Alabama Power Foundation – Innovative Technology Prize


Shahriar Amini – Novel Direct Air Capture

Culverhouse College of Business – Entrepreneurial Growth Business Award

$10,000 Award

Nicole Ruggiano – The Caregiver Connect App

Office for Research and Economic Development Awards

$5,000 - First Prize

Chao Zhao - A New Drug for Prolonged Sensory Selective Nerve Block

$3,000 - Second Prize

Dawen Li - Manufacturing of Perovskite Tandem Solar Cells

$2,000 - Third Prize

Hongsheng He– Smart Hand

Division of Finance and Operations: Staff Innovation Pitch Awards

$5,000 - First Prize

Reilly Blackwell – Hypogenica: Carbon-Negative CaCO3 Production

$3,000 - Second Prize

Stefanie Buckner – Up & Under Rugby Academy

$2,000 - Third Prize

Demitrius Barksdale – LEADingWell

Thank You to The Competitors, Judges, Facilitators, & Support Team


  • Ying Qin: Assistant Director, Office for Economic & Business Engagement – The University of Alabama


  • Kevin Kaye: Innovation Manager, Alabama Power

  • Pete Ludovice: Executive Director, College of Engineering – The University of Alabama

  • Gordon Martin: Kennemer Center Program Director, Honors College – The University of Alabama

  • Rob Morgan: Executive Director, STEM Path to the MBA – The University of Alabama

  •  Frederick Spight: Assistant Professor, School of Law – The University of Alabama

Support Team

  • Dan Blakley: Associate Vice President for Economic & Business Engagement – The University of Alabama   

  • Dr. Theresa Welbourne: Executive Director, Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute & Will and Maggie Brooke Professor in Entrepreneurship – The University of Alabama

  • Jenni Miesse Whinery: Marketing Manager, Alabama Entrepreneurship Institute –  The University of Alabama

All Competitors

  • Shahriar Amini: Novel Direct Air Capture – Associate Professor, College of Engineering

  • Demitrius Barksdale: LEADingWell – Program Manager, Culverhouse College of Business

  • Reilly Blackwell: Hypogenica: Carbon-Negative CaCO3 Production – Laboratory Technician & Research Support, College of Arts & Sciences

  • Olga Bredikhina: EVOLVE – Transportation Research Economist, Office for Research & Economic Development

  • Stefanie Buckner: Up and Under Rugby Academy – Associate Director of Academic Development and Engagement, Culverhouse College of Business

  • Hongsheng He: Smart Hand – Associate Professor, College of Engineering

  • Qiang Huang: DNA Channels – Associate Professor, College of Engineering

  • Sushma Kotru: Vitamin D Tracker – Associate Professor, College of Engineering

  • Dawen Li: Manufacturing of Perovskite Tandem Solar Cells – Professor, College of Engineering

  • Nicole Ruggiano: The Caregiver Connect App – Associate Dean of Research & Professor, School of Social Work

  • Chao Zhao: A new drug for prolonged sensory selective nerve block – Assistant Professor, College of Engineering