The 2020 Raymond Ideas Challenge took place on Sunday, November 15. The day-long competition was converted to a completely online ecosystem to ensure that the 20-year tradition would take place regardless of the state of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The annual competition challenges undergraduate and graduate students at Texas A&M to dream up the next big innovation that will change the world. The mission of Raymond Ideas Challenge is to encourage students to develop their idea and their entrepreneurial mindset; the student’s ideas should be novel, feasible, and impactful while also solving a problem.

Although many students apply each year, only 40 teams are selected to participate on competition day. The Top 40 finalists compete in front of over 75 experienced judges and entrepreneurs from the business and academic ecosystems. Finalists are then invited to pitch their idea during two rounds of judging. The finalist’s presentation can only be 5 minutes long, and each finalist receives 5 minutes for Q&A. During Q&A, judges are encouraged to challenge the participants to think about their idea like a true entrepreneur. The interactive approach provides students with valuable experience in developing business concepts, writing skills, and presentation abilities that will be pivotal in their professional careers.

Julia Felder ’24 and Carmen Gaas ’24 won 1st place and $2,000 for their idea, Alzheimer’s Gamma Frequency Therapeutic Device. This non-invasive, wearable device emits gamma frequencies that suppress the production of amino acids found in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia. The device consists of two parts, a specialized pair of glasses and earbuds that work together to promote brain function without impairing the wearer’s daily life. “We want to inspire the next generation of inter-disciplinary female innovators to persist through the challenges they face and achieve things that they previously thought were impossible,” commented Gaas.

The McFerrin Center for Entrepreneurship would like to recognize the individuals and businesses that supported the 2020 competition. In particular, they extend thanks to the program’s underwriter, The Frank and Jean Raymond Foundation, and 2020 prize sponsor, Frogslayer. Combined, their financial support provided $10,000 in awarded prize money. Raymond Ideas Challenge is held each fall semester annually. For more information, visit mcferrin.tamu.edu.

2020 Raymond Ideas Challenge Winners:

  • First Place Award of $2,000: Alzheimer’s Gamma Frequency Therapeutic Device – Julia Felder ’24, Carmen Gaas ’24
  • Second Place Award of $1,500 sponsored by Frogslayer: Ai-RIS the Portable Retinal Imaging System – Marcus DeAyala, Tokunbo Falohun, Daniel Kermany, Harsha Mohan, Amir Tofighi Zavareh, Uthej Vattipalli
  • Third Place Award of $1,000 sponsored by Frogslayer: Wax-stic: The Wax That Replaces Plastic – Grant Hankins ’21, Jack Stewart ’21, Ty Thibodeaux ’21
  • Fourth Place Award of $850: Card Stock Exchange – Joseph Escobar ’22
  • Fifth Place Award of $650: Chronos 360 – Hassan Anifowose ’23
  • Sixth Place Award of $450: On.ai – Sanjay Kumaran ’23

Honorable Mentions – $250 Awarded to each winner

  • Construction Shield – Pepito Thelly ’22
  • InterChange – Laura Tolan ’21
  • Career Readiness Marketplace for the 21st Century Workforce – Naomi Woods ’24
  • Virus Breathalyzer: Detecting Bugs with a Single Breath – Nathaniel Fernandes ’24
  • Therapy Doll – Anna Huang ’24, Nyima Sanneh ’24
  • 4 Paws – Reagan Kinley ’21
  • Vacation Sitters – Taylor Castillo ’21