Innovation Weekend

College of Science and Mathematics

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About the Event

Join us for a weekend intensive innovation event to address a long-standing problem of significance in both the military and public sectors. You will work with other students from varied backgrounds to push the solutions as far as you can in the weekend timeframe and will pitch your ideas to regional experts on the problem.


Spring 2021 theme  "The Psychology of Connection: From Education to Work to Space."

The pandemic has introduced the United States and the world to a new way of operating – one where we connect through bits and bytes rather than with handshakes and at the water cooler. The year 2020 exposed many strengths and yet many weaknesses of human interaction with technology. To capitalize on what we learned, it is time to develop new ideas for how we interface with technology and apply that new knowledge to better our lives in the classroom, organizations, and space colonization.

Event Information

Join us to make a difference by addressing these issues with other students and with the help of regional experts in the field. Bring your own team, or form a team at the event based on your interest and skills. Students from all majors are welcome.


Mentors are an important part of Innovation Weekend. Mentors assist student teams by helping them stay focused on the topic and potential solutions. By challenging the team’s thinking on the issues, mentors help teams see the larger picture of potential solutions and how the teams’ potential solutions address not only the issue but have further effects beyond the immediate issue.

Mentors can sign up for one or more sessions throughout the weekend to work with participant teams:

  • Friday, 5 to 8 p.m. to include introductions, topic introduction, general brainstorming, and team formation
  • Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.
  • Sunday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist with final presentation details including feedback on teams’ pitches

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does this event cost?

    The event is free.

  • Do I have to be a CoSM major?

    No, the event is open to everyone. In fact, we WANT students from across campus to participate – see later for a description of the types of skill sets that are targeted (but ALL are welcome).

  • What if I can’t attend all of the sessions? Can I still participate?

    We want students to attend as much as possible, but mostly, we want you involved. Thus, if there are periods of time over the weekend that you cannot attend, come for what you can and work with your teammates to catch up on what you missed.

  • Does our team have to stay for the entire time of each session?

    As implied above, we have designed the event to maximize the time needed to engage with our content experts. However, if you complete a task early, or simply have to take care of other business away from the event, you are welcome to come and go.  

  • Can we create our own teams before the event?

    Sure. However, you may decide to rearrange the team once the full details of the project are described – and we have built in time to do just that.  Also, we will cap the teams at 6 members, so keep this in mind.

  • What if I don’t have a team in advance?

    Please Come! We will be starting the program with a process that will help match you with a team that needs your skills!

  • What areas of study are particularly well-suited for this event?

    The event focuses on problems related to the environment, manufacturing, technical innovation, data analytics, computer science, policy changes or waste management and logistics. This is very broad, and so studies in nearly any field that involves making sense of information and solving problems or helping people would be applicable. If you think it sounds interesting, come out and see how it works.

  • What will I get out of this event?

    We hope you get a lot out of it, but at the very least it is a chance to meet people solving real-world problems at various levels (military, the private sector, non-profit, academia, medical sciences, data sciences) and to learn those skills in an interactive, team-based environment. We hope you also make some connections, expand your resume, and maybe even network career or internship opportunities. Although we cannot promise this every event, we feel that some teams may actually identify solutions that they wish to pursue beyond the event itself, perhaps in subsequent entrepreneurial pitch competitions or even in the development of a solution with intellectual property potential. In other words, this event might just be a beginning. 

  • What are the prizes?

    That will have to remain a secret until the pitch competition. We hope that the winners will consider the process “worth it."

  • I am a graduate student: Can I participate?

    YES! We have decided to open the event to both undergraduate and graduate students. Note that we will work to ensure that student groups include a mix of undergraduates and graduate students so that the event is fair to all, but the diversity of the student population provides a richer experience for all involved.


The primary sponsor for this event is Leidos and it will be hosted by the College of Science and Mathematics.

In the News

About the Innovation Weekend Events in CoSM

This series of weekend-long events will allow students from CoSM and other disciplines across campus with interests in research, innovation, and entrepreneurship to work in teams to address technologically-demanding, market-driven problems proposed by one or more collaborators from the private sector or government agencies.  These “innovation sessions” will culminate with teams making group presentations on their solutions and event moderators selecting winning ideas.  Winning team members will receive a prize and, in some cases, enhanced access to opportunities to work with the external companies or agencies on future research internships or on pushing their ideas toward fruition.

This program will allow students to get exposure to real-world problem-solving skills will prepare students for programmatic success and appreciation of regional workforce needs. It will also be an opportunity to connect with industry or government partners and will enhance access to research internships and/or employment opportunities post-graduation.