top of page

Student Semifinalist Teams and Celebrity Judges Announced for 2019 Innovators Cup

Competition challenges undergraduate students from across Virginia to develop innovative solutions to issues facing the commonwealth and the nation.


It’s time to celebrate student-driven entrepreneurship! Tom Tom and American Evolution are proud to announce their celebrity judge and student semifinalist selections for the American Evolution Innovators Cup competition. The annual contest, which showcases Virginia’s academic excellence, is set to go down on Friday, April 12 as part of the Summit & Festival. This year, 42 student teams representing 17 Commonwealth colleges and universities and two high schools have been selected to participate in the Cup. Below is a list of schools, team names, and team participants for the competition.


Commonwealth Challenge

College of William & Mary

CounterPoise: Paige Ash, Shireen Ardaiz, Joanne Tang

George Mason University

Neumi: Sai Gurrapu, Raheel Tauyyab, Jared Ponmakha, Faisal Sabri, Anika Maan

Hampton University

Island of Stability: Andrew Gray, Alexis Darko, Kyree Sullivan, Ebony Henderson, Ethan Thompson, Kaitlyn Williams

Liberty University

Vortix Apparel: Alan Sexten

Norfolk State University

Wearable Cells: Jada Oakes, Jasmine Blair, Christy Frederick

Old Dominion University

Bookworms: Girish Sreevatsan Nandakumar, Michael Osorio, Jose Pehovaz-Diez

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise

CrowdIQ: Hunter Hess

University of Lynchburg

Doctor Now: Nicholas Louvros, Stephanie Quaranto, Claudia Lopez Perez

University of Richmond

LifeCap: Kyle Sheehan, Andrei Buna

University of Virginia

PurPics: Victor Layne, Raahish Kalaria

Riley-The Social Network for the disability and illness community: Elizabeth Tikoyan, Mari Tikoyan

Shakti Apparel: Shafat Khan, Jane Hammaker

Minimally Invasive Spinal Technology, LLC: Alexander Singh, Rohit Rustagi, George Vithoulkas, Eric Taleghani

Truly OpenML: Daniel Knorr, Jaspreet Ranjit

Virginia Commonwealth University

Hyperloop at VCU: Arthur Chadwick, Matthew Kozak, Harrison Powers, David Burke, Nolan Burke

HeartComm: Carter Spiers, Alexa Lightfoot, Aysha Brown, Ben Bethard, Jonathon Headley

HeartSaver: Samuel Yohannes, Cameron Johnson, Rachel Judge

Guide-wire Clamp: Gabriel Davis, Hannah Wales, Shai-Keria Dwight, Veronica Dunbar, Samuel Baker

Virginia Military Institute (VMI)

Keydet Cap Aero: Patrick Fowler, Jonathan Chamberlain, James Seal, Bennett Johnson

Virginia State University

Natural Black Velvet: Destiny Hodges, Chanel Brown, Amaya Moses, Marcus Jones, Alex Wade, Diamond Fayton, Stacy Holloway, Unique Lotman, Tamia Reese, Alex Wade, Guy DeWeever

Virginia Tech

OcuBloc: Jeremy Myslowski, Demisha Porter, Aditya Sircar

QuickTech Medical: Jacob Merizian, Glenn Feit, Matthew Severance

GiraffeGear: Nick Tang,Thomas Kronenberg, Parker Smith

Rendyr: Kaelum Hasler, Martin Angst, Elijah Hodges, Liam Lawrence, Callan McGill, Reid Holbert



Reinventing High School Challenge

George Mason University

Turning High School Into Life School: Yassmin Salem

Germanna Community College

Spanish Dual-Immersion: James Caras, Kyle Close, Helen Padilla, Jose Diaz-Rivera, Bryan Palmeri, Andrew Pinney, Lydia Scoon-Rogers, Connie Wells

Albemarle High School

The SAGE Model: David Glover,Christian Opitz, Jack Kircher

Monticello High School

Innovative Humanities: Lucy Abell

James Madison University

The Bridge Project – Reinventing the High School Experience: C. Shea Burch, Cameron Robinson, Lexy Foor, Christian Caruso, Sina Shahcheraghi, Peyton Major

Roanoke College

Education for the Individual: Matthew Myers

COLLAB Learning Curriculum: Cameron Guernsey, Erik Stefanowicz, Grayson White, Trey Perry

Prepping for Your Gig: William White, Samuel Carpenter

Educating the Future: Kieran Ridgway, Ryan Denholm

University of Virginia

Pick-Me-Up: Sasha Duckworth, Srijay Kasturi, Emily Smith, Kurien Thomas

MetaCTF: Jake Smith, Mariah Kenny, Roman Bohuk, Marina Sanusi

InternLab: Yash Tekriwal, Kate McGinn

ReinventED’s Reinventing High School Kit: Melissa Wu, Keaton Wadzinski, Aditya Narayan

Project HD: Amanullah Waheed, Jake Wisnicki

Virginia Commonwealth University

Computer Science Curriculum for Richmond Public Schools: Wolfgang Schrader, Samuel Slocum, Michael Meilinger, Quinn Holt, Lindsey Smith, Aleksandr Podyachev

Global Classroom: Hu Zhai, Zhixin An

Virginia Tech

Redshift Education, Inc.: Maria Jernigan, Kiran Bagalkotkar, Taylor Carroll, Jooyoung Whang, Vince DiNardo, Mark Carman



A panel of industry expert judges will hear presentations from the Virginia student team finalists and select winners of the competition’s cash prizes totaling $60,000, as well as access to mentorship opportunities and investor meetings. The competition’s celebrity judges include:

  • Jason Feifer: Editor-in-Chief, Entrepreneur magazine; Host, Problem Solvers and Pessimists Archive podcasts

  • Henry Hipps: Deputy Director of the Education team, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

  • Karen Jackson: Former Secretary of Technology, Commonwealth of Virginia

  • David Hall: Partner, Rise of the Rest Seed Fund

  • Navin Thukkaram: Lead Investor and Board Member, SkyKick

  • Shawn Boehn: Chief Transformative Officer, Year Up


Presented in Partnership With



bottom of page