Iowa State ready for second annual IGNITE Innovation Showcase

Iowa State’s Student Innovation Center is hosting its second annual IGNITE Innovation Showcase to celebrate innovation at the university.

Image courtesy of the Student Innovation Center

Iowa State’s Student Innovation Center is hosting its second annual IGNITE Innovation Showcase to celebrate innovation at the university.

Ashlyn Ware

The IGNITE Innovation Showcase is a celebration and encouragement of innovation happening from students at Iowa State with multiple daily showcases, presentations and workshops, as well as 14 prestigious keynote speakers headlining the week-long event.

The showcase will be held Monday through Friday.

The Student Innovation Center has put together IGNITE to demonstrate how innovation drives Iowa State students to make an impact on the world around them.

“Our students are driving this,” said Director of Innovation Programs Karen Kerns. “Their interest, their passion, their purpose, their accomplishments are driving us and driving what’s happening in our innovation center and programs.”

There are over 350 students involved in IGNITE through innovation challenges, whether individually created or sponsored creations, Kerns said.

Khushi Kapoor, a senior studying aerospace engineering, wrote in an email correspondence that she’s presenting her engineering sprint team’s hydrogen-fueled aviation solutions in Tuesday’s “Move the World” showcase. 

“I will also be taking part in the Food Fusion cooking competition on Thursday,” Kapoor wrote. “Lastly, I will be receiving a gold fellows pin as a result of my work in the Innovation Fellows Program.”

There are a variety of events happening at IGNITE, including keynote speakers that are bound to attract students.

One of the biggest draws for students are the 14 world-renowned keynote speakers, which include Tan Le, CEO of Emotiv, a brain research company, Robert Piconi, CEO and co-founder of Energy Vault and winner of the 2020 World Economic Prize for Innovation and Oshoke Abalu, architect, futurist and co-founder of Love and Magic Company, to name a few.

“I mean, if we put [all] those people in one room, it’s unfathomable,” Kerns said. “You know, 14 really, really famous innovators coming to speak at our university.”

IGNITE is as much a celebration of this academic year’s innovative accomplishments as it is a networking opportunity for future innovators. Bringing in prominent innovators for students to network with demonstrates the Student Innovation Center’s dedication to student success.

“…the Student Innovation Center has greatly impacted my college education by acting as a launchpad to meeting industry leaders and entrepreneurs,” Kapoor wrote. “The projects I’ve had the honor of working on have been unlike what I’ve learned in my classes and these projects have been crucial to help set innovation fellows apart in internship/job interviews.”

The Student Innovation Center is reframing how students think about themselves as students.

“We don’t have time for students to think of themselves as students in the seats anymore,” Kerns said. “They are change-makers, and from the day they come to this university, they have to reset expectations for themselves and how they see themselves in the world.”

Each day has a theme with Spotlight on Student Innovation events and a Keynote Program to wrap up the day. Limited space requires all those interested in coming to the Keynote Programs to register.

The themes are:

“This is a week full of students showcasing their work across many genres and disciplines,” Kapoor wrote. “The work portrayed during IGNITE is arguably some of the best and most forward-thinking work done on campus.”

“I wouldn’t miss it if I were a student,” Kerns said.