Program shows off technology skills

Hannah Fermanich

The NMU Technology Innovation Award for Students program provides students with an opportunity to showcase their skills in creating new technology to be used in the classroom.

The program encourages students to find innovative and creative ways to use the technology of today with their academic studies.

It gives students a chance to build up their resumes and also earn some extra cash. Up to two awards of $750 each will be given across three categories.

“It is an opportunity to showcase how much technology our students are interacting with and how much further they can push the tools available,” said Keith Ellis, associate professor of graphic communication.

There are three categories that students can submit their work to. The technological sophistication category is comprised of how to most effectively explore new technology.

The learning improvement category focuses on the development of technology that will aid classrooms or education in general.

The final category is for anything that doesn’t fit into the first two categories, according to Ellis.

“We didn’t want to limit the opportunities available to students so we will review anything,” Ellis said. “It should be focused on classwork, not outside projects or current jobs.”

In the past, students have submitted a variety of work ranging from the innovative use of measurement tools to new and different software programs.

“Last year’s winners, of which we had three, developed a portable voltage device, used force platforms and videos to study ACL problems in athletes and reworked a computer mouse into a glove for use in an art project,” Ellis said.

The Technology Innovation Award has been a part of NMU since the TLC initiative came to campus in the fall of 2000.

Since then, the program has taken place every winter semester and has just recently been updated last year.

Student work is judged based on how innovative the new technology is and the originality involved in its creation.

“I know this sounds circular, but if it creates a sense of wonder in us, it’s usually a good indicator,” Ellis said.

The deadline for students to apply to this year’s program is 5 p.m. on Friday, March 9. All currently enrolled NMU students or student teams are able to apply.

Each student or team may only submit an application in one category by email.

Students must complete the application form, provide a letter of support from one faculty or staff member for the technology, and provide supporting materials involved with the project.

The student winners of the project will receive their awards during the Creative Works Day on Thursday, April 12.

The winners are required to present their work during Creative Works Day and may also be asked to present their work to the Board of Trustees, according to the NMU grant and research website.

“It is more of a celebration of our students,” Ellis said. “There will certainly be some competition this year, based on the number of inquiries I have received.”

For more information about the Technology Innovation Award program or for details on how to apply, visit