The Henry Ford College team qualifies for the final of the Community College Innovation Challenge |


A team of students from Henry Ford College will be one of 12 groups that will compete in the final round of the Community College Innovation Challenge (CCIC).

The 12 teams were recently announced by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), in partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The competition aims to strengthen entrepreneurial thinking among community college students by challenging them to develop STEM-based solutions to real-world problems. It also allows students to discover and demonstrate their ability to use STEM to make a difference in the world and to translate that knowledge into action.

The Henry Ford College team designed a “MaskKito” for the competition. The product is a stylish nano-cleansing mask that has been developed as a COVID-19 prevention mask with the ability to destroy viruses using the combined technology of nano-fiber weaves with UVC radiation.

Teams consist of two to four students and a teacher or mentor administrator from the team. Finalists will participate in a virtual innovation boot camp in June and interact with entrepreneurs and experts in business planning, stakeholder engagement, strategic communication and market dynamics. The Boot Camp concludes with a student innovation showcase with STEM leaders and Congress stakeholders, and a pitch presentation to determine the winning teams for first, second and third place.

“The AACC is pleased to have been able to redesign the CCIC after postponing last year’s competition due to COVID-19,” said Walter G. Bumphus, President and CEO of AACC. “The students who participate in this challenge are innovation leaders, and their use of STEM solutions for the benefit of society is not only very important, but necessary to help ensure a strong future. Our post-pandemic world will need fresh and innovative minds to design creative solutions to help those who need it most, and we are excited to help facilitate the process. “

Among the teams of ideas presented this year are solutions to fight the pandemic, from biodegradable masks to home virus testing; virtual reality applications to provide life skills training to children with autism; and electric vehicle conversion kits.

“It’s truly inspiring to see the incredible creativity and talent of students in community colleges across the country, and I want to congratulate the finalists for their hard work,” said Karen Marrongelle, Deputy Director of the Education Branch. and NSF human resources. “We need to inspire new generations in all communities to explore the wonders of science and engineering, and CCIC is an exciting opportunity for students to start thinking about STEM careers. I look forward to learning more about their projects and the contributions these students will make to America’s STEM future.

The 11 other finalists and their projects are:

Austin Community College, Texas

• OASIS – the Officer Fitness and Stress Information System uses artificial intelligence to help police departments better analyze data from devices such as camera images, GPS systems and heart rate monitors.

Bergen Community College (New Jersey)

• The Electric Vehicle Conversion Project aims to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation industry by developing modular kits to convert gasoline-powered vans to fully electric vehicles.

Manhattan Borough Community College (New York)

• The BMCC student team is developing accessible and affordable virtual reality applications to serve as an interactive learning platform for children with autism to teach them essential life skills.

Columbus State Community College, Ohio

• The Greenago Project: Turning Colleges Green is placing SMART and self-compacting recycling bins on college campuses that reward students for recycling through the use of an app.

Itawamba Community College (Mississippi)

• The Achelous project is developing a filtering mechanism to collect clean water that can be used in rural areas, in emergencies, and to provide water to the homeless.

Ivy Tech Community College (Indiana)

• The Viruscan project aims to combat the spread of a pandemic virus with a new, inexpensive self-administered test that automatically alerts primary care providers.

Johnson County Community College, Kansas

• The Johnson County team is creating a mechanical bench that allows people who use mobility aids such as wheelchairs to move from the driver’s seat to the back of their vehicle without assistance in accessing their device.

Nashua Community College (New Hampshire)

• The EnviroMask project is developing an environmentally friendly, fully biodegradable face mask using cotton with bioplastic and non-woven bamboo fiber.

Pasadena City College (California)

• The Pasadena City College team is exploring the use of conjugated antibody nanoparticles to help identify and treat cancer and infectious diseases.

Tarrant County College, Texas

• The Shroomzzz: Beehive Mushroom Grower Project focuses on improving the health of bee colonies.

Virginia Western Community College (Virginia)

• The Community Coral Project supports coral growth through 3D printing of porous structures made of PLA, a plastic substitute made from fermented vegetable starch.

To receive updates on the Virtual Boot Camp and CCIC 2021 winners, visit

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