Making an IMPACT: Missouri Innovation Academy

COB co-hosts three-week on-campus experience for high school students

Brewer Science
Brewer Science

The College of Business (COB) and the College of Natural and Applied Sciences (CNAS) partnered this summer to offer the Missouri Innovation Academy. Now in its seventh year, this three-week summer residence experience attracted 30 of the brightest high school students in Missouri. The Academy, which is funded by the State Department of Education, aims to cultivate student entrepreneurship. The hope is to inspire talented high school students to fully develop science, technology, engineering, math and business skills, as these are the future leaders whose innovations will help Missouri prosper.

“We work on leadership skills, teamwork, presentations and even career opportunities. The Missouri Innovation Academy is not just a science camp; it’s much more,” says Dana Frederick, Instructor in the Management Department and Director of the Academy. Students spend the first week and a half in special programming that includes lectures, classroom work and tours of the Biomedical Sciences and Physics Departments ­­­— including labs — on campus. Students also tour facilities around the state including: Monsanto, in St. Louis; Brewer Science, in Rolla; and the Jordan Valley Innovation Center, in Springfield. While on these trips, they learn about clean rooms, laboratories, test projects, aspects of running a business, and meet with professionals. They get to experience what inventors, engineers, scientists and technologists do on a daily basis. mo innovation frog2

The second portion of the academy is completed mainly on campus. Students are randomly placed in four-person teams and are asked to come up with a new product, develop a prototype and present a business plan. During the development phase, students work closely with COB and CNAS faculty members. Finally, they present their work to a group of business professionals that acts as judges. The judges for the 2013 academy included Rob Dixon, Springfield Chamber of Commerce; Brian Kincaid, Springfield e-Factory; and Isabella Eisenhauer, Springfield Small Business and Technology Development Center.

2013 1st Place Team
1st Place Team-2013

This year’s winning team developed a wrist-worn device that connects to an MP3 player and vibrates to the beat of the music playing. It was designed to elevate the experience of listening to music to another level. The group is pursuing a patent for their product. “It is not unusual for this to happen. Our 2012 group winners are in talks with a company that may potentially purchase their product,” Frederick says.Since its inception, the academy has worked with more than 200 Missouri students. “Overall, we hope that the students walk away with a better understanding of college and a new self-awareness of the importance of having an open mind to the many educational and work opportunities that will be available to them,” states Frederick.

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