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FlexFactor® Pilot Programs in Southern California Produce Outstanding Results

By Courtney Power, Workforce Development Portfolio Manager, NextFlex

Over the course of the 2021 spring semester, new FlexFactor adopter Cypress College in Cypress, California, took a bold approach by implementing the program via three different channels including high school, college, and after-school cohorts. Led by Dr. Henry Hua, Dean of Business and CIS, in collaboration with college and high school faculty, the program sessions were entirely conducted virtually due to the pandemic. Despite the virtual format, student results and presentations were extraordinary, demonstrating impressive levels of creativity, agility, communication, and teamwork. Through the program student teams leveraged new learning about emerging technologies to provide innovative solutions to everyday problems. The top teams from each class took on individual, societal and global problems with their unique product designs.

Students from Rancho Alamitos High School (Garden Grove Unified School District) in their dual enrollment Principles of Management class analyzed a range of medical products and identified a sustainability problem within the insulin market. Led by instructors Sylvia Duran and John Dupuy, students learned that over four billion insulin patches are discarded each year, raising serious environmental concerns. They then redesigned the traditional insulin patch to provide a cost-effective and ecological solution. Their Ecose Patch uses a flexible hybrid electronic sensor to monitor glucose levels but is constructed primarily of biodegradable materials.

The Cypress College students in Professor Jeannie Jo’s Introduction to Business class tackled an issue many college students and adults battle daily, namely, maintaining energy levels throughout the day!  Their Snooze N’ Move product idea aims to disrupt the working world by reimagining how adults regulate their sleep and caffeine intake.  Snooze N’ Move is an automated patch that administers melatonin and caffeine to the user through dermal absorption at levels determined by continuous monitoring. Using a flexible hybrid electronic sensor and Bluetooth connection, the user can customize the amount of melatonin and caffeine released throughout the day and night to suit their needs.

Finally, the afterschool cohort was comprised of students from various surrounding high schools. Coached by NextFlex intern and Cypress College Transition Leader Samantha Wang, the top team developed a solar powered air filtration device that can be attached to city and highway signs.  Green Sign tackles climate change head on and at one of the largest sources: vehicular carbon emissions. This solar powered filtration and carbon collection device will alert local personnel when it is full or requires maintenance all while passively lowering air pollution.

Thorough research, perseverance in the face of educational challenges, and mindfulness of the greater good were not characteristics unique to these top groups but were displayed by all participating students. NextFlex is grateful to the entire Cypress College team for bringing FlexFactor to the local community, and we are especially appreciative of Dean Hua, Stephanie Teer, Director of Educational Partnerships and Dual Enrollment, and Stephanie Flores, Special Project Manager, Educational Partnerships and Dual Enrolment for their guidance and support. Additionally, we thank Rancho Alamitos High School and Garden Grove Unified School District for allowing their students to participate in these pilot iterations. We look forward to working with you again!

For more information about NextFlex Learning Programs including FlexFactor, visit nextflex.us/learning-programs.

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