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2019 Student Innovator of the Year launches business plan into space

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BYU Engineering Associate Dean Vincent Wilding and Rollins Center Director Scott Peterson awarded Riley Meik, founder of Sugarhouse Aerospace, the 1st place title of 2019 Student Innovator of the Year and $7,000 in prize money.

Known for launching BYU students’ great ideas into real businesses, this year’s Student Innovator of the Year Competition launched its winner’s idea even further--into space, that is.

Riley Meik of Sugarhouse Aerospace presented the winning idea: an affordable way to make rocket flights accessible to the general public.

Hosted by the Rollins Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology, Venture Factory and BYU Engineering, the annual SIOY competition has kickstarted now-successful companies Owlet, Khione, and Mystorm in past years.

Seven teams of innovative students presented their ideas at the finals competition held March 27th, competing for the title of Student Innovator of the Year and $13,000 in prize money to kick-start their business. The finalist teams were selected from over 30 teams that competed in the preliminary competition held March 21st.

The student innovators represented a diverse mix of backgrounds, ranging from mechanical engineering to family studies. The ideas students presented showed a diverse combination of innovative problem solving, design, and business savvy.

Sugarhouse Aerospace took 1st place title of Student Innovator of the Year for 2019 and $7,000 in prize money. Founded by student Riley Meik, Sugarhouse Aerospace provides affordable rocket flights to the general public. The business seeks to make suborbital space more accessible to educators, researchers, and consumers to explore the final frontier and its unique environment.

Taking 2nd place and $3,000 in prize money was Neptune, a 100% biodegradable plastic alternative created by Marx Acosta-Rubio, Hal Jones, Grant Christensen and Trayton Spetch. The group uses chitin, a byproduct of shrimp shells, as a base material to create biodegradable material. The group is working to use their material as substitute a substitute for plastic water bottles and bags to better protect the environment.

Screenless smart-toy Kiri took 3rd place and $2,000 in prize money. Founded by students Kristin McGuire, Justin Egbert, Zoe Lau, Robert Monson, Brady Moon and James Webb, Kiri is a modern wooden block programmed to speak, play music, and light up with programmed tags. Kiri creates engaged play helping children learn letters, numbers, music theory, foreign languages and more without the use of a screen.

The people’s choice award of $1,000 was awarded to Thrive Smart Systems, a team of student innovators working to make wireless sprinkler systems.

Visit sioy.byu.edu to learn more about the annual Student Innovator of the Year Competition.

Story Highlights

  • 1st place ($7,000) winner: Sugarhouse Aerospace. Founded by student Riley Meik, Sugarhouse Aerospace provides affordable rocket flights to the general public.
  • 2nd place ($3,000) winner: Neptune, a 100% biodegradable plastic alternative created by Marx Acosta-Rubio, Hal Jones, Grant Christensen and Trayton Spetch.
  • 3rd place ($2,000) winner: Kiri. Founded by students Kristin McGuire, Justin Egbert, Zoe Lau, Robert Monson, Brady Moon and James Webb, Kiri is a modern wooden block programmed to speak, play music, and light up with programmed tags.
  • People's Choice ($1,000) winner: Thrive Smart Systems founded by Bryan Brittain, Seth Bangerter, Grant Rowberry, Skyler Rowley, Aislynn Edwards, and Spencer Low.

Media Contact
Writers
Photography
Release Date
Jordyn Crowley WattsLilian WhitneySavanna RichardsonMarch 28, 2019
801-422-3948
Jordyn_watts@byu.edu