Rob Caruso traveled to Sao Paulo, Brazil from November 7-9 to compete in the 11th annual Idea to Product® (I2P) Global competition. Caruso, a mechanical engineering graduate student at Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology joined 13 teams from around the world to represent Saint Louis University (SLU) with the product idea, Finite Element Analysis, a downloadable structural analysis software for the most widely used free computer aided design software, SketchUp.
The competition featured three championship tracks and a technology showcase. SLU won the technology showcase award. Teammates included Greg Keogh and Thomas Combes, both who graduated in May 2013.
“The trip was amazing. There were all sorts of great people from around the world interested in technology and entrepreneurship,” Caruso said. “Everyone was very friendly and willing to give advice and guidance; it didn’t feel like we were competitors as much as colleagues. The judges were invested in making this a wonderful learning opportunity for the contestant. I hope to keep in touch with several people I met in Brazil.”
“On the non-competition side, Sao Paulo was quite an experience,” Rob added. “Whether it was a street vendor or one of the restaurants the group visited, the local food was some of the best I’ve ever had.”
The I2P global competition was the last of three competitions Caruso’s team has competed in this year. They placed 1st in the SLU I2P campus competition and placed in the top five at the I2P Missouri-Illinois Regional competition.
Idea to Product® Global is a competition in commercialization of research aiming to fill the gap between university research and business plan competitions. The annual I2P competition is a unique academic competition looking at ideas at their earliest stage.
Caruso’s trip was funded by The Coleman Foundation. The Coleman Foundation is a private, independent grantmaker focusing primarily on the Midwest. Foundation resources support education – with a strong emphasis on entrepreneurship.
Saint Louis University’s Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology offers aviation degrees and engineering degree programs that enable students to study these technical disciplines in a traditional university setting. As the first federally-recognized flight school, Parks College has a rich history of creating well-rounded leaders in aviation and engineering fields such as civil, electrical, computer, mechanical, biomedical and aerospace. For more information, visit parks.slu.edu.