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Winners of Villanova University’s ICE Institute Pitch Day, Meyer ICE Awards Announced

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VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University’s Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneur (ICE) Institute has announced the winners of its sixth annual Pitch Day competition held April 20. Pitch Day gives students from across the University’s schools and colleges the opportunity to showcase their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, while gaining real-world experience in building an idea from the ground up. 

Pitch Day features the Villanova Student Entrepreneurship Competition (VSEC), in which student entrepreneurs presented original ideas and prototypes to a panel of alumni and guest judges involved in business development, investments, marketing and technology. In addition to the $10,000 that will be awarded to student startups through VSEC, students received invaluable feedback from mentors and advisors that can help advance their ideas. This is the first year Pitch Day has expanded to include a Creativity Challenge and Virtual Reality Competition.

“The finalists this year represent the diverse populations of the University, and proposed practical, attainable solutions for real problems our world is facing,” said II Luscri, executive director of the ICE Institute. “We expanded Pitch Day to include the two new competitions to create new intersections among our community and highlight the importance of creativity and technology in academic and entrepreneurial pursuits.”

Pitch Day also includes the announcement of Villanova’s annual Meyer Innovation and Creative Excellence Awards winners. The ICE Awards were created and endowed by Patrick Meyer '74 VSB in honor of the Meyer family (Patrick '74, Edward '86, and C. Paul '30) to recognize the spirit of innovation, creativity, and entrepreneurship that enhances Villanova University. The Meyer ICE Award is conferred on a student in each of the University’s schools and colleges, as well as one faculty recipient.

“Each year the nominations for the Meyer ICE award continue to grow – symbolic of how innovation and creativity have become deeply embedded in nearly every academic discipline at Villanova,” said Luscri.

Winners from the 2017 Pitch Day included:


Creativity Challenge:

  • Most Inspiring – Caritas of Culture
  • Best Interpretation of Challenge – Diversity & Inclusivity Topic Guide
  • Biggest Idea – Villanova in Action

Virtual Reality Competition:

  • 1st - Digital Forensics CSI
  • 2nd - Amaze
  • 3rd - Odyssey

The 2017 Meyer ICE Award winners:

Catherine (Katie) DeLuca ’17 College of Nursing, became one of the inaugural Villanova Freshman Match research students, looking at high school students’ internet behavior, which turned into a full-time research assistant position. Katie was a proud representative of the University and the College of Nursing at the Eastern Nurses Research Society’s 29th annual scientific conference in April 2017.

Eric Galko ’17 Charles Widger School of Law, has built a premier NFL scouting service and trusted media brand through his venture, Optimum Scouting. He has participated in the Law School’s Clinic for Law & Entrepreneurship, successfully competed in competitions and made contributions to the Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law Journal Symposium.

Hoseuk (Andrew) Kim ’17 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, is Treasurer of the Pre-Law Society and Mock Trial Team, two organizations he has been heavily involved with throughout his time at Villanova. An Economics major, Andrew was a part of the introductory class of Forbes Under 30 Scholars program in 2016.

Vanessa Kungne ’17 College of Engineering, started her own tea company, Afya Tea, which helps people suffering from diabetes. A Chemical Engineering graduate student from Cameroon, Vanessa was named to Forbes Magazine Africa 30 under 30 in 2016.

Kevin Minbiole, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Has focused a large portion of his research on the shortcomings of modern infection control. His work in this space has led to the creation of a startup, NovaLyse Biosolutions. Dr. Minbiole’s work has also led to three patent application and several provisional patents.

Chinasa Nwokocha ’17 School of Business, successfully launched a t-shirt brand, Ataria NYC, as a freshman which has seen significant growth over the course of three years. Chinasa has embarked on other initiatives, such as her "Don’t be Afraid" mentorship program in New York City and launching a YouTube series.

Stephen Werpehowski ’17 College of Professional Studies, has completed several research initiatives, including an eye tracker that appends to Google Glass to operate a robotic arm based on subtle eye movement. Stephen’s work has also focused on software development using Oculus Rift and Villanova’s Cave Automatic Virtual Environment.

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