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DRACO Catalyst

DRACO Catalyst is our newest initiative aimed at creating a robust statewide network of students interested in engineering, design, and business competitions!

We are seeking student leaders who are interested in developing ideas and competing in local competitions within South Dakota and take innovative ideas to the global stage!

  • Faculty Advisor: Matt Willard
    Student Ambassador: Megan Habberman
    Open for applications
    Augustana University
    Faculty Advisor: Matt Willard
    Student Ambassador: Megan Habberman
    Open for applications
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    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
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    Black Hills State University
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    Dakota State University
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    Dakota Wesleyan University
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    Lake Area Technical College
    Faculty Advisor: Accepting Applications
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
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    Mitchell Technical College
    Faculty Advisor: Accepting Applications
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    Northern State University
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    Ogalala Lakota College
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    Sinte Gleska University
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    Sissiton Wahpeton College
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    Sitting Bull College
    Faculty Advisor: Accepting Applications
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
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    Student Ambassador: John Barbour, Morgan Vagts
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    South Dakota School of Mines and Technology
    Faculty Advisor: Accepting Applications
    Student Ambassador: John Barbour, Morgan Vagts
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  • Faculty Advisor: Saikat Basu
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
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    South Dakota State University
    Faculty Advisor: Saikat Basu
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
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    Southeast Technical Institute
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    University of Sioux Falls
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  • Faculty Advisor: Meghann Jarchow
    Student Ambassador: Lily Provenzano, Meredith King, Megan McCray
    Open for applications
    University of South Dakota
    Faculty Advisor: Meghann Jarchow
    Student Ambassador: Lily Provenzano, Meredith King, Megan McCray
    Open for applications
    Team Name Team Lead Team Size Description Accepting Members
    Competition: Hult Prize
    Fomeno Brigit Blote 3 An app & website that offers the easiest thrifting experience yet! Type in the clothing item you are looking for and Fomeno will find it instantly through our online thrift store partners! Here at Fomeno we want to make thrifting, the most sustainable way to purchase clothing, simple. Here at Fomeno we want to make thrifting, the most sustainable way to purchase clothing, simple. No
  • Faculty Advisor: Kelsey Murray
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
    Open for applications
    Western Dakota Tech
    Faculty Advisor: Kelsey Murray
    Student Ambassador: Accepting Applications
    Open for applications

Competitions You Should Know

South Dakota Governor’s Giant Vision Competition

 

The Hult Prize Competition

VentureWell’s Competitions

Society for Biomaterials Education Challenge

South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Competitive Entrepreneurial Opportunity (CEO) Competition

University of South Dakota’s Invent-to-Innovate Business Model Competition

 

Environmental Protection Agency’s People, Prosperity, and the Planet (P3) Student Design Competition

American Society of Agriculture and Biological Engineers – Student Competitions

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University Biotech and Healthcare Case Competition

Interested in getting involved? Apply as a Catalyst Ambassador, a Catalyst Team Member, a Catalyst Faculty Partner, or sponsor a Catalyst Team!

 

CATALYST AMBASSADOR APPLICATION

Catalyst ambassadors get all of the benefits of being a member and serve as the connection between competition teams, their team leaders, and DRACO.  You will experience working directly with DRACO members and partners, organizing and sharing workshop information, facilitating team meetings, and participating in networking opportunities with our business partners.

 

CATALYST TEAM MEMBER APPLICATION

Catalyst members get the opportunity to participate in various skill-building workshops and connect with competition teams at different schools across the state.  You’ll receive feedback from DRACO members around your ideas and guidance from previous competition winners/qualifiers.  And of course, get a chance to share your innovative ideas with your peers and beyond to show that you are more than just a student!

 

CATALYST Faculty partner

University, college, or technical school faculty members often engage with students to apply their knowledge in a real-world setting. We believe student competitions are an ideal platform. As the Catalyst network of Ambassadors, Members, Faculty Partners, and Supporters continues to grow, this database will serve as a resource for students and organizations looking to form teams. Catalyst Faculty Partners are an important component of Catalyst since they work directly with students. Consider partnering with DRACO to direct talented students with innovative ideas down the right path of development!

 

SUPPORT A CATALYST TEAM

Supporters of Catalyst Teams get to empower students to pursue innovative and energized research on a national and global stage, bringing awareness to their work! By supporting a team, you enable students in South Dakota to participate in unique and inspiring workshops, focused on building their career readiness. Your commitment helps students to create business plans from the down-home to the world-changing!

Incite

To rouse, provoke, or inflame; to encourage a group to take some action or to express some feeling.

The Catalyst Initiative starts with raising awareness and inciting students to participate in something new that challenges their personal status quo. Our goal is to incite action and encourage students to break the framework and create a pathway for them to realize their potential. To create a decentralized model and allow as many students as possible to pursue their own leadership and project ideas, Catalyst Ambassadors throughout the state will act as conduits between student team leaders on campuses, industry mentors, team sponsors, and the DRACO Catalyst team.

Ignite

To catch fire to or cause to catch fire; to excite, set in motion.

South Dakota is a unique state in which our resources and student talents are spread across a large geographic area. Our goal is to ignite students’ passions for engaging opportunities to address real-world issues, achieve social impacts, and deeper connections throughout the state. Based on our Team’s research of student involvement in South Dakota-based competition, we anticipate that the Catalyst Initiative will have a substantial impact on student involvement in local and national competitions. We hope that our Catalyst Initiative sets in motion a paradigm shift in student mentality that encourages them to seek meaningful experiences beyond the classroom and the laboratory. It takes courage to share your idea, to take the lead, and to put your time and effort into something new, but through the Catalyst Initiative, we want you to know you are not alone!

Inspire

To breathe in,  spur on, motivate, enliven, exalt influence, guide; to bring about.

To be inspired is great, but to inspire is an honor. Our Catalyst Team brings knowledge and experience from diverse backgrounds to inspire one another. We are combining our skills and abilities to build a first-of-its kind resource to connect and inspire students to reach higher, step out of their comfort zone, and create something new! We believe that this initiative to incite students to participate in something new, will ignite their passion for creating and innovating will be a catalyst for lasting inspiration that will resonate across the state.

Meet Our DRACO Catalyst Team

Communication Director – Manaal Ali

Manaal joined DRACO earlier this year to pursue her passion for communications and community engagement; expand upon the skills she gained through her previous work experiences, and to spotlight DRACO’s important work to South Dakotans across the state.

As DRACO’s communications specialist, she is tasked with growing DRACO’s influence on social media platforms, cultivating community engagement, and fostering a passion for innovation among students.

Project Leader – Ty Vuong, M.A.

Ty holds a Master’s degree in Human Factor Psychology from the University of South Dakota (USD), where he is currently a doctoral student and adjunct instructor. He will be connecting with South Dakotans on an individual-basis, cultivating business relationships to build stronger entrepreneurs and a stronger local entrepreneurship community, with a goal of enhancing individuality and uniqueness within each individual interaction.

Outreach Coordinator – Mikala Fjerstad

Mikala recently graduated from South Dakota State University (SDSU) with degrees in both Mechanical Engineering and Spanish as well as minors in Biomedical Engineering and Mathematics. She will begin graduate school this fall in pursuit of a Masters Degree in Biomedical Engineering and will be specializing in Sports Biomechanics. She will be working on the DRACO Catalyst team to assist in facilitating new relationships with educational and professional institutions, bringing an engineering perspective to the multidisciplinary team!