Beaver IST instructor a finalist in the University's innovation challenge

MONACA, Pa. — In November, Information Sciences and Technology Instructor Ashu Kumar hosted and judged the Penn State Beaver Lion’s Den — a student idea competition that required teams to pitch their innovative business proposals to a panel of experts.

This month, he’ll be on the other side of the table.

Kumar has been named a finalist in the University’s 2017 Open Innovation Challenge. During the challenge, which takes place at the Symposium for Teaching and Learning with Technology on March 18, five finalists will face off in a series of fast-paced, five-minute idea presentations. The symposium’s 500 attendees will vote for their favorite entry, which will then be nurtured into development by a team of experts.

Kumar developed the idea and then brought in IST students Evan McStay and Sumanth Sriramoju to help further it, a voice-enabled classroom assistant that could — conceivably — take attendance and impartially call on students during class discussions.

Kumar will be competing against:

  • Sherry Robinson, an associate professor of business at Penn State Hazleton who will present “Game App for Review with Risk-based Scoring.”
  • Nicholas Rowland, an associate professor of sociology, environmental studies, and science and technology studies at Penn State Altoona who will present "Supporting Engaged Scholarship with Technology."
  • Scott Yabiku, a professor of sociology and demography at University Park who will present “Improve Your Teaching Every Day.”
  • Lindsey Simon-Jones, an associate professor of English at Penn State Fayette who will present "Explore Your World: The Penn State Virtual Exploration Lab."

This is the third year for the Open Innovation Challenge. Past winners focused on personalizing shared learning spaces and using virtual reality to train teachers for meaningful engagement with their students.

Kumar’s participation in the challenge is no surprise to colleagues. Since joining the Beaver campus in July, Kumar has helped to spearhead a culture of innovation, developing the Lion’s Den and sitting on a steering committee that hopes to develop a county innovation hub.

Media Contacts: 

April Johnston

Work Phone: 
724-773-3816

Public Relations Director, Penn State Beaver

Last Updated March 01, 2017