Student innovation and entrepreneurship on display at Eagle Works competition

The team of Téa Phillips, Sergio Ramirez and Ashley Wheeler won the 2018 Eagle Works competition with the Metaflex Therapy Glove, a prototype in Tech's Clinical Immersion at Disciplinary Interfaces course taught by Melissa Geist, featuring nurses and engineers.Tennessee Tech students with innovative ideas ready to be put into business form will have a chance to win thousands of dollars this weekend.

The sixth annual Eagle Works competition will be held on Saturday with a tradeshow at 10 a.m. in the Tech Pride Room and the actual competition at 1:30 p.m. in the Derryberry auditorium.

“Eagle Works is a unique opportunity for students to learn innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets, create a business while still in school, and earn thousands in seed funding in the form of scholarships,” said Michael Aikens, Tech’s director of innovation and entrepreneurship. “This competition allows students to differentiate themselves in the job marketplace and even create their own jobs.”

Similar to the television show Shark Tank, the Eagle Works competition has Tech undergraduate and graduate students pitching their innovative ideas to a panel of judges for a chance to win a portion of $17,000. Teams represent a wide array of majors including communications, nursing, engineering and business.

Some of the students’ innovation this year feature apps, medical devices, additive manufacturing, high-tech applications, artificial intelligence, machine learning and lifestyle. 

“This competition allows students to work in interdisciplinary teams, breaks down silos, removes social barriers and create comradery,” said Aikens. “It is an inclusive activity for any student.”

New for this year is the Rural Reimagined Award. This award totals $1,000 and will be given to the team who has the most potential to impact rural communities. This award is given in the name and spirit of Tech’s Grand Challenge, Rural Reimagined. The recipient team will receive $500 as a scholarship, funded by the Innovation & Entrepreneurship program, and will additionally receive $500 worth of technical assistance from the Center for Rural Innovation.

“Contestants hail from over 10 at-risk or distressed counties — the very same counties our Grand Challenge Rural Reimagined seeks to help,” Aikens said. 

The trade show at 10 a.m. allows teams to display their ideas and answer questions about their proposed businesses. The top six finalists will advance to the main competition at 1:30 and pitch their ideas live on stage to the audience and the judges.

For more information on Eagle Works, go to


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