Completed Projects

Technology Meets the Future of Urban Food Production

Project focuses on how ISU could purchase refurbished shipping containers to produce horticultural specialty crops using LED lighting technology. An example of how this can be done is outlined at www.freightfarms.com.
Team will identify inputs and costs to purchasing and operating this system, location of the unit, and expected benefits to the University and to the Community. The recommendations of this team will be shared with the ISU Sustainability fund for potential consideration for implementation at ISU! A follow-on project could focus on how specialty crops grown in this unit could be used to supply local central IL vending machines similar to Farmer’s Fridge in Chicago https://www.farmersfridge.com/.

Project Mentor

Dr. Dave Kopsell Horticulture Professor in the Agriculture Department
Outside Resource: Elisabeth Reed, Director of Sustainability at ISU.

Competencies needed by students involved

  • Interest in gardening
  • Urban Agriculture, Horticulture, and Food Production
  • Technology
  • Business, and Sustainability

Final Deliverable

TBD

ISU Food Truck Feasibility Start Up

Virtual reality is an experience taking place within simulated and immersive environments that can be similar to or completely different from the real world (Wikipedia). This project is to create a VR experience that replaces (to the extent possible) face to face training for claims (insurance) adjusters.

Project Mentor

Dr. Roy Magnuson (Associate Professor, School of Music)

Competencies needed by students involved

  • Technology and Programming
  • Design and modeling
  • Background/Knowledge of insurance industry

Final Deliverable

TBD

Economic Development & Movie Culture

Woodstock, IL is well known as the location where the famous movie Ground Hog Day was filmed. Thousands of people visit Woodstock to celebrate Ground Hog day which spurs significant interest and investment in the community. As the original viewers of the movie get older, there is an opportunity to expose the movie and its spirit to a younger generation. The focus of this project is how the WGDC could use new media (social media) to strategically share the Ground Hog Day movie story with a younger generation and develop a stronger connection to the city of Woodstock, IL.
Team can visit the city in the fall and ideally again on February 2, 2020, Ground Day, to experience the event.

Project Mentor

Dr. Kristina Kaufman higher education academic and published author with multiple degrees in business and education from ISU.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Economic development
  • Communication and Movie Culture

Final Deliverable

Provide overall strategy and low-cost tactics to educate the younger generation about the movie and its connection to Woodstock. Tactics should include creative material and timeline for when and how to implement along with a budget. Since the final ICC deliverable is April 2020, this project will help them the following year.

Beneficial Use of Dredged Material from the Illinois Marine Transportation System

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) annually dredge 300 million cubic yards nationwide to maintain channels’ navigation. The USACE is authorized to use dredged materials for environmentally beneficial purposes. Beneficial use is defined as “the use of dredged materials, by placing them where they can maximize the most-good, rather than wasting them by disposal”. Beneficial use calls for putting materials where they are most needed with optimized economic benefit and environmental restoration, and therefore, is strongly related to developing plans to implement practices at the state level, addressing collaborative process and engaging the local community.

Therefore, the proposed project will research and investigate the beneficial use of dredged materials in the State of Illinois. The proposed research will identify economic and environmentally-friendly beneficial use of dredged material in Illinois by synthesizing the relevant information from a thorough literature review and providing a robust characterization of dredged material based on location. The robust characterization would allow consideration of the full spectrum of possible matching of sources, markets, and missions as well as competing forces between economic growth and environmental restoration, allowing the identification of optimal candidate uses while defining collaborative strategies.

The project objective includes:

  • Identify useful references based on their relevance to feasible beneficial uses, collaborative strategies, and/or sediment management plans and strategies
  • Dredged material characterization by location for finding suitable alternatives of beneficial uses
  • Network optimization in matching the sources, markets, and missions aligned with federal and state guidelines in Illinois
  • Multi-criteria and multi-objective optimization for recommending alternatives based on the report’s findings, and conclusions

Client(s) name(s):

US Army Corps of Engineers, Aviation & Marine Transportation Program Planning, Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and the Illinois Ready Mixed Concrete Association.

Project Mentor

Dr. Pranshoo Solanki
Dr. Clay Robinson
Dr. Guang Jin

Final deliverable format:

Research white paper, project findings and analysis summary, prototype or specifications, recommended action plan with a business case, survey or data collection results with corresponding insights):

Analytics and Baseball Fan Base

How has this major league baseball team’s fan base changed as expressed through single game day tickets, group, and season ticket holders before and after 2015? Provide insights on why this change may have occurred. Possible reasons for the “why” include changes in demographics, changes in entertainment offerings but there may be others. Suggestions for a follow-up project are welcome.

Project Mentor

Dr. Rebecca Achen
Dr. Chiharu Ishida Lambert
Mark Gibson

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Business Analysis
  • Analytics
  • Interest in baseball and its demographic analysis

Final Deliverable

Graphics showing a change in fan base overtime in addition to some commentary on why this may have occurred.

Public Private Partnerships: How does higher education most effectively leverage resources from external organizations?

Public-private partnerships are a very important opportunity for universities to take advantage of. They provide various resources that are not easily obtained by universities such as transfer of the latest skills, know-how, and technologies, internship and job opportunities for students, in addition to money.

Organizations often have opportunities in the form of projects that may require expertise found at a university but finding an efficient point of contact at the university in which to address projects is not always available to organizations. Additionally, the point of contact for the organization is often organized in a single college or department when a project requires a multi-disciplinary (multi-department of college) approach.

Universities that have industry liaisons or other structures may facilitate project intake for multidisciplinary handling and are better equipped to build these relationships and acquire these important organizational resources.

This project would evaluate how universities that are peer and aspirational to ISU are structured to welcome and field these project requests by organizations, identify specific project examples these universities secured, and recommend to ISU how it may structure itself in the future to capitalize on these important opportunities.

Project Mentor

TBD

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Analytics
  • Higher education

Final Deliverable

White paper containing trends in university-organization partnerships, examples of how peer and aspirational schools to ISU are having success obtaining multidisciplinary research/student projects from external organizations, evaluating their university structure, and providing recommendations on how ISU could provide a single point of contact for multi-disciplinary projects from organizations

Building Awareness for a New High School Global Opportunity in Illinois

The focus of this project is to develop the marketing and social media site of the IL Global Scholar. This is a state-approved project mostly supported by volunteer labor, so helping create ideas for marketing and support materials is important. This is a new program so current awareness is limited. First, there must be marketing to school districts so they see what this can do for their students. Second, there must be marketing to help teachers see the value to be involved. Finally, there must be marketing to students so students commit to the program.

Client

IL Global Scholar Program, an NGO started by high school teachers in IL who believed high school students could learn by engaging more in global issues.

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons (Associate Professor and Director of the International Business Institute)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing & International Business
  • Education
  • Social Media, Languages, Area studies
  • Global and Political issues
  • Oral and Communication skills

Final Deliverable

A portfolio of marketing materials focused on the 3 audiences which promote the value of a global perspective and a report outlining strategies for growing the IGS program using these materials.

Commercial Innovation Strategy for a Nutrition Brand

What is commercial innovation, you ask? It is new ideas generated across the marketing mix, based on insight, that refresh the brand’s equity, build differentiation, and ultimately drive brand growth without changing the existing product offering. Your options are only limited to your imagination!

Client(s) name(s):

Nutrition Brand in Fortune 500 Company

Project Mentor

Dr. Peter Kaufman

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Consumer-obsessed, Critical thinking/problem solving
  • Creativity & Curiosity
  • Marketing concepts & Startegic thinking
  • Good oral and written communication skills

Final deliverable format:

A commercial innovation strategy – a series of well-planned tactics, based on a consumer insight, that leverages the brand’s equity. The strategy should answer the following questions: What is the consumer insight? What problem are you solving? Why is your strategy meaningful to consumers and does this brand have the right to win? How would it build differentiation versus competition? What are the implications (i.e. creative needs, growth, consumer engagement, cost)? Recommendations should include strategic/creative messaging, partnerships, programs, and visuals of bringing the commercial innovation strategy to life!

International Business Partner Search

Identification and preliminary qualification of potential overseas distributors for a seventy-five-year-old family-owned company that produces automobile appearance products. Ideally, the team will identify digital tools to find these potential distributors versus traditional approaches such as trade shows.

Client(s) name(s):

U.S. based family-owned company that produces automobile appearance products

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Interest in auto industry
  • Creativity & Curiosity
  • Second language (optional)

Final deliverable format:

A combination of both a successful low-cost process that was used and can be used in the future along with a set of semi-qualified distributor prospects for a region or regions. Geographic regions will be partly driven by the language proficiency of students on the team.

Heartland Head Start Strategic Event Planning & Fundraiser

HHS was approached by one of its vendors who helps with marketing and outreach about a potential Medallion Hunt event that could raise awareness for HHS in the communities it serves AND potentially generate financial resources (fundraise). HHS believes there are multiple opportunities for its organization with this type of event that could potentially be HHS’s Annual Event in Bloomington/Normal. HHS is seeking something that others have not done and that could be unique to HHS and to the citizens in Bloomington-Normal. Pekin, IL has hosted a Medallion Hunt for many years and this ICC project could use it as a starting point or model.

Client(s) name(s):

Heartland Head Start

Heartland Head Start (HHS) is a nonprofit charitable organization based in the city of Bloomington, Illinois. HHS provides comprehensive early childhood and social/human services for low-income children, ages birth to 5, as well as pregnant women and their families. HHS’ geographical area includes McLean and Livingston Counties in IL. More specifically, it operates Head Start classrooms (for ages 3-5) and Early Head Start classrooms (ages 6 weeks to 3 years) in Bloomington, Normal, and Pontiac. It offers home-based services in the rural communities for eligible pregnant women and Early Head Start children. The majority of children live in neighborhoods in the cities of Bloomington and Normal. Eligible families must meet income eligibility guidelines (at or below the federal poverty line) or be homeless or part of the foster system. All of its services are free. HHS is funded by the federal government and small local and private grants. Services include education, physical health, oral health, mental health, nutrition, socialization, transitions, transportation, family literacy, parent engagement, and services that meet the needs of special populations (children with disabilities, dual-language learners, children in foster care, children with incarcerated parents, and homeless families).

Per Federal regulations, the staff at HHS are not allowed to fundraise on work time. HHS has a non-federal match requirement to its grant as well that requires HHS to raise $920,000/year in donated time, space, goods or financial donations via volunteers, grants, etc. Due to HHS’ non-profit status, it struggles with time for strategic planning. HHS is also always faced with overworked and underpaid staff.

Project Mentor

Bailee Taylor – an ISU alumna, with significant experience with Event Marketing, Sponsorship Activation, Entertainment Marketing, Consumer Promotions, Marketing Integration, Trade Show Development, and Relationship Management.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing & Communication
  • Organizational Strategy

Final deliverable format:

Recommendations on the feasibility of hosting such an event. Possible sponsors, vendors, staff required, hours invested, locations of medallions, celebrity clue writer, media outlets to participate, and impact on the agency.

Market Assessment for Global Mining Equipment

The global mining industry is undergoing transformation with mine operators seeking lower emissions for the underground extraction process. This project will ask the team to identify a country in Latin America and assess mining operations to assess how ripe existing and new mine operators are to using electric-powered machines to extract ore from underground.

Client:

Leading manufacturer of electric powered mining equipment.

Project Mentor

Dr. Peter Kaufman

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing concepts & Strategic thinking
  • Creativity
  • Critical thinking & Problem solving
  • Spanish proficiency (for some team members)

Final deliverable format:

A careful analysis of customer needs, competitor issues including how should client position itself relative to the competition, market (number of mines, size of mines, type of machines used, if able to discern), regulations (current and trending) on underground ventilation, and challenges to market entry. The analysis will conclude with recommendations on whether the client should enter the market and what risks exist.

Blockchain: Application to the Insurance Industry

After gaining a lot of momentum from the success of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, Blockchain technology has displayed its ability to streamline processes in a secure fashion, while maintaining its integrity along the way. As technology makes its way into the insurance industry, companies are working to better understand the technology as a whole and create use cases for implementation. This project will strive to bring clarity to the technology and provide recommendations on how it can be utilized in the insurance industry.

Client name:

Insurance company

Project Mentor

Jim Jones

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Information Technology
  • Interest in learning the basics of the insurance industry
  • Business strategy & operations

Health Care Organization Outreach To Diverse Populations in McLean County

As an employer that appreciates the value that diversity and inclusion bring to an organization, this organization has an interest in growing interest in healthcare career paths within diverse communities throughout McLean County. While the community has the 8th Grade Career Expo, which focuses more broadly on the exploration of all potential career fields, the HR team at this organization has been exploring potential avenues to engage populations beyond 8th grade to garner interest in specifically in healthcare career paths.

Project Mentor

Krista Spader

has more than 17 years of leadership experience in a fortune 500 company with responsibility for elements such as business operations, planning and strategy and change management. Krista has a number of business designations as well as Master of Science in Management Degree with an emphasis on Leadership. She has served on the board for both public and private organizations and has a long history of mentoring both individuals and groups.

Kevin Bersett

has spent nearly 20 years in the communications field. Before accepting his current position as an editor/writer with Illinois State’s University Marketing and Communications, he worked as a newspaper reporter and editor. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and earned his MBA in 2017 from Illinois State.

Additional resource: Becky LaMont, MSN, RN, CNE. Mennonite College of Nursing rdlamon@ilstu.edu, who has specific background with this project area.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Research & Interpersonal skills
  • Creativity & Curiosity
  • Healthcare Knowledge
  • Strategic thinking, and Graphic Design skills
  • Good oral and written communication skills

Final Deliverable

Assess, develop, and create an execution plan for the appropriate resources and programming to help grow interest in healthcare careers in diverse communities throughout the region. Explore the best venues and vehicles to deliver this type of programming, with a focus on non-traditional types of programming that could reach the intended audience(s), without the need for such resource-intensive efforts.

Feasibility Study to Develop an IL Heroes Program Hosted at ISU

The team will produce a complete feasibility study on developing an IL Heroes Program that would honor individuals in the State of IL who have made substantial positive contributions to their communities. The idea is modeled off of the television special developed by CNN®.

Client

Dr. Janet Paterson, Interim Director, ISU Center for Community Engagement & Service Learning. https://communityengagement.illinoisstate.edu/about/staff/

Project Mentor

Andrew Bordewick

Andrew, an ISU Alumns, has 13 years of experience in the financial services industry with work focused on marketing and product development. He has an MBA from Illinois State University and has consulted with primary and secondary schools on marketing, advancement, and development efforts. Other interests include playing music, running, and coaching junior high cross country.

Additional resources: Jim Jones, Director of the ISU Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services, who has run large events. Dr. Lance Lippert, School of COM, to explore communication resources useful to build awareness for such a program.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Analytical mind-set & Research
  • Creativity & Curiosity
  • Good oral and written communication skills

Recruitment Status:

Closed

Final Deliverable

Program would be housed at ISU. The team would need to research what other similar programs exist in Illinois (and other states), meet with university stakeholders and assess institutional interest/readiness/risks, determine how ISU could brand it as its “own”, identify any intellectual property/trademark issues that may exist associated with CNN’s® program, identify potential sources of funding, develop a framework for selecting recipients, provide a draft plan to build awareness for the program to solicit nominations, and provide a detailed report on how event could be executed at ISU including the business model (how event could be funded/self-sufficient).

Building Awareness for a New High School Global Opportunity in Illinois

The focus of this project is to develop the marketing and social media site of the IL Global Scholar. This is a state-approved project mostly supported by volunteer labor, so helping create ideas for marketing and support materials is important. This is a new program so current awareness is limited. First, there must be marketing to school districts so they see what this can do for their students. Second, there must be marketing to help teachers see the value to be involved. Finally, there must be marketing to students so students commit to the program.

Client

IL Global Scholar Program, an NGO started by high school teachers in IL who believed high school students could learn by engaging more in global issues.

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons (Associate Professor and Director of the International Business Institute)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing & International Business
  • Education
  • Social Media, Languages, Area studies
  • Global and Political issues
  • Oral and Communication skills

Final Deliverable

A portfolio of marketing materials focused on the 3 audiences which promote the value of a global perspective and a report outlining strategies for growing the IGS program using these materials.

Developing Markets for Indonesian Handcrafts: Selling batik bags abroads

In an effort to raise support and increase community development, a sewing group has been started by YUM. They have provided materials and machines to women and helped them learn how to produce a variety of handicrafts, mainly sewn goods. These items are sold locally with the produce from the organic farm (see other YUM ICC project) but they are trying to identify a bigger market for these more exportable goods. The goal of the team is to explore options to help them find a U.S. market for their products.

Client

YUM, an NGO in Indonesia near Jakarta.

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons (Associate Professor and Director of the International Business Institute)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing, Fashion & Textiles
  • International Business
  • Social Media & Economic development
  • Political issues
  • Oral and Communication skills

Final Deliverable

A report that clearly lays out the options for selling their handicrafts in the U.S. and ranks them in order with pros and cons clearly presented.

Exploring Edutainment Possibilities for an Organic Farm in Indonesia

In an effort to raise support and increase community development, an organic farm has been started. Local classes come to learn about healthy food and sustainable farming practices but this has provided limited income so they are exploring whether they could make this bigger and provide longer-term experiences in sustainability and community development, perhaps even for students from the Western world. The client needs an outside perspective and research to help them identify role models and explore the pros and cons of offering internships or visits.

Client

YUM, an NGO in Indonesia near Jakarta.

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons (Associate Professor and Director of the International Business Institute)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Sustainability or International Business
  • Education
  • Social Media & Economic development
  • Political issues
  • Oral and Communication skills

Final Deliverable

A report that clearly lays out the options for expanding their edutainment beyond local schools with competing models to consider (and with examples of others) and pros and cons clearly laid out for each model.

Building In-store Experience in Grocery Retailing: a focus on the millennial shopper

With the increasing competition from online grocery retailers (Amazon and physical store retailers online sales), store-based retailing specialists (Aldi, Trade Joe’s, Costco, and Whole Foods), and supermarket chains (Kroger, Mariano’s, and Walmart) the team will be charged with identifying what this large grocery retailer can do to differentiate its in-store experience with specific focus on millennial shoppers.
Two parts of the plan are in-store differentiation applied to all stores or large groupings of stores and specific differentiation of individual or small groups of stores that vary based on the geographic location of its individual stores.
Both strategies need to contain specific tactics (activities) along with return on investment guidance (projections) for recommended activities. For example, if team recommends prepared foods to go as one of its ideas, what would this look like (made in-house or contracted out, food types, packaging, where positioned, pricing, etc.)?
More information will be provided to the team.

Client

Major grocery retailer in the Midwest.

Project Mentor

Dr. Peter Kaufman (Professor, Marketing)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Research & Creativity
  • Graphic Design (ability to develop and present concepts/ideas/renderings)
  • Baisc financial knowledge

Final Deliverable

Set of prioritized recommendations that the retailer should consider supported by research (online searching, industry trends, and some store visits, etc.). Recommendations would also contain visuals (creative material) of proposed concepts.

Evaluation of Single Bag Use at Retail in Bloomington-Normal

Review B-N community’s response to the recently presented Solid Waste Plan in addition to surveying and/or interviewing a variety of entities such as retailers, policy makers, elected officials, and citizens to better understand their attitudes. In recommendation(s) include survey(s) and/or interview findings and description of current context.

Client

Michael Brown, Director, Ecology Action Center

Project Mentor

TBD

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Sustainability
  • Creativity & Analytical mind-set

Recruitment Status:

Closed

Final Deliverable

Team will evaluate and describe what other cities that are similar to Blooming-Normal are doing to eliminate single-use bags (plastic or paper) provided by retailers and provide specific prioritized recommendations on an approach for consideration by the B-N community after considering the local B-N current context.

Strategic Solutions For Employee Retention

Employee turnover in any organization is inevitable but it has costs associated with it. This major retailer of coffee and related items would like the team to develop strategies to reduce turnover amongst its hourly employees at its coffee shops that also positively impacts the customer experience.

Client

Major national retailer of coffee

Project Mentor

Kerry Keller has over 13 years of experience in the human resources field working in both the healthcare and insurance industries. She has a BA and MBA from Illinois State University and is the current Past-President of the Bloomington-Normal Human Resource Council. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Kerry has found Bloomington-Normal to be a great place to spend time with her husband and raise their 3 kids.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Research & Creativity
  • Strong communication skills & Graphic Design (develop and present concepts/ideas/renderings)

Final Deliverable

Set of prioritized recommendations that the retailer should consider supported by research (online searching, industry trends, consultation with store operators, and some store visits, etc.). Recommendations should also contain visuals of proposed concepts as relevant.

Cyber Risk Analysis and Insurance

While advancements in technology are great for society as a whole, there is a lot that scares the insurance world. Since things change so rapidly, the cyber realm presents a unique set of challenges both for companies looking to protect themselves and insurers looking to help mitigate their risk. We would like students to analyze the risks of five industries (retail, manufacturing, technology, healthcare, and financial) and provide some insight on which companies they would/would not insure in the respective spaces.  

Client

Brett Werner-Powell

Project Mentor

James Jones ( Executive Director, Katie School of Insurance and Financial Services)

Dr. Kevin Ahlgrim, (Associate Professor, Department of Finance, Insurance and Law )

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Understanding of Cybersecurity and Risk assessment
  • Fundamental understanding of finance
  • Willingness to explore the unexplored
  • Good communication skills

Final Deliverable

Presentation and report – within this presentation, please provide an overview of the industries, the cyber risks of the industries, and provide recommendations on companies they would/would not write.

Recycled Glass in Construction and Paving MaterialsPPT

Glass collected through the local single-stream recycling system represents a significant financial burden on the local recycling program due to lack of a market for mixed glass. Many municipalities have stopped glass recycling. However, mixed glass can be used in place of some of the aggregate in asphalt and cement for some applications. The objective of this project would be to determine the extent (technically, economically, and legally) to which glass could be used in local government street repair and building projects, how such use could impact the local glass recycling market, and the extent to which prices are likely to support a business to clean and prepare the recycled glass for this new local use.

Project Mentors

Dr. Pranshoo Solanki (Construction Mgmt.)
Dr. Guang Jin (Environmental Health)
Dr. Tom Bierma (Environmental Health)

Recruitment Status:

Open

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

Construction – technical specifications for construction materials.
Recycling/materials processing – production of recycled glass and cleaning the material for use or sale.
Business and economics – assessing supply, demand, revenue and costs for a new business in glass cleaning.
Legal – this should be minimal – related to state and federal requirements for paving materials (probably handled under “Construction” expertise).

Final Deliverable:

An assessment of the technical, legal, and economic feasibility of using locally-produced recycled glass in local government street and building projects.

Enhancement of Sustainability in Operations PPT

This branded maker of consumer packaged goods would like the team to look at ways in which client could become more environmentally conscious. Currently, there are a few specific items used in their plant that are critical to production but there is no recycling program in place. These include super sacks used to transport product inputs by truck to the facility as well as linear fluorescent light bulbs. The client also would like solutions to recycle common items such as soda cans and water bottles in a feasible way that does not promote pest harborage at the manufacturing facility.

Project Mentors

Dr. Tom Bierma (Research Professor (Emeritus), Department of Health Sciences)
Dr. Guang Jin (Professor, Department of Health Sciences)
Missy Nergard (Office of Sustainability)
Jennifer McDade

Jennifer McDade is a connector of people and ideas. As a resident of Bloomington-Normal for more than 17 years, she has been very active professionally and in the community. She has been at State Farm Insurance Company for more than five years, leading teams in communication and now in digital initiatives. Prior to that, she spent more than ten years at Illinois State University and enjoyed all of her time on campus, though her favorite role was working with students in the School of Communication. She enjoys public service, now as a Connect Transit trustee and formerly as an elected Alderman in the City of Bloomington. She serves with other community groups as well. Other interests include raising two wonderful children – both students at Metcalf School – and enjoying time with her husband, family, and friends. She enjoys running and working out, as well as shopping for vintage finds including adding to her collection of old books about nature.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

Systems thinking. There are many facets to waste management which often include zoning ordinances, available space in the facility, compliance (and impending legislation), budget considerations, public perception, cost-benefit analysis, and available markets & commodity prices.

  • Systems thinking. There are many facets to waste management which often include zoning ordinances, available space in the facility, compliance (and impending legislation), budget considerations, public perception, cost-benefit analysis, and available markets & commodity prices.
  • Writing and communications skills to provide intuitive and simple manuals and processes.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Research.
  • Innovation and creativity.

Final Deliverable

Identify ways in which these large super sacks can be repurposed, upcycled or recycled as well as find solutions regarding common food packaging.

Computer Science Infusion in K-5 PPT

Infuse coding/computer science concepts and opportunities into K-5 curriculum with likely K3-K5 focus.

Project Mentor

Dr. Tamra Davis (Associate Professor, Business Education)
Dr. Kathy Mountjoy (Associate Professor, Business Education)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Understanding of state and other instructional requirements for elementary students
  • Research ability & Ability to summarize findings
  • Open mind, critical thinking, emotional intelligence and a motivational mind set

Final Deliverable

A report containing a survey / comprehensive list of all possible curriculum programs, instructional models and examples of systems that are able to achieve this into a day or other curriculum. Examples of programs used by other schools should be backed by some research to show if implemented with some degree of precision, that a particular program demonstrates student achievement gains. The Client uses in the K-12 environment the What Works Clearinghouse to determine the existence of data linking a particular program to student achievement gains.

Building a Mentor Network and Awareness for Internships for High School Students PPT

Goal is to have high school students (juniors or seniors) at this client completing internships at local B-N organizations.

Project Mentor

Dr. Gary Hunter (Professor, Department of Marketing)
Dr. Tamra Davis (Associate Professor, Business Education)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Understanding of internship course or program
  • Creativity
  • Marketing concepts/skills
  • Basic software skill to develop creative materials

Final Deliverable

Create a database of willing and able organizational partners in addition to a marketing awareness campaign to build mentor network and establish willing partners.

Launching an Individual Giving Donor Program (IGP) in ThailandPPT

The low investment high impact plan primarily through the use of social media, an Individual Giving Donor Program (IGP) in Thailand to recruit monthly, quarterly, annual donors. Plan should include identification, qualification, cultivation, solicitation, and stewardship (including retention of donors).

Project Mentor

Dr. Somnath Lahiri (Associate Professor, College of Business)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing communication and messaging
  • Research Skills
  • Knowledge non-profit organizations (NGO’s) and public fund-raising
  • Digitial Marketing and Social Media skills

Final Deliverable

A plan to recruit and retain new donors.

Building Tech Capacity at Habitat for Humanity PPT

Currently, we have a fairly basic access database that houses information on potential lots (parcels) that might be donated to our organization or are owned by our organization. There is a spreadsheet with a lot more information client would like to associate with the database. Need business analyst to help define the requirements for the revised system and then one or more Access developers who can code the solution defined by the users and the business analyst.

Project Mentor

Dr. Rishi Saripalle (Assistant Professor, School of Information Technology)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Business Analysis
  • Software Requirements Engineering
  • Software Design, Development, Testing and Deployment
  • Web Development
  • Communication Skills

Final Deliverable

Added functionality to access application built in-house with appropriate data added to the system from an existing spreadsheet. “How to” documentation of various functions available in the application.

Development of an Awareness Campaign for Unique Maker of Specialty Cookies PPT

Build awareness of the cookie card with millennials. The maximum budget for advertising is $10,000. The deliverables should include an expansion of sentiments that are relevant to the marketing including renderings of suggested graphics and marketing campaign with social and grass roots recommendations. Another component could be ideas on how to change the packaging to bring down the costs.

Project Mentor

Kerry Keller
Kerry Keller has over 12 years of experience in the human resources field working in both the healthcare and insurance industries. She has a BA and MBA from Illinois State University and is the current President of the Bloomington-Normal Human Resource Council. Originally from the suburbs of Chicago, Kerry has found Bloomington-Normal to be a great place to spend time with her husband and raise their 3 kids.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Graphic Design
  • Research and Communication Skills
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Merchandising and Logistics

Final Deliverable

Written report and presentation to include merchandising and marketing plan including line assortment and marketing spend allocation.

Digital strategy recommendations for unique travel to Japan PPT

Understand the culturally curious traveler and the high-income traveler. Looking at prior successful companies targeting these audiences. Following this, evaluate this client’s digital marketing and how to best target these 2 groups and make recommendations for potential adjustment to client organization strategy and adjustment to client’s digital efforts.

Project Mentor

Dr. Barbara Ribbons (Associate Professor, College of Business)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Research
  • Creativity and Social Media skills
  • Japanese Language (optional)

Final Deliverable

Written report and presentation that provides research on prior successful campaigns targeting the cultural curious traveler and the high-income traveler. Specific recommendations to a client on why and how it can adjust its digital efforts to increase success in its targeting of these two groups.

Major League Professional Baseball Team: Community Relation Concept Development PPT

The client is looking to develop community relations concept(s) that can be integrated with the client organization’s existing partners.

Project Mentor

Dr. Leigh-Anne Donovan (Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing)
Dr. Juno Lim (Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing)

Competencies needed by the students involved

  • Creativity, strategy, interest in community development and sports

Final Deliverable

  • Developed concepts

Promises and Pitfalls of Autonomous Vehicles: Implications for the Insurance Industry PPT

Vehicles with autonomous features seem to be a promising development for the automotive and transportation sectors. By automating driving tasks which are currently the responsibility of human drivers, such technology might be able to: 1) perform certain tasks better than human drivers in which the technology will be less error-prone than humans; and, 2) free up human drivers and make commuting more productive or enjoyable.
Nonetheless, there is a large gap between the potential promise of autonomous technologies, and the performance of autonomous technologies currently available. This gap has been prominently highlighted by recent events involving Tesla’s “autopilot” feature. In one recent incident, a Tesla driver using autopilot was killed when his vehicle did not stop when a tractor-trailer turned in front of his car. In another example, a driver in China who had sideswiped a parked vehicle while driving his Tesla noted that the “autopilot” feature in China was interpreted to be fully autonomous rather than “assisted” driving.
Tesla is not the only automobile manufacturer offering some selection of autonomous driving capabilities. Mercedes, Infiniti, BMW, Volvo and Ford offer or are currently working on vehicles with some level of autonomous capabilities.
In the near term, autonomous driving features will likely be limited to assistive technologies that help drivers maintain their lane, navigate slow-moving traffic, park, and maintain and safe distance behind other vehicles. Not long from now, however, car manufacturers such as Ford plan to offer what is called “Level 4” autonomous driving, where all driving tasks normally done by a human are instead done by the vehicle.
For the insurance industry, these technological changes raise questions about the future of private and commercial auto insurance lines. Among them: Will autonomous technologies really reduce accidents? And, if so, by how much? Are there certain situations in which autonomous technologies might make driving more risky? In the case of an accident, where does liability fall when an autonomous vehicle is involved? With the driver, or with the manufacturer?

Project Mentor

Daniel Engler
Jim Jones

Specific Questions

  • Technological – What are the current capabilities of autonomous driving systems? What capabilities are being promised in the future, by whom, and when?
  • Commercial (Customer, Dealer, After-service) – How have consumers adopted vehicles with autonomous features? How likely are consumers to accept fully autonomous vehicles? What are the particular barriers and facilitators to adoption? Are car dealers willing to sell fully autonomous vehicles? Are there barriers to the servicing of fully autonomous vehicles?
  • Regulatory – Where do autonomous vehicles fall from a regulatory standpoint? Do current regulations support or oppose autonomous vehicles, and in which ways?
  • Legal – What are the liability issues that arise when vehicles are controlled by software written by a manufacturer as opposed to a driver?
  • Risk – How does all of the above affect the insurance industry?

Final Deliverable

The findings of the student team will be formalized in a student-authored white paper and slide deck as a Katie School Student Research Study.

Developing a Sustainability Map @ISU PPT

Develop an on-line sustainability map of ISU’s campus including environmental assets, buildings, academic programs, and community integration. This program would provide clickable links allowing for further information such as history, faculty & student research, volunteer opportunities, impact, or financial value.

Project Mentors

Dr. Joe Armstrong(Biology)
Joseph Cleary(Construction Mgmt.)
Dr. Rosie Hauck(Accounting & Business Information Systems)
Missy Nergard (Office of Sustainability) Email

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Ability to identify what a ‘sustainability asset’ is – systems thinking.
  • Writing and communications skills to create interpretive signage as digital media – similar to signage as if walking along a nature trail.
  • Photography.
  • Web development, or ability to talk to a web-developer.
  • Research to: develop historical narrative; identify existing faculty & student research and publications; financial advantages or existing savings; identify features that are appealing for recruitment & retention

Recruitment Status:

Open

Final Deliverable

An on-line map/tour of ISU’s sustainability features.

Electric Scooter/Bike Market Evaluation Plan PPT

Understand current mobility needs (gaps) of students, faculty and staff at ISU, the target audience. Develop business model(s) to increase use of alternative modes of electric transportation offered through the Numi Scooters and Electric Bike product line. Identify, and develop any necessary solutions, for logistical considerations such as applicability of local laws, availability of charging locations, campus policies, parking, licensing, and storage.

Project Mentor

Dr. Peter Kaufman
Missy Nergard (Office of Sustainability) Email
President & Founder: Ron Glogovsky (ISU Alumn), NumiScooters

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Marketing, communication & messaging, policy & governance (review of regulations and how they impact product usage), and infrastructure knowledge (determination of available charging options, and determination of cost for additional options).

Final Deliverable

A marketing plan for Numi Scooters to implement on the university campus.

Health Care Inflation and Insurance Affordability PPT

Medical care is one of eight major groups in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). This includes medical care commodities (MCC) such as medicinal drugs; and medical equipment and supplies, and medical care services (MCS). This project will examine how the components of the medical care CPI are trending in order to better understand how to health care costs can be managed and affordably insured.

Project Mentor

Dr. Kevin Ahlgrim
Dr. Jim Jones
Jeremy Pecora, FCAS, MAAA, Willis Towers Watson. Actuarial Advisor and Manager.
Nancy Ridenour, Ph.D.,APRN,BC,FAAN, Nursing Dean, Professor former Robert Woods Johnson health policy fellowship with the Committee on Ways and Means.

Final Deliverable

A model that can be used by legislators, health care providers, regulators, and health insurance carriers to better understand how the changing components of the overall medical care CPI affect costs.

  • Economics – general understanding of inflation data
  • Understanding of health care system Insurance
  • Analytical skills – manipulate data and apply statistical analysis
  • Data Analytics and Actuarial
  • Research – identify existing sources of medical utilization data and medical services inflation
  • Innovation and creativity – curiosity to try different approaches not used historically

New Knight Rover Robotics Initiative PPT

When you want to learn about robotics where do you begin?

The Mind Project is launching its new “Knight Rover Robotics Initiative” with the goal to generate a robotics kit with low-cost, readily available hardware, a suite of innovative software, and instructional materials pitched at every level of expertise from novice to experienced programmer. A primary objective is to create a training course that will serve both the individual enthusiast and the educator with a team of students they wish to inspire and enable to do great things.

The project team will initially explore a modular robot kit while using open source software to control and extend the rover’s capabilities. The hardware kit uses basic sensors, motors, and other components along with a Raspberry Pi as its brain. The custom software being developed by The Mind Project is called the “RObotics Orchestration Kit” (ROOK for short) and uses various open source libraries to facilitate communication and hardware control.

After assembling and evaluating the current hardware and software, the team will generate ideas to further clarify and expand the possible uses of and audiences for the basic rover. This could involve the development of specific robot-design tasks as part of the Rover curriculum. The team will also assess the current instructional materials and work to optimize and modularize the materials for different types of learners and different educational settings.

Project Mentor

Dr. David Anderson (Philosophy)
Eric Thill (ISU, B.S. 2010)
John Kuk (ISU, Master’s Candidate)

Recruitment Status:

Closed

Final Deliverable

  • Produce a final report evaluating the concept of The Mind Project’s “Knight Rover Robotics Initiative,” including any lessons learned and suggestions for future improvements.
  • Generate or improve all of the project assets, such as revised versions of hardware, software, documentation, videos, new kits, learning modules, or whatever else the team dreams up during the collaboration and innovation process.

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Students: A majority of the team of innovation consultants should have a grounding in some programming and have experience interacting with open source software and hardware. A wide range of programming talents from front-end, integration, back-end, and micro-controllers is welcomed. Expertise in hardware design and fabrication as well as experience with various sensors is also highly valued. Current programming languages used will be Java 8, JavaScript, HTML5, and a background in Python and C++ would be useful. Those from other backgrounds are welcome to apply if they want to contribute in ways that may suit their strengths to explore other avenues and offerings of the initiative. This could include students with a background in education, business, and marketing.
  • Faculty: We are still seeking one or two faculty with programming and/or engineering experience. We are also interested in speaking with faculty from other disciplines like business and education which will take on a larger role in the project once we have a completed robotics kit “ready for primetime”.

Small Business Waste Diversion PPT

Consult with a small business that needs assistance developing commodity capture (waste diversion) processes. A majority of small businesses do not have the staff time or expertise to tackle this part of their operation and as a result they are unaware of how to incorporate recycling and diversion methods, negotiate contracts to be revenue neutral (or revenue positive), or market their efforts to clients. A simple local example is a well-known bar in central IL. It has one dumpster in the parking lot and has no recycling or diversion efforts. A business case study conducted in the fall of 2015 identified that over 90% of what is discarded at that business has a diversion outlet and a competitive commodity price. The business needs assistance with logistics, contract negotiation, employee training and marketing.

Project Mentors

Dr. Tom Bierma
Missy Nergard (Office of Sustainability) Email

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

Systems thinking. There are many facets to waste management which often include zoning ordinances, available space in the facility, compliance (and impending legislation), budget considerations, public perception, cost-benefit analysis, and available markets & commodity prices.

  • Writing and communications skills to provide intuitive and simple manuals and processes.
  • Analytical skills.
  • Research.
  • Innovation and creativity.

Final Deliverable

This project can be broken down into the development of a guide for small businesses that identifies simple steps to take, available resources, marketing venues, training materials, and potential financial advantages.

MLB Team PPT

SmartGrid for Schools

In this project, students and staff from the Department of Technology, University High School, the Center for Renewable Energy, and the Center for Mathematics Science and Technology designed, built and modified hands-on, interactive exhibits that traveled to schools across Illinois to teach about electricity generation and the coming SmartGrid.

Project Mentor

Dr. David Loomis (Center for Renewable Energy)
Dr. William Hunter (Center for Mathematics Science and Technology)
Dr. Brad Christensen (Center for Mathematics Science and Technology)
Mr. Jeritt Williams (Center for Renewable Energy)

Competencies needed by faculty and students involved

  • Construction – technical skills and safety awareness for construction processes and materials.
  • Curriculum Design – Modern curriculum guided by student needs and prior experience tailored to multiple age groups.
  • Teamwork – All team members must be responsible and take initiative for seeing the overall vision, and for making suggestions and improvements during the iterative development and construction process.

Final Deliverable

SmartGrid for Schools interactive exhibits and curriculum. Checkout: SmartGrid Schools Instagram

A Study Exploring the Perception of Technology Readiness and Use of Social Media by Independent Insurance Agents in Illinois

This study looks into the behaviors and perception concerning the use of social media by independent insurance agents in the Midwest, more specifically Illinois. By conducting this research we hoped to understand the potential benefits of using social media, as well as a sense of the perceptions and behaviors currently exercised. We also want to find out if the time and money which could be assigned to growing and supporting the use of social media on the agency side of the business would be for the greater good or if efforts should be focused elsewhere. As it has been apparent in the news media lately there are good and bad ways to make use of social media in support of day to day business. The goal of this study is to get a grasp on the insurance agents’ current use of social media in support of the agency and how the benefits of doing this are perceived.

Project Mentor

Steve Taylor
Jim Jones
Lindsey Pfleger (Katie School of Insurance)

Final Deliverable

Study summary. PDF

Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Research Project

The Katie School of Insurance helps to facilitate student research projects each semester to help students develop skills in research, critical thinking, data analysis, business presentation, and business writing.
The Katie School Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Research Project is an Illinois State University, College of Business, Katie School of Insurance multidisciplinary student initiative aimed at studying and researching UAV applications in business, and developing risk management, security, and safety protocols for their use. The team consists of students in Insurance, Agriculture, Information Technology, and Political Science, who, through their combined efforts, is working to produce a research report detailing their study results and conclusions. Additionally, the team will consistently update interested parties through periodical articles and blog postings. Ultimately, the multiple articles and the subsequent published report will seek to educate and inform those concerned with the safe implementation and commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in the domestic United States.

Research Story & Presentation

Research story:Drone Research Story
Presentation: UAV Symposium Presentation
News: Article

Project Mentor

Jim Jones

Pet Insurance Project

The following study represents a marketing research effort sponsored by the Katie Insurance School at Illinois State University based upon a request by Figo, a Chicago-based company specializing in pet insurance. The overall purposes of the project include (1) helping insurers better understand the decision-making processes of potential consumers and insurance company potential partners, by (2) working with the Katie Insurance School to generally support insurance practices and organizations consistent with their mission, and (3) involving a select team of student researchers for pedagogical purposes. The research activities were under the direction of Jim Jones, Director of the Katie Insurance School, and Steve Taylor, Professor of Marketing.

Project Mentors

Steve Taylor
Jim Jones

Students

Ms. Kayla Jenkins, ISU Junior Marketing Student
Ms. Elyse Link, ISU Senior Marketing Student
Mr. Jarvis Sokolowich, Junior Marketing Student

Final Deliverable

Study summary:Project Summary & Findings

Alternative Energy Research

The movement towards alternative energy is extremely encouraged and provides new opportunities for technology, ideas, and labor. The fossil fuel family has been used throughout history and has provided a very effective role in North America during the Industrial Revolution, and the expansion of America. The use of coal in the United States is mainly due to its central location and access points in the US, the ample amounts, and the opportunity and efficiency to immediately ship the resource by rail or ship. Alternative sources of energy can create this sort of economic boom in the US in a much safer and environmentally friendly way!

Project Mentors

Students

Final Deliverable

Community Consulting: Small Business Energy Efficiency

This study helped seven small businesses in Bloomington-Normal to become energy efficient which helps protect the environment and saves businesses money. Recent developments in lighting technology makes it possible for many small businesses to improve the quality of their lighting while reducing electricity consumption by 75% or more. For example, a restaurant replacing 100, 65-watt standard light bulbs with energy-efficiency compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs could save over $2,000/year with a payback period under 6 months. The change would also reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generation.

Project Mentors

Dr. Tom Bierma (Environmental Health)
Dr. Peter Kaufman (Marketing)
Dr. Lou Reifschneider (Technology)
Dr. Dale Fitzgibbons (Management)

Students

Rebecca Groeninger, Environmental Health
Kaylee Halberg, Environmental Health
Morgan Martin, Environmental Health
Kimberly McLeod, Environmental Health
Filip Miljevic, Finance
Laura Miller, Marketing
Ben Taylor, Management

Final Deliverable

Each team demonstrated what marketing strategy, what client interaction event, what technology (types of lighting) yielded the best outcome of energy conservation for clients in the Bloomington/Normal area.
Specific student learning outcomes from this project were as follows:

  • building communication skills with team members from other disciplines,
  • developing research and analytical skills,
  • developing project management skills,
  • building selling and persuasion skills with local area businesses, and
  • developing a financial analysis template that clients could use to help assess the return on investment of a lighting retrofit.

Field Experience