39 individuals from a variety of majors pitched their creative ideas
Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Fifteen students shared $5,000 in prize money at the Spring IdeaStorm competition Feb. 15 in the Pappajohn Business Building. The event was presented by the University of Iowa John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center.

First-place $500 winners were David Chenoweth (health initiatives), Subasree Balamurali (creative concepts), Sammi deNeui (common good), and Max White (consumer solutions).

A total of 39 individuals pitched their creative ideas. These students represented a variety of majors and areas of study making this competition a great example of multidisciplinary innovation across the University of Iowa campus. The top ideas selected by judges were awarded cash prizes, as well as a People’s Choice Award (Lyla Adelstein) that was selected by their peers.

IdeaStorm is an entry-level pitch competition open to all University of Iowa students. The competition is designed to introduce students to innovation by encouraging them to share their idea in two minutes or less via an in-person pitch describing how they would solve a problem in a unique way. Students do not need a business plan, prior pitching experience, or a presentation to pitch — this allows them to enjoy a soft introduction to the world of entrepreneurship.

The event is sponsored by Jay and Cindy Greenzweigh and FORCE Communications (health initiatives), Michelle Bates and Ann Camblin (common good), and Nicole and Curtis Strait (consumer solutions).

Health Initiatives
Students shared ideas that help create better well-being through health care innovation.

  • $500 | David Chenoweth (Second year med student)
    Infrared technology to detect glucose in blood
  • $400 | Paxten DeVilbiss (Biomedical engineering)
    Add positive and negative pressure to knee socket design
  • $300 | Eric Jungers (Interdepartmental studies, health science track)
    Device to help people understand oral health
  • $200 | Megan Ertl (Industrial and systems engineering)
    Sensor to interpret individual fatigue as an industrial application

Creative Concepts

  • $500 | Subasree Balamurali (Computer science)
    Website for individuals to create value and self-worth
  • $300 | Will Kamentz (Pre-business)
    Repurpose candles as growing pots for small succulents

Common Good
Students share ideas that inspire change through social and sustainable solutions that benefit the common good.

  • $500 | Sammi dNeui (Communication studies
    Cat café in downtown Iowa City
  • $300 | Tyler Kuecker (Enterpreneurship certificate)
    A zero-waste convenience store
  • $250 | Conor Hutchison (International relations)
    A podcast featuring impactful alumni from the University of Iowa

Consumer Solutions
Students share ideas that explore solutions to everyday problems through new products or services.

  • $500 | Maxwell White (Economics and philosophy)
    An app that connects farmers, butchers, and gardeners to consumers
  • $400 | John Piaszynski (Computer science and statistics)
    An app where drink mixologists post recipes and advice
  • $300 | Joslin Some (Computer science and engineering)
    Eye glasses that use facial detection to recognize people around the user
  • $200 | Johnny Jarnagin (Entrepreneurial management certificate)
    An app that allows users to navigate confusing buildings

People’s Choice Award: $150 | Lyla Adelstein (Enterprise leadership and communication studies)
Best Pitch: $100 | Adelstein

Spirit Award: $100 | Owen Pullam