Finalists announced for inaugural Impact Prize competition

Nov. 7, 2017, 5:09 p.m.

The Impact Prize poster

A panel of Syracuse University judges has announced the twelve finalists for the inaugural Impact Prize competition. The student ventures were selected from 36 applicant teams by a panel of Syracuse University faculty and staff who are engaged in entrepreneurship and civic engagement.  The finalist teams proposed the most innovative and implementable ideas to help solve economic or civic challenges.  They will compete in the Impact Prize finals as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week at Syracuse University.

The Syracuse community is invited to the final pitch competition, which will be judged by area business and civic leaders, on November 14 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, 114 Bird Library.  The prize announcement by Dr. von Dran, along with a networking reception, will be held at 4:30 p.m.

Coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library, the $5,000 Impact Prize competition is supported through a personal gift to SU Libraries from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran.  Director emerita of the iSchool’s MSLIS program, and former assistant professor of management at the Whitman School of Management, Dr. von Dran has a special interest in social entrepreneurship.  She previously established the Raymond F. von Dran Fund in memory of her late husband, who was Dean of the iSchool.

The Impact Prize competition is open to Syracuse University students, as well as SUNY ESF students who are studying entrepreneurship at SU.

Judges selected the following teams to advance to the Impact Prize finals:

Judges for this round represented academic units across the Syracuse University campus, with expertise in social entrepreneurship, law, art and design, business, communications, information technologies, education, civic engagement, sustainability, the Honors Program, and more. They included Alejandro Amezcua (Whitman), Chris Cofer (University College), Heather Waters (Education), Jolynn Parker, (Renee Crown University Honors Program), Kate Canada (Maxwell), Marcie Sonnebom (iSchool), Michael Giannattasio (Architecture), Molly Zimmerman (Law School), Rebecca Ortiz (Newhouse), Sam Krall (Arts & Sciences/Career Services), Syeisha Byrd (Hendricks Chapel), and Tammy Rosario (Syracuse CoE).

To learn more about the Impact Prize at Syracuse University, visit:

The event is a highlight of #GEW2017 at SU.  For more information about other events that week, visit, or sign up for the weekly Blackstone LaunchPad e-newsletter at

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