Student entrepreneurs enter the 'Lion's Den' in competition at Penn State Beaver

Three male students stand around a podium with a screen projection to the right. A panel of judges is in the foreground of the photo.

Penn State Beaver students, from left, Spencer Naleppa, Nick Mitaras and Ryan Nolan present their idea for a biometric chip to a panel of judges during the fourth annual Lion's Den competition. The event was held Nov. 14.

Credit: Cathy Benscoter / Penn State Beaver

MONACA, Pa. — Penn State Beaver held its fourth annual Lion’s Den competition Nov. 14. Eight ideas for new products were presented to a panel of judges during the "Shark Tank"-style competition.

“Lion’s Den provides a platform for our students to learn and practice creative thinking and problem-solving skills outside the class. The ideas pitched this year again showcased the potential of Penn State Beaver students to have successful careers in the area of business and technology,” Ashu Kumar, IST program coordinator and Beaver Valley LaunchBox director, said.

The competition was a collaborative effort between the Department of Academic Affairs and the Beaver Valley LaunchBox. Three teams won based on their ideas for new products:

— Nick Mitaras, Spencer Naleppa and Ryan Nolan won for their concept of a biometric nutrition chip that could be implanted and track a person’s nutritional intake and vital statistics.

— Jonathan Rowland, Jaydon Woodward and Zachary Cardwell won for their idea to create tires that would sense road conditions and automatically adjust to make travel safer.

— Tylai Smith, Jade Spratley and Anna Vesho won for their concept for the “Hy-Genie,” a modernized feminine hygiene product dispenser that would allow the user to purchase products with a credit or debit card.

The winning students can received assistance from the Beaver Valley LaunchBox if they want to continue to develop their concepts.

The competition judges were Penn State Beaver Chancellor Jenifer Cushman; Director of Academic Affairs Carey McDougall; Assistant Teaching Professor Tiffany MacQuarrie; Sandy Curry, the community partnership manager for the Alliance for Non-Profit Resources; and Joel Cilli, director of innovation and strategic partnerships at PA Cyber.