Story by UW-Green Bay and WiSys:
Following a year of unprecedented innovation and research activity across the UW System, WiSys chose two innovators to receive the Carl E. Gulbrandsen Innovator of the Year award: UW-Green Bay student Sam Hunt and UW-Platteville Assistant Prof. Gokul Gopalakrishnan. They were recognized recently at WSTS Symposium hosted by UW-Parkside (a two-day networking symposium for UW System researchers) this summer.
Both innovators have a history of active engagement with WiSys programs and support a culture of innovation at their institutions.
Hunt was the winner of WiSys’ Big Idea tournament and a semi-finalist, out of over 6000 teams worldwide, at the International Business Model Competition for “The Local Food Experiment”, a startup providing affordable food from eco-friendly farms. In addition to this winning startup idea, Hunt invented a golf swing coaching tool and was accepted into Gener8tor’s gBeta program. He started work as a WiSys Student Ambassador in the summer of 2017, supporting WiSys activities and programs on the UW-Green Bay campus.
“Sam’s persistence and passion to learn (and enjoy the process) has been propelling him from business idea contests to now in the Ideadvance program,” said UW-Green Bay lecturer of entrepreneurship and one of Hunt’s mentors, Ryan Kauth. “We talk at UW-Green Bay about lifelong learning. Sam, as an entrepreneur, is already living it and learning the value of it. Sam is an excellent choice for this statewide recognition of what a student entrepreneur should embody.”
Hunt also competed in both Innovation in Aging student idea competitions at UW-Green Bay as well as the 2017 and 2018 Wisconsin Big Idea Tournament statewide championship.
“Sam’s combination of innovative thinking and entrepreneurial drive convinces me that he will be successful in making a go of these businesses,” WiSys President Arjun Sanga said. “He availed himself of all the extra resources to apply what he was learning in the classroom to the real world. We are delighted to recognize his achievements as a WiSys Ambassador and Innovator.
WSTS provides the opportunity for critical networking and formation of partnerships to encourage interdisciplinary research and help further innovative ideas in Wisconsin. It is the signature networking event for UW System researchers, students, industry professionals and community members.
WiSys supports the creation and transfer of innovations from the University of Wisconsin System to the marketplace with the aim of building a culture of innovation for a better future. WiSys is a 501 (c)(3) supporting organization of the UW System and its 11 four-year comprehensive universities.
Photos submitted by Bri Maas, WiSys