What happens when you give 50+ KU engineering students from SHPE, NSBE, SWE, AISES, and Women in Computing the opportunity to come together to use design thinking and lean startup skills to change the world? They begin to believe that they can. Recently Kiewit and Amazon (AWS Educate) sponsored IHAWKe in our third year of having IHAWKe-a-Thons that launch our Change the World projects.
Another 50 of our KU students attended Amazon workshops led by Raj C. to learn how to use machine learning, AI, computer vision, and speech tools. What is amazing is that all of the teams that competed, most of whom had never written an AI program, all had low-fidelity prototypes that integrated high fidelity Alexa speech and AI capabilities.
The students touched on topics from the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges and the UN Sustainable Development Goals including Equitable Access for Education and Healthcare, Sustainable Transportation and Waste Reduction. Some ideas were creative, radical, or practical but all were imaginative, hopeful and inspiring. Each solution shared how empathy, personas, ideation, prototypes, and feedback were involved. Something new to this year’s IHAWKe-a-Thon included students providing their business models to pitch the economic viability of their solutions, particularly in developing countries.
Thanks to Kiewit (Jay, Charles, John) for providing funding for the prizes, scholarships, supplies, and food. We appreciate also AWS Education (Raj, Brooke, Bill, and Tiffany) for the time planning, teaching, and donations of their amazing technology and platform. Thanks also to Burns and McDonnell (Cesar), Cerner (John), C2FO (Adam), KCKPS (Anita), and KU faculty (Annette, Garrett, Cuncong, Michael) that helped provide feedback and judging.
“Those people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones that do.” – Steve Jobs