Baker in the News
Lehigh Student Entrepreneurs Win $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace Award
Bethlehem, PA – Lehigh University students Kira Gobes ’18 and Kelsie Strobel ’18 have won a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award for their Kuungana Tech Ring invention – a ring that aims to directly overturn the perception that engineering is male-oriented and intimidating, and empowers middle-school aged girls to help close the gender gap.
The announcement was made by the Davis United World College Scholars Program Office, which runs the awards competition.
It was the the 9th year in a row a Lehigh team has won the award.
The invention by student entrepreneurs Gobes and Strobel is a smart ring that teaches beginner programming by allowing the user to customize it via coding. Users could code their ring to flash colors when it’s time for class, or buzz when they’re near their friends. The KTR, as it is known, is a new way to connect with
your friends, but also serves as an entry point into an online community networking platform where one can connect with current female engineers and learn about scholarships and universities. Kuungana means “connect” in Swahili, because Gobes and Strobel conceived the initial idea for the ring while on a Lehigh-sponsored trip to Kenya.
Gobes and Strobel, both of whom are IDEAS majors (Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences), were also winners of the Baker Institute’s annual EUREKA! Ventures Competition, garnering the Grand Prize in the Joan F. and John M. Thalheimer ’55 Competition category. They will be honored at Baker’s annual Innovate! Celebrate! Dinner on April 25th, 2017.
The Projects for Peace initiative exists “to empower students to take ownership of shaping a better world.” It was inspired by the late philanthropist Kathryn W. Davis, as she was contemplating turning 100 years old in 2007. Now in the its 11th year, the Projects for Peace program is an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges and universities in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer of 2017.
“Right now we’re working on prototyping and reaching out to professionals to help us develop a product that will be suitable for our market and both fashionable and fun,” said Gobes. “So we’ll be using the funding to make sophisticated prototypes.” Said Strobel: “This prize means a lot to me because it's validation that we are pursuing a social venture that's worth pursuing. With this prize money we will...take opportunities to attend conferences and meetups that promote women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).”
For more information on the Davis United World College Scholars Program and the Projects for Peace, please visit www.davisuwcsholars.org and www.davisprojectsforpeace.org. More information on the Baker Institute can be found at www.lehighbakerinstitute.com.
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