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eHIVE hosts second annual innovation challenge

Rachel Pellegrino Nov 11, 2019

The eHIVE, Waynesburg University’s Entrepreneurial Hub for Innovative Ventures and Endeavors, hosted its second annual “Something from Nothing” Innovation Challenge Oct. 3. The event served as part of the eHIVE’s initiative to foster entrepreneurial thinking and creativity from students of all majors.

Through this event, students were challenged to create something out of an ordinary object. Last year, the object was duct tape; this year, it was plastic bags.

“Our goal with the ‘Something from Nothing’ Challenge was to put something out there that everybody had access to and give them a very short time period and dangle some money and see what happens,” said Dr. Melinda Walls, the W. Robert Stover Chair for Entrepreneurial Leadership and director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program. “Overall, I was blown away last year with the amount of participation we had, and this year exceeded my wildest expectations.”

A total of 71 Waynesburg students and 18 local high school students from Greene County participated in the event, where a total of $6,350 in prize money was awarded.

Students developed a large variety of inventions that tackled problems ranging from environmental issues to shoes/clothing, and anything else you could think of in between.  We are always amazed at our students’ creative approach to problem solving and innovation,” said Cassy Dorsch, program coordinator for the Entrepreneurial Leadership Program.

The judges consisted of the three Greene County Commissioners: Blair Zimmerman, Archie Trader and Dave Coder; and three representatives from Innovation Works: Pam Eichenbaum, Leah Simoncelli and Justin Harvilla.

The judges selected first, second and third place prizes for the three different challenge categories: High School, Social and Artistic and Economic. A fan favorite award was also awarded for each category and was selected by popular vote. In total, 222 people cast votes from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for the fan favorite.

The winners included students from a variety of majors:

High School

First: Lucas Swartz, Jacob Smith, Jason McAfee and Scott Adams

Second: Kiara Brozik, Garrett Dice and Nick Juliani

Third: Alicia Johnston, Mason Faddis, Caleb Gallagher and Zack Gamble

Fan Favorite: Kiera Fuqua, Avery McConville, Michael Chambers and Brandon Tretinik

Social & Artistic

First: Troy Jones, Micaela Danley, Kayla Alderson and Austin McDaniel

Second: Teagan Jenner, Emily Hill, Jess Vormelker and Adam Dolan

Third: Allyson Barker, Haleigh Clemens, Kevin Greenlee and Zyan Wallace

Fan Favorite: Isaiah Alonzo, Ryan Felberg, Dorian Hardy and Brennan Smith


First: James Gatrell, Rory Dami, Matthew Agostoni and Bryan Tedeschi

Second: Chase Espen, Cannon Hay, Nathan Brudnock and Nathan Alberts

Third: Joshua Hughes, James Lafollette, Rachel Pellegrino and Mason Klopp

Fan Favorite: Jayna Puskarich, Kayla Spina, Grace Zablosky and Diamond Price

Money was awarded to teams by place. First place of each category and the fan favorite each received $100 per team member, second place received $75 per team member and third place received $50 per team member.

This year’s event would not have been possible without the generous support of the EQT Foundation, which was established by one of the nation’s leading natural gas companies, EQT Corporation. The foundation awarded Waynesburg’s eHIVE with a grant earlier this year.

“EQT Corporation was impressed by our challenge last year and generously gave us a grant to expand and support this year’s challenge,” said Dorsch. “The support allowed us to include local high school students and expand to two categories in the collegiate competition.”