More than 50 students in Conestoga's Engineering and Information Technology programs will use their upcoming Study Week to build their skills, as they compete to find solutions to real-world industry challenges. Working in teams of four, the students will have four days to design and implement a minimum of four viable solutions to problems found in an engineering or information technology-based industry.
Ignac Kolenko, Chair of the School of Engineering and Information Technology, launched the initial 4X4 Challenge in 2012 with the goal of inspiring students to use their creativity, knowledge and innovation to solve problems quickly and as a group. He is confident that this year's challenge will build on the success of past years.
"Many students come to campus to acquire skills to land a job," Kolenko said, "but they are often unaware that the skills they have give them the opportunities to create their own opportunities as entrepreneurs as well."
Like many of Conestoga's initiatives, the annual 4X4 Challenge is highly connected to the local business community. Support for previous challenges has come from all across the region, and has included Canadian Tire, Blackberry and Communitech. Industry sponsors for the 2015 event include Karos Health Care from Waterloo and Car-San Manufacturing Limited from Kitchener.
"For the second time, we will have a theme to help focus the projects," Kolenko explained."This year's theme is Innovations in Health and Wellness,which will encourage students to examine a specific industry area that is ripe for innovation - health."
Student teams will have the opportunity to provide solutions to challenges from across the health care spectrum. They will focus on areas such as electronics records and data management, measurements that sense a person's well-being through technology, and tracking and managing someone's pathway to a better lifestyle.
"This industry focus has tremendous possibilities for innovation," Kolenko continued.
The 4X4 Challenge has become more popular each year, with this year's participation expected to exceed 50 students on more than 16 teams. The 2015 4X4 Challenge will take place from February 17 - 20. Students who wish to register for this event should contact Melanie Hogeveen.Students can register as a team or individually, with the expectation that they will be placed on a team.
For more information about the 2015 4x4 Challenge, contact Ignac Kolenko
Pictured above - Participants at Communitech Hub for the launch of the first 4X4 Challenge in 2012. Randall Kozak (faculty in the Information Technology cluster) spoke to students to welcome them to the event. Adam Stanley, from BlackBerry, seated to the right of Randall, provided BlackBerry platform support and mentorship.