Inaugural FlashLab Innovation Pitch contest finalists announced


Augmented reality patches. Collaborative marketing and promotion. A safety workshop for journalists. Multi-platform episodic video content. Engaging new students in new ways.

These are just some of the innovative ideas pitched by Kent State students during the inaugural Student Media FlashLab Innovation Pitch Contest held during October and November through Kent State Student Media’s FlashLab innovation initiative.

On Thursday, seven student teams were selected as finalists and invited to the in-person second round to be held Thursday, Nov. 29 from 5 to 7 p.m. in 213 Franklin Hall on the Kent State University campus in Kent, Ohio. The event is free and open to the public.

The finalists are:

• Khalil Thompson (Freshman Film), a sophomore digital media production major.

• Haylee Holt (KSU Live Streaming), a junior digital media production major.

• Aaron Hluch (Ol' College Try), a junior digital media production major.

• Natalie Meek (Connections-SM Agency) a senior public relations major.

• Assata Imani Cheers (Truth), a senior communications studies major.

• Cameron Gorman, Anna Katsas (Shoot the Gap), a senior journalism major and a junior digital media production major.

• Carter Adams (Safety Security Workshop), a junior journalism major.

The first-round judges include leaders in business, innovation and education from Kent, Akron and Cleveland. They are:

• Craig James, who is the partner and co-founder of Catalyst Strategies and is an information technology industry veteran who helps organizations stop — and think. He is an executive coach, writer, speaker, thought leader and modern philosopher.

• Nicole Bitskay studies human development and family studies at Kent State, with a minor in entrepreneurship. She took second place at the CEBI Idea Pitch competition, and first place at the LaunchNET Elevator Pitch competition this fall.

• Micah Tindor is the solutions integration advisor for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. He is an experienced innovation operator with a 14-year tenure — building businesses and launching products in companies from startups to Fortune 200s.

• Zach Mikrut is the program manager at LaunchNET Kent State, a program that helps students, faculty/staff and alumni transform their ideas into thriving businesses, successful projects or innovative collaborations.

• EbaNee Bond is a recent mechanical engineering graduate of the notable University of Akron who works part-time at Bounce Innovation Hub as program coordinator and part-time at The University of Akron Research Foundation as an Entrepreneur Fellow.

James, Bitskay, Tindor and Mikrut will serve as judges for the second round. Finalists will have the chance to pitch their idea in person to the judges and answer questions. Judges will select first, second and third place winners from among the finalists. The top three winners will share $1,000 in prize money and their ideas may receive up to $10,000 in funding to help launch them in Student Media in spring 2019.

The innovation pitch contest is part of Student Media FlashLab, an innovation initiative within Kent State Student Media to foster and support innovation in the areas of content creation, revenue generation and audience engagement. The contest and other FlashLab events are open to all Kent State students and collaboration is encouraged.

For more information about Kent State Student Media and Student Media FlashLab, contact Director of Student Media, Kevin Dilley at 330-67-0887 or [email protected]

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