The winning international team was led by Georgia Tech electrical and computer engineering doctoral student Nordine Sebkhi who developed a system that helps people with speech disorders re-learn tongue movements to improve articulation.
The system can also be applied to help quadriplegics control their wheelchairs and other devices. Sebkhi’s team included students from Tech and Emory whose top prize included about $10,000 and a number of in-kind services from law and accounting firms to support their project.
“Just getting the access to mentors who are already inventors is a very good experience,” said Sebkhi. “I highly recommend it to students who have entrepreneurial aspirations.”
Six years ago, the mentor program extended its reach to high schools. Students meet on Sundays with their mentor partners at The Westminster Schools in Buckhead or Woodward Academy in Johns Creek, where sessions focus on financing, raising capital and presentation skills.
“We plug them into industry and business leaders who coach teams and teach them how to get ready for a pitch competition,” said Paul Lopez, the TiE Atlanta president. “We’ve had some cool ideas. These kids come from a lot of different schools – the teams are very diverse – and they really understand how to solve a genuine problem and execute an idea.”
And students need not come to the table with a concept, Lopez adds.
They’ll get guidance by working closely with mentors who help them identify problems they see in their own environments and brainstorm solutions for them.
“Based on that, we make lists of genuine problems and start working on solutions,” said Lopez.
Applications for the upcoming school year are being accepted through Aug. 28, said Lopez. “We try to keep it intimate because it’s so hands-on.”
Information about TiE Atlanta is online at tie.org/programs/tye-global-program.
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Each week we look at programs, projects and successful endeavors at area schools, from pre-K to grad school. To suggest a story, contact H.M. Cauley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770-744-3042.