• What is STEAM?

    STEAM is an interdisciplinary approach that bridges STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines with the arts, humanities and social sciences in meaningful ways. It is rooted in the conviction that the challenging questions of the 21st century can only be answered through the integrated efforts of all disciplines working together. STEAM embraces and explores the idea that interdisciplinary critical thinking inspires innovative solutions. 

  • What is the STEAM Challenge?

    The STEAM challenge brings interdisciplinary student teams together to pitch ideas to solve real problems in our city. STEAM Challenge teams will identify a real-world problem or issue that affects Detroit and suggest an idea for a project-based solution that uses an interdisciplinary approach under the 2018 theme. This year, the theme is Energize Detroit: energizing our city by empowering our mental and physical fitness and wellbeing. 

    This year's competition is slated to give out $15,000: $10,000 to the first-place winner, $3,000 to the second-place winner and $2,000 to the third-place winner, which will be used to implement the proposed project. From all applications, six teams will be chosen to go on to the final pitch competition in March. 

  • What kind of ideas can fall under this theme?

    Energy can mean much more than power. How do we energize our bodies and minds to impact health disparities? How do we use our voices to inspire social justice and political change? We can also think about the tools and technology that we use to harness energy in all forms. How do we use artificial intelligence to energize urban sustainability in Detroit? How do we energize people to engage with their communities and build consensus to solve issues? How do we energize science and business to play a role in food security in the city? How do we harness our mental energy to inspire innovation? The possibilities are endless. 

  • What are some examples of ideas that could fit under this theme?

    We encourage all teams to come up with their own original ideas but to spark your inspiration, here are some examples of ways that we might see success under this theme: a farms to forks program that will address food security and accessibility; an idea to build emergency solar powered call boxes to create personal safety alert systems throughout the city; a proposal to design specialized classroom furniture for those with special needs in the Detroit schools; a design for affordable prosthetics for our city's veterans to get them back on their feet. Here are more examples of even larger STEAM projects.

  • Who can participate? Do I have to have a team or an idea right away?

    This competition is open to students from any discipline. Teams will consist of three to seven undergraduate and/or graduate students. Most importantly, each team must include representatives from at least three different disciplines (e.g. business, graphic design, engineering). The idea can be a product, service, technology component, app or other venture that will help energize Detroit! Your only requirement to participate is to come with an idea or have the interest in working on one with others.  

    For those who don't have teams or an idea, our STEAM Challenge project team will help match you up with others who have similar interests and working styles. To help inspire and guide ideas, we will also be holding a community workshop where members of Detroit community organizations will come in to talk about the issues that their communities are currently facing in the city. It is our hope that this may help better refine and inspire ideas that will speak directly to problems that communities are currently facing. 

  • Why is the "A" in STEAM important?
  • Will there be help to guide my team through the process?

    Yes! With the support of Wayne State faculty coaches, workshops, videos and other resources, you'll learn how to generate ideas, identify opportunities and make an excellent pitch. No technology, programming or business planning experience is needed—we will help guide you through the process, starting with idea generation and ending with how to give a well-crafted pitch.

  • I have an idea but I'm not sure where to get more information on the topic—is there assistance available?

    In addition to the list of general resources on social innovation and STEAM that is provided in the resources section of this site, the libraries will help connect you with a subject specialist on your topic to offer additional research assistance. Just follow the links to contact us and we'll put you in touch with the right person!

  • What are the time commitments and deadlines?

    We recognize that students live very active and busy lives, so we put together a schedule that gives you a lot of time to help develop your idea.

    Register by November 12.

    You can register once you have your team and an idea. We'll need the names of your team members, title for your project and a 250-word summary of your team challenge concept.

    Applications will be due on February 4, 2019.

    Applications will require a three-minute video pitch for your project and a written component that includes a proposed budget for your project, any additional materials that might help support your pitch and specifically answer the following questions:

    1. Tell us more about what you plan to do? How does it meet the objectives of the STEAM Challenge?
    2. Who will benefit from what you plan to do? How will they benefit?
    3. Why is your team the most qualified?

    Applications must be submitted online. Teams will know by February 4, 2019 if they will be moving on to the final pitch competition.

    Final pitch competition will take place in late March (March 25?).

    The finalists will give a 10-minute pitch presentation to a panel of judges and should be prepared to answer questions. Winner will be announced at the end of the competition.

    Are there any other important dates that I need to know about?

    Open House/Idea Generator: Community Workshop: October 16 (4-6 p.m.)

    Registration due: November 12

    Resource Workshop: Week of November 26

    Draft applications due: January 14

    Final applications due: February 4

    Six teams will be notified if they will be moving on to the final pitch competition by February 18

    Final pitch competition will take place week of March 25 (Provost availability)

    How do I get started?

    Join us for an open house/idea generator from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16, in the Purdy Kresge library. We'll give a brief introduction and share a brief survey to help determine your interests and working style to help connect you to others who you might work well with. We'll have members of the community present to share the issues they see within Detroit. We'll be there to answer any questions you might have and help get you started.

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STEAM Challenge