Monthly Innovation Challenge

Every first Wednesday of the month the Innovation Challenge hosted by Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology exercises students’ minds and creativity.

During the event, students form teams of three from different majors and disciplines and are given one hour to complete an impromptu challenge. Students can either form teams prior to the event or show up 10 minutes early and join others in need of teammates.

Challenges have included a wide variety of topics — from designing the tallest freestanding structure using spaghetti sticks to creating a “green” toaster box design.

Whichever team successfully completes the challenge wins $600.

Alumni or industry professionals who have competition ideas can contact Rachel Rimmerman at 314-977-8443 or

The Monthly Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Parks College dean’s office and the Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering.

Recent Innovation Challenges

Rocket Propulsion Lab Payload Challenge

Members of the winning team:

  • Arbaaz Syed
  • Luke Bugler
  • Marco Agudelo
  • Lucas Parmley

The challenge: You are launching a rocket to a height of more than 10,000 feet. Create a 60-second pitch telling the judges what you would put in the rocket.

  • It must fit within the dimensions of 5 feet tall and 6 inches in diameter.
  • The pitch must include what you would put in the rocket and what it does.
  • For bonus points, build a small prototype of your payload – it is not required for the pitch but could help push you into the winning spot.

Bonus: Earn up to three bonus points for building a prototype of your idea using the available materials.

Upcycle SLUstainability Challenge

Members of the winning team:

  • Christopher Ernst
  • Henry Hostettler
  • Ryan Leonard
  • Lucas Parmley
  • Dennis Kress
  • Christian Womack
  • Patrick Tiedeman

The challenge: College campuses create a lot of waste. Help SLU become more sustainable by upcycling some commonly discarded items on campus into a new product that will be useful to a college student. Each team was limited to four items.

Prepare a 60-second pitch about your new product. Include:

  • What it is/does
  • How it is applicable to a college student
  • What four original items you upcycled to create it
  • Cost of product/ cost benefits of investing in this product
Ice Carrier Challenge


Members of the winning team:

  • Carolyn Hardman
  • Erin Rose
  • Christine Maida

The challenge: Create a contraption that will carry a Dixie cup of ice down the zip line from the balcony of McDonnell Douglas Hall to the lower level. You are limited to use the items in the bag at your table, two strips of masking tape and scissors or an Exacto knife. Every team has the same materials.

Your ice carrier must safely deliver the cup of ice from the beginning to the end of the zip line. The cup cannot be fixed into your carrier. You may use the cup for sizing during the design and build stages, but it must be detachable. A separate cup of ice will be used for testing.

If the cup of ice tips over or falls out on the trip down, it will be disqualified. The fastest ice carrier wins the challenge. If there is a tie in speed, the lightest ice carrier wins.