GPRC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Team Profile: Team #2 (NBDC)

GPRC Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge Team Profile: Team #2 (NBDC)

L-R: First-year engineering students Zachary Fournier, Teigan Scott and Caitlin Peebles show off their proposed redesigns for NBDC’s shaker tube.

GPRC’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge is well underway for the seven students who are competing this year.

In this GPRIN-sponsored challenge, teams of students work collaboratively with a business in the community to tackle a professional project or identify solutions to a challenge faced by the business.

The first team is working with the Growing the North business conference to develop a promotional video; the second is working with GPRC’s National Bee Diagnostic Centre to improve the design of a piece of diagnostic equipment.

Introducing Team #2: GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre – Shaker Tube

When first-year engineering students Teigan Scott, Zachary Fournier and Caitlin Peebles received their task for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, they were excited by the possibilities.

GPRC National Bee Diagnostic Centre (NBDC) asked the students to redesign the tubes in their laboratory benchtop shaker, a piece of equipment used to remove varroa mites (a common honeybee pest) from bees. Bee samples are submerged in ethanol and shaken in shaker tubes to separate the mites from their hosts. Researchers can then evaluate the severity of the infestation by conducting a varroa count. Students were tasked with coming up with some ideas for improving the design of the shaker tube in a way that was cost- and time-effective.

Solving NBDC’s design problem required a solid foundation of knowledge about the shaker mechanism and about the solutions other laboratories had implemented. “I think for me the coolest part has been doing the research and seeing how it’s already being done,” said Peebles. “I like to look at things and see why they do what they do.”

Scott, Fournier and Peebles were surprised by what they found. Even many top-notch research labs did not seem to have sophisticated solutions to the problem the students were facing. The team discovered that many laboratories used simple, homemade contraptions to remove mites, often constructed from disposable coffee cups or peanut butter jars. “One of the tools other researchers have used was literally just a plastic cup with holes poked through the bottom,” said Fournier. “I saw that and thought, ‘I can do better!’”

The team’s design had to be leak- and rust-proof and made from materials that would not react with ethanol. Cost and convenience were key factors in the design process.

After much research and a lengthy trial-and-error process, the team has come up with four potential designs for improvement of the shaker tube. They are now in the midst of creating prototypes using GPRC’s 3D printer.

With competition day approaching fast and a top prize of $3,000 on the line, Team #2 hopes judges will agree their designs are “the bees’ knees”!

 

Teams will have the opportunity to present their challenge solutions on January 22, when a Challenge winner will be announced.

Read about Team #1’s experience here.

New GPRIN Coordinator Can’t Wait to Help Students with Innovative Ideas

New GPRIN Coordinator Can’t Wait to Help Students with Innovative Ideas

My name is Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo, and I can’t wait to meet you!

I’m the new GPRIN/Student Projects Coordinator at GPRC. In a nutshell, that means that if students have big idea they’re not sure what to do with, they can come to me for help.

GPRIN, or the Grande Prairie Regional Innovation Network, is a system of support services for innovators, entrepreneurs, and small businesses in Grande Prairie and area. The network has partnered with GPRC to provide services for innovative student projects here at the College. My job is to help turn ideas into reality, connecting innovative students to the resources they need to succeed.

My passion is helping people move their innovative ideas forward. I’ve worked as a financial adviser and educator for small businesses and entrepreneurs at institutions around the world, from Nigeria and Cameroon to Halifax and Ottawa. Working with small businesses is both challenging and exciting. Often, people would come to me with a great idea but not the first clue about how to make it happen. My first piece of advice to them is always to write it down. So you have an idea? What are your goals? What challenges are you facing? How can you anticipate and overcome them? Put it all down on paper and come up with a plan.

Transitioning into the world of post-secondary education is a dream come true for me. It’s the intersection of all my passions rolled into one job. I love research—I’m a curious person, and I feel inspired when I meet new people and learn about their passions. A lot of students do not realize that research is not just for scientists; it’s for everyone. Whether you’re studying music, business, art – whatever it is, you can become involved with research that can change your community and even your world.

We live in a world where innovation is key, and we are constantly needing to come up with new ways of doing things. The world is evolving and becoming smaller—a true global village—thanks to technology. We need to keep up with that pace to sustain a better future. Our students have a big role to play in making sure we don’t get complacent and are always looking forward.

If I were to give advice to students, I would tell them to remember that your passions and hobbies are what will change your college, your community, and maybe even your world. I want to help students integrate their passions and skills into their course of study, help them feel fulfilled, and bring their ideas to where they can make a difference.

I’m excited to be here at GPRC and GPRIN, but what I’m most excited about is the potential of GPRC students. I can’t wait to empower them to build a bright future.

Working on a research project? Thinking about starting a business? Need help getting started? Visit Ejibola:

Ejibola Adetokunbo-Taiwo

Coordinator, GPRIN & Student Projects

Research & Innovation

Office E401-0, Grande Prairie Campus

etaiwo@gprc.ab.ca

780-357-7733