BEAR Innovation 2022 Highlights
On Sunday April 10th, the U-Imagine Center for Integrative and Entrepreneurial Studies held the 8th annual Bear Innovation Competition. Bear Innovation inspires Ursinus college students to harness their unique interests and develop them into functional, novel impact projects. This year’s theme was ‘Meeting the Moment: Unique Ideas that Are Needed to Solve Problems and Build a Better World.” This year 10 teams (12 students total) participated the competition.
The 2022 BEAR Innovation Competition activities were led by Manning Smith, a U-Imagine Student Scholar. He oversaw a team of student workers who organized, promoted, and conducted all administrative activities leading up to and including the competition. Activities began in February and culminated in April, giving students the opportunity to work with their teammates, mentors, our Entrepreneur in Residence, Maureen Cumpstone. The U-Imagine Center hosted information sessions, open hours, workshops, and consultative appointments to prepare student teams for the competition. Topics included creating the perfect pitch, making a business model canvas, and rapid prototyping.
Jen Crompton - Founder of Something Creative
Our marketing consultant service includes a comprehensive consult to help identify gaps and digital marketing opportunities. We offer the results in a comprehensive report that includes a content analysis and project plan with timelines a cost analysis. The individualized plans are made up of quality services that will help you get there quickly and smoothly. Learn more about Something Creative
Rob Gilfillan - President of Cenero
Cenero is a service-focused audio visual, unified communications and IT solutions provider dedicated to the intelligent integration of products and services to create high-value solutions for our clients that improve communication and efficiency. Learn more about Cenero
Quentin Altemose ’18
Scientific researcher specializing in biology, physics, and biomedical engineering. Currently, he is on hiatus as PhD student conducting research at Cornell University, but his research focuses on protein synthesis and the use of proteins for drug delivery and antimicrobial applications. He is also the CEO and founder of Spirochete Brewing Inc, a venture focusing on producing novel food and beverage products backed by his scientific innovation, as well as exciting new technologies for the industry and beyond. Watch the Keynote Presentation Here
The competition continues to engage Ursinus alumni and outside experts. This year’s judges were Jen Cohen Crompton ’05, President/Owner,Something Creative, Chris Biddle ’85, Chief Executive Officer, BCG Alpha, Brandon Dowd ’18, Publisher, Middletown Media, Amy Pawloski, President, Strategic Versatility. Our keynote speaker was Quentin Altemose ’18, CEO/Founder, Spirochete Brewing Inc.
Meet The Winners!
First Place ($3,500): The Bridge Foundation
Trevor Mislan ’23
Major: Environmental Studies
With the ongoing poverty crisis happening around the world, Trevor Mislan and his team at The Bridge Foundation are aiming to develop a self-sustaining company in order to tackle poverty. With these businesses being put into different communities, not only will there be an economic epicenter for citizens, but there will be educational services, healthcare, housing, and employment available for those struggling.
Second Place ($2,500): Mia Crocs
Maia Peele ’23 and Julia Paiano ’23
Major: Anthropology & Sociology, Media & Communications
Backed on the values of black women in business, Maia Peele and Julia Paiano created Mai Crocs, a business aimed at allowing customers to express their identity through the customization of Crocs as well as other products.
Third Place ($1,500): Green Plane
Sung Kim ’23
Major: BCMB and Philosophy
After noticing the problems with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, Sung Kim has set out to develop an atmosphere cleansing device that will aid in the ridding of CO2 from our air. Project Green Plane is an ambitious idea that involves attaching a direct air capturing device to commercial planes to collect carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This collected gas will then be taken and, through a process called artificial photosynthesis, turned into hydrogen fuel.
Best Oral Presentation ($500): Current Gear
Connor Evangelisto ’25
From a decorated high school swimmer to an ambitious entrepreneur, Connor Evangelisto’s business Current Gear is striving to offer swimmers improved training equipment. Popular training equipment made by big corporations are found to be difficult to use and also irritable on joints. Connor’s innovative design on both kickboards and buoys allows swimmers to comfortably train as well as train more productively.
Ready-Set-Go Prize #1 ($1,000): ECIM
Aaron Diamond ’22
Major: Media & Communications
With the digital world dominating marketing, Aaron Diamond and his team sensed an opportunity to create a business venture out of the new world of advertising. East Coast Influencer Management is a marketing and media company that provides a wide variety of services to clients in order to promote their image and brand to the masses. Already paired with a multi-million-dollar hotel company, ECIM is ready to take on any business’s needs to put them at the top of their industry.
Ready-Set-Go Prize #2 ($1,000): Shepherd’s Theater
Mekha Varghese ’23
Major: BCMB and Art
Raised by immigrant parents, Mekha Varghese has been given the opportunity to connect with her culture in a unique way through the arts. Seeing what an important role this has played in her life, Mekha has set out to create a space where others can experience the same connection as well as education that she was able to receive. Shepherd’s Theatre offers communities a safe platform to express their own cultures and traditions. Incorporating a theater, community center, and a market place, Shepherd’s Theatre would be a cultural epicenter for all communities.
Fuel My Fire
Mayleigh Rickey ’25
Majors: Applied Economics
With the health and fitness industry on the rise, Mayleigh Rickey aims to insert herself into the technological space with her app FuelMyFire. FuelMyFire is a smartphone app the connects to the apple watch to give personal dietary and supplemental recommendations. Additionally, this subscription based service gives a no-stress shopping experience to customers looking to transform their health and fitness journey.
Jack Shimer ’25 and Jacob Connelly ’25
Majors: Applied Economics and Applied Economics
With big career and life decisions seeming daunting throughout college, it is hard to find answers to any questions revolving around these ideas. Ursinus Men’s Lacrosse players Jack Shimer and Jake Connelly aim to tackle this problem with their app Spark. Spark is a one stop shop for college students to ask questions to alumni mentors about life after school. With a more personal relationship built on this app than on others like it, Spark allows students to connect with real life mentors in a manner that has yet to be seen in the digital world.
Matthew Sy ’23
Major: Applied Economics
From his experience in Real-Estate, Matthew Sy has developed Anchor Point, an app to make buying homes a digital service. With in-person buying usually driving prices up from the many different entities involved in this process, Anchor Point allows clients to go through this process all at their fingertips.
Jewelry For Humanity
Christine Heren ’22
After the recent humanitarian crisis in Ukraine took shape, Christine Heren wanted desperately to help those affected by this tragedy. She does so by making and selling jewelry with the aim of being able to raise money to provide medical supplies for Ukraine. Products include elastic bracelets, wire bracelets, necklaces, and earrings.
Thank You to Our U-Imagine Team
The 2022 BEAR Innovation Competition activities were led byManning Smith,’23 (Math and Computer Science) a U-Imagine student ambassador. He oversaw a team of students who organized, promoted, and conducted all administrative activities leading up to and including the competition. Activities began in February and culminated in April, giving students the opportunity to work with their teammates, mentors and our Entrepreneur in Residence, Maureen Cumpstone. The U-Imagine Center hosted information sessions, open hours, workshops, and consultative appointments to prepare student teams for the competition. Topics included creating the perfect pitch, making a business model canvas, and rapid prototyping.
Rob Wrzesniewski ’91
Rob leads the Global Solutions team for SEI’s Private Banking Unit. He is responsible for the strategic vision, development, and implementation of SEI’s Global Banking Solutions. His teams reside in Oaks, PA and London, UK.
Rob joined SEI in 1992 and has held numerous positions across the organization. Prior to his current role, Rob spent 12 years leading the Service Delivery Platform for SEI’s Advisor Network, managing the service, operations, reporting,and technology infrastructures that support SEI’s advisor clients and their end consumers.
Judge Amy, giving Connor Evangelisto his check!
Meet our 2022 Competitors
Judge Amy, giving Connor Evangelisto his check!
Connor Evangelisto with Judge Amy Pawloski
Judge Brandon Dowd with Mekha Varghese
Judge Brandon Dowd with Mekha Varghese & Aaron Diamond
Judge, Chris Biddle with Seongchan Kim
Jen Crompton with Maia and Julia
Trevor receiving his check for 1st Place
Trevor receiving his check for 1st Place
Trevor Mislan with all of the Judges
The U-Imagine Center Team
BEAR Innovation Judges
Matt '23 presenting Anchor Point
Rob Wrzesniewski '91 asking a question to a presenter
Christine '22 presenting Jewelry for Humanity
Mayleigh '25 presenting Fuel My Fire
Rob Wrzesniewski '91 mentoring with students
Jack '25 & Jacob '25 presenting Spark Formal
Judges Jen and Brandon
Watch the Full Competition