitch presentation in front of a panel of esteemed industry professionals to determine the first, second, and third place winning teams.
“At a time when the world needs inventive thinking as never before, AACC is delighted to offer this student competition in partnership with NSF. We are excited to see students’ breakthrough ideas—and to provide a friendly and constructive environment for students to transform those ideas into society-benefitting innovations,” said Ellen Hause, AACC program director for Academic and Student Affairs.
AACC’s mission to build a nation of learners by advancing America’s community colleges aligns with the goals of the NSF’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program to prepare students for meaningful employment in the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. In 2015, the NSF funded the initial launch of the CCIC alongside AACC.
“NSF remains committed to broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and nurturing student talent across the U.S. to improve STEM education,” said Karen Marrongelle, NSF Assistant Director for Education and Human Resources, the directorate funding the Challenge. “Community colleges serve as a major source for technician education and STEM education more broadly and are a critical component of the educational pipeline for students from diverse communities and backgrounds who wish to pursue further studies. At NSF, we are committed to offering opportunities for more students to find successful future careers in STEM.”
As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), delivers educational and economic opportunity for nearly 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers, and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all. https://www.aacc.nche.edu/
The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2021 budget of $8.5 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts. https://www.nsf.gov/