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Center for Student Innovation

Pitch Competition Winners

Six students were named winners of the What’s Your Problem Pitch Competition sponsored by the Booth Library Center for Student Innovation.

The Pitch Competition invited underrepresented, undergraduate student teams to share ideas and technologies that will solve a specific problem. Each team pitched its idea of how to solve a problem that they identified and described using the resources that are currently available in or could be purchased for the library’s CSI.

The winners are:

  • Rhonda Rogers and Raven Ramsey, who are majoring in Construction Management, won first place for their pitch, CSI Solutions, which presented ideas for improvements in the new CSI at Booth Library.
  • Kayla Crowder and Jerimiah Boyd-Johnson, who are majoring in Political Science, won second place for their pitch, Diplomacy Lab, which presented plans to establish a Diplomacy Lab at EIU
  • Amayah Farley, who is majoring in Broadcast Journalism, won third place for her pitch, Fixing Food Insecurity, which proposed the creation of an app to benefit the planned food pantry on the EIU campus.
  • Esperanza Murillo, who is majoring in Health Administration, won fourth place for her pitch, Victors App, which proposed the creation of an app to connect people who may be feeling isolated as a result of the pandemic.

All students will be awarded scholarships, and additional funds will be used to purchase technology and materials to support their innovative ideas. Funding for the pitch competition was provided by the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund.

The Pitch Competition was coordinated by Zach Newell, dean of Library Services; Newton Key, professor of History and director of the Faculty Development and Innovation Center; and Catherine Polydore, assistant dean of the Honors College, professor of Counseling and Higher Education, and former chair of the EIU Making Excellence Inclusive Committee.

“The judging team was amazed by the quality and creativity of the pitch competition entries,” Newell said. “Our students certainly know what hurdles and challenges our campus community is facing, and they have innovative ideas about how to solve them.”

The top three winning entries are now part of EIU’s institutional repository, The Keep, found at


Funding provided in whole or in part by the Education Stabilization Fund Program Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (CFDA No. 84.425C).

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