GARY | A short video challenge for high school students has no less a lofty goal than inspiring the next Thomas Edison or Steve Jobs.
Ivy Tech Community College Northwest's Society of Innovators, The Gerald I. Lamkin Innovation & Entrepreneurship Center and the Gary-based social media firm SMDG LLC have launched the 2104 Young Innovators Video Challenge. High school students between the 10th and 12th grade are encouraged to create 90-second videos that outline fresh ideas to solve problems.
"This is the largest project for the I & E Center," said director O'Merrial Butchee. "This challenge is intended to inspire the next generation of thinkers, doers and innovators to solve problems in new and different ways."
The contest is part of Ivy Tech's What's Your Idea? campaign and is open to students in Lake, Porter, LaPorte, Newton, Jasper, Pulaski and Starke counties. Individuals and teams can make videos in five categories: inventing a product or service, launching a new company, escaping from a stranded island, improving Northwest Indiana, and making a bare apartment suitable for visitors.
Students can submit their videos on nwisoi.org from Friday through April 1. A panel of judges and public voting will determine the winners.
"We are looking for young people who want to make a difference by cultivating their creative and innovative skills to become lifelong learners, innovators and leaders," said Thomas Coley, chancellor of Ivy Tech Northwest.
Public voting will begin on April 12 at the Northwest Indiana Innovation Expo at the Jean Shepherd Community Center in Hammond. People can vote for their favorite entries at the SMDG exhibit at the expo or online at nwisoi.org. People will be able to vote for their favorite video in each category a maximum of once a day per email address through April 25.
Every student who enters will receive a participation certificate. Up to 10 finalists will get honorary one-year memberships in The Society of Innovators and be honored at an awards luncheon. As many as five winners will get a meal and facility tour with a Society of Innovators distinguished fellow, member or board governor.
"Northwest Indiana needs to push the minds of young people toward new horizons," said John Davies, managing director of The Society of Innovators.
The society hopes to nurture homegrown talent who will have an economic impact on the region in the future, Davies said.
"Our vision is to make Northwest Indiana known in the world as a region that values creativity and innovation right in our backyard, not going to Mars with Voyager One or through some great corporation," he said. "These are our tinkerers and inventors who are coming up with practical solutions to make our region work."