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April 1, 2013

UConn offers entrepreneurial students grants

Photo | Rebecca Harris Debbie Carroll works with a UConn student on an IDEA grant.

The University of Connecticut is offering $4,000 in grants to undergraduate students to fund an entrepreneurial idea or research project.

“This is not just for honor students, this is an opportunity for any student who has an idea to make their idea a reality,” said Debbie Carroll, advisor and program specialist for the UConn Office of Undergraduate Research.

Students graduating no earlier than May 2014 submitted their applications on April 1 for the IDEA grants, which stands for imagine, develop, engage, apply. A selection committee of faculty and directors of UConn programs will winners in May, looking for projects feasible within the budget and timeline set up by the student.

Beginning in the fall, winners will be given $4,000 to fund their project, and they will spent at least 140 hours working on their project for the fall semester. By spring, students must be ready to disseminate their work and present their project at the Frontiers Undergraduate Research Poster Exhibition.

This program is different from other grants because it is student designed and student led, Carroll said.

UConn sophomore Steve Cartagena is applying for the grant to expand a club called Original Ensembles he started as a senior at Central High School in Bridgeport. Since the founding of the club in 2010, he has worked with his high school to grow the performing arts clubs where students can come together and perform for their peers and families three times a year.

“With many public schools cutting funding for the arts in high schools, clubs like Original Ensembles are more important than ever,” Cartagena said. “The ability to have the courage to get up on stage and perform in front of people is invaluable to a student and a teenager, and I want to provide that for as many students as possible.”

With the funds, Cartagena said he would pay for security for Original Ensemble's concerts, subsidize equipment for performers, and help students get instruments.

UConn junior Peter Logue wants a grant to film and produce a documentary film in Munich.

Logue, who has researched the Holocaust and World War II, came across a story of seven students and their professor from the University of Munich who led an anti-Nazi movement in 1943 called The White Rose. Logue believes American children should know more about the event, inspiring his idea to visit the University of Munich to interview students how The White Rose impacts them today.

Logue would use the IDEA grant to help fund his trip to Munich.

“Anyone can re-write this story, but I want to get a unique perspective by interviewing current students at the University of Munich and explore what The White Rose means to Germans today,” Logue said.

IDEA grants are available for students to complete research initiatives, such as UConn junior Jake Sippel.

Sippel, an academic technologies and communities major, wants to develop a creative research and development initiative to cover the use of Apple iPad in K-12 classrooms.

Sippel's idea is to work closely with Storrs area schools implementing iPads into their curriculum. He wants to hold workshops to help these schools expand their knowledge and skills in implementing the iPad into the classroom.

“The management and deployment end of distributing iPads as a learning tool is more complicated than just handing a bunch of iPads to students,” Sippel said. “There are a lot of logistics and planning that goes into this that I want to develop and improve.”

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