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Drexel University Libraries and the College of Engineering Co-Host Student PITCH Competition

March 2, 2017

Drexel University Libraries and the College of Engineering co-hosted the inaugural PITCH Competition on Thursday, February 2, 2017 in the W. W. Hagerty Library's Bookmark Cafe and Data Visualization Zone.

During this new event, ten students pitched their ideas for innovative technologies that could positively impact the global community. As part of the competition, the students - who represented a diverse range of disciplines from mechanical engineering to art & design - were required to use and site resources from the Drexel Libraries.

'I noticed during the presentations that students were using so many different types of information to provide support for their ideas,' said Jay Bhatt, Liaison Librarian and one of the co-creators of the event. 'They're using patents, standards, newspaper briefs, journal articles - all of this great information they got in the Libraries.'

2017 PITCH Competition participants pose for a photo in the Bookmark Cafe after the competition.

Bhatt created and organized the PITCH Competition along with Daniel Christe, a fifth-year design & modeling lead student in the Theoretical & Applied Mechanics Group at Drexel.

'These days it's no longer what you know, it's about what you can do with what you know,' Christe said. 'The Libraries plays a pivotal role in transforming students from knowledge consumers to knowledge integrators and creators, and it was really important that we collaborate on this competition. Going forward, I want to see this competition scaled to a far larger event, coupled with investment and startup mentorship opportunities.'

A panel of three local entrepreneurs and businesspeople judged the presentations, awarding first-, second- and third-place prizes to the top presentations. The judging panel included Robert Loring, Entrepreneur in Residence at the School of Biomedical Engineering; Hugh P. Johnson, Senior Associate for the Institute for Energy & the Environment; and Zach Hatcheson, Technical Support Analyst for Comcast Corporation.

Daniel Navin, a mechanical engineering student at Drexel, won first-place for his entry, the Ballistic Curtain Cordon System. A type of security system, the Ballistic Curtain Cordon System consists of a concealable, ceiling-mounted curtain that is designed to interrupt a shooter's ability to inflict mass casualties. 

Second place went to Daniel Dizadelcastillo, also a senior mechanical engineering student, for his company, MANTA Technologies (Multipurpose Autonomous Navigator & Trash Annihilator). The MANTA is a small vessel that reduces water pollution by collecting and removing trash and other debris from the surface of a body of water.  

Third place was awarded to Global Health LLC, created by Chiranjiv Chevli and Prakruti Talreja, both graduate students in the School of Biomedical Engineering. Global Health LLC is a medical tourism service provider that partners with leading medical institutions and pioneer surgeons to make overseas medical treatment comfortable, safe and enjoyable.

All PITCH Competition participants were invited to attend the next Philly Makers Meetup - a monthly gathering of local makers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, research institutions and government officials - to share and discuss their ideas with members of Philadelphia's vibrant tech scene. The March 2017 meeting is being led and organized by Drexel faculty and students, including Daniel Christe and Charles Sacco, Director of the Baida Institute.