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Sac State vies for 'three-peat' in statewide contest


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2013 CSUPERB-I2P First-Place Team from Sacramento State.

Front row: business student Carlo Dela Cruz, left, biology student Megan Showalter, biology student Kayla Horton and business student Igor Chouzhyk.

Back row: CSUPERB Presidents’ Commission Chair Rollin Richmond (President, Humboldt State University), Finals Judge Bob Linscheid (Chair, CSU Board of Trustees), Finals Judge Todd Thompson (Proteus Digital Health), I2P Challenge Sponsor Wendie Johnston (Pasadena Bioscience Collaborative), Preliminary Judge Jakub Felkl (University of Texas, Austin), and Sacramento State team mentor Warren Smith (Professor, Electrical & Electronic Engineering).

Two years ago, Sac State’s I2P (Idea-to-Product) team won the statewide competition. Last year, three Sac State teams were selected to go to the finals, along with one team each from three other CSU campuses. A Sac State squad won that competition as well. This year, Sac State has five teams competing for statewide honors against four other squads in Santa Clara, beginning Thursday, Jan. 9.

Can the Hornets score a "three-peat"? Electrical Engineering Professor Warren Drew Smith, one of the teams’ mentors who has guided previous victories, believes they can – and he hasn’t been wrong yet.

The I2P contest is part of CSUPERB’s symposium designed to broaden exposure to cutting-edge biotechnologies, product-focused innovation and the spectrum of career paths available in the life sciences. It brings CSU students, faculty and administrators together, as well as biotech professionals working in academia, government and industry.

This marks the 26th annual symposium, but the I2P competition began just three years ago. Sac State’s squads consist of students from the colleges of Business Administration, Engineering and Computer Science, and Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Team A: Melissa Rose Bardo, Biological Sciences; Kristen Rebecca Hernandez, Business; Jordan Alexander Kreun, Business; and Manmeet K. Singh, Biological Sciences.

Team B: Joseph Cacioppo, Engineering; Terry Christina Petlowany, Business;  Ravi Singh, Business; and Will Warkentin, Engineering.

Team C: David Anderson, Engineering; Fernando Garcia, Business; Joseph Thomas Guiliano, Business; and William Michael Low, Engineering.

Team D: Michael Steven Bloss, Business; Mark Glenn Feranil, Engineering; Gabriel Robert Schlaefer, Business; and Linda Torres, Engineering.

Team E: Derek Cuffe, Engineering; Nicholas Gniech, Engineering; Lupe Rodriguez, Business; and Mitchell Kendrick White, Business.

Teams will make 10-minute presentations to the preliminary judges on Thursday, Jan. 9. The judges’ panel will ask questions of each team for an additional 10 to 15 minutes; all team members must be present to answer questions. Each team has 40 minutes with the panel, providing time to ask questions and receive extra feedback to prepare for the finals on Saturday, Jan. 11.

The final presentations will begin Saturday afternoon, during which judges will question the teams. Private feedback on the product ideas will be provided, with the winners announced during the closing awards banquet.

For media assistance, contact Sacramento State’s Public Affairs office at (916) 278-2776. – Alan Miller