Update (5/6/16): The UO/OSU team was selected as one of three top finalists. They are now competing against Babson College and Northwestern University for the coveted paid internship with Toyota. Public voting accounts for 30% of the final decision, so make sure to cast your vote before polls close on May 8!
An Oregon team is advancing in the Toyota + Net Impact Next Generation Mobility Challenge and could win a trip to the fall Net Impact Conference and a paid summer internship from Toyota.
Carolyn Taclas ’17, an operations and business analytics major at the Lundquist College, became involved as an undergraduate member of the UO chapter of Net Impact, an international nonprofit with the mission of making a social and environmentally sustainable impact in businesses and the world. Joining Taclas from UO were James Greisen ’16, a product design major and business administration minor, and Keala Verigan ’17, a journalism major with a double minor in business administration and computer information technology. Their fourth teammate was Sydney Quinton-Cox ’17, a biological engineering major at Oregon State University (OSU).
The UO’s Toyota + Net Impact Next Generation Mobility Challenge took place March 5 at the Ford Alumni Center. Net Impact’s senior manager of impact programs and event host Lily Mathews said more than 90 students applied to be a part of the UO challenge, which limited participants to 40. Most participants were UO students, with a few traveling from OSU.
Entries were judged on a number of criteria that have equal weight:
- Clarity of challenge
- Social impact
- Clarity of target user
- Clarity of plan to make the ideal reality
Because the Toyota + Net Impact Mobility Challenge has multiple stages, Taclas couldn’t disclose many details about her team’s submission.
“I can say that we were presented with profiles of everyday people with their own unique transportation issues,” she said. “My team chose a profile and created a solution that addressed the main problems the persona faced. After we had expanded on the idea, we collaborated together to create a rapid prototype of what that solution might look like.”
Taclas explained that the competition has three phases: the submission challenge, the semi-finalist team challenge, and the finalist team challenge. The submission challenge was also held nationally at 15 other campuses.
As winners of the submission challenge at UO, Taclas and her teammates had three weeks to refine and expand on their idea. They then turned it for the semi-finalist round at the end of March.
If they win the semi-finalist team challenge, the UO/OSU team and three other winning teams will proceed to the finalist team phase and win a trip to the 2016 Net Impact Conference in Philadelphia in November. If the team is chosen as the national challenge winner, it will receive a paid internship from Toyota that will start this summer.
“It’s exciting because the internship will be tailored to each of our interests and availability,” Taclas said. “Now, we are waiting to see if we will be selected as a finalist team. If we are chosen, we will refine and revise our proposal one more time and turn this one in by May 9. Our team is very excited and hopeful about our submission.”