In June, NextFlex co-hosted FlexFactor Finals: Silicon Valley events with the San Jose City Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) at both San Jose City and Evergreen Valley Colleges (SJCC and EVC). During the Finals, teams of students who participated in FlexFactor during the Spring 2018 semester were chosen to advance to the Finals event, where they delivered streamlined versions of their original pitches to panels that included SJCECCD Chancellor Deborah Budd, NextFlex Executive Director Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson, NextFlex Director of Business Development Ed Hendricks, EVC Dean of Business and Workforce Development Dr. Maniphone Dickerson, and local business owner Charles Spencer.
Teams who participated in the Finals represented multiple local schools and districts, including Willow Glen, Lincoln, Gunderson, Overfelt, and Santa Teresa High Schools. Product ideas included a bioluminescent-based disease detection patch; a glucose-monitoring implant; an advanced pacemaker; LiDAR-based glasses for the visually impaired; a wearable emergency epinephrine injector; an advanced car lock; a SIDS-detection device; a food waste prevention product; a diabetes monitoring band; and a shock-absorbing helmet.
The solutions presented during the well-rehearsed final pitches represented exciting answers to some of today’s most challenging problems. FlexFactor’s immersive learning platform teaches students to navigate complex problems by guiding them through a sophisticated, team-based thought process that focuses on critical thinking, creative reasoning, and logic. Using a series of touchpoints with mentors, higher education, and industry, students emerge from the program with a wholistic understanding of how to approach and solve multi-step problems that do not have pre-defined solutions, and how to communicate their ideas and findings to a broader audience.
Top team finishers at the SJCC event were: Willow Glen High School for their Bioluminescence (Lumi) product, Willow Glen High School for their PacerPatch product, and Willow Glen High School for their Internal Diabetic Monitor product. Top team award getters at the EVG event were: Santa Teresa High School for the G-Watch and G-Band, Santa Teresa High School for their Shock Absorbing Helmet, Overfelt High School for their SaveFoods product, and Gunderson High School for their Wearable Emergency Epinephrine Injector. Teams were awarded trophies and earned bragging rights among their peers. Parents and teachers in attendance were duly impressed with the technical sophistication of the product ideas.
NextFlex Executive Director Dr. Malcolm J. Thompson said, “When you expose students to the breadth of potential demonstrated by advanced technologies and ask them to use these concepts to solve a problem, its truly amazing what they can do. This program captures the imagination of young people and inspires them to creatively solve some of the bigger issues the world is facing. This opens up possibilities for their futures.”
NextFlex connects students and schools with industry in ways that motivates the next generation to pursue opportunities that will allow them to solve some of the biggest social, health, and environmental challenges of our time.
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