Student ideas win big prizes


Tony Petro, Club News Editor

AACC student Nicholas Kiraly took home $1,250 after winning the first-place and fan-favorite prizes at the seventh annual Big Idea Competition in November.

His idea, Structural Inspections, was to use drones to inspect rooftops, bridge trusses and other hard-to-reach places to eliminate risks for construction workers.

Two other student contestants won cash prizes.

Second-place winner Austin Fitzpatrick won $500 for “Changing the Way We Park,” which proposed using lights like those in airport parking garages to notify students of open spots in campus parking lots.

“I like competition,” Fitzpatrick said.

Student Ola Bamisaiye won a third-place prize for “findaVeteran,” an app or website that would help homeless veterans find shelters.

“I figured I would need to raise money for this sooner or later,” said Bamisaiye, who plans to use his $250 prize to launch the project.

Carlene Cassidy, chair of the Entrepreneurial Studies Institute, which sponsored the seven-year-old contest, said students submitted their ideas on video for the first time this year.

Judges were three AACC alumni: Christian Hendricks, who won the competition in 2009; Luke Makris; and 2013 winner Carolina Seldes.

“Being an entrepreneur is a skill set,” Hendricks said. “The more you are immersed, the better you will get and the faster you will reach your goals.”