The stage is set for the 19th annual Imagine Cup World Championship, taking place during Microsoft Build’s digital experience on May 25. Four finalist teams from across the world are bringing their innovations for impact to showcase globally. Focused on four social good categories – Earth, Education, Healthcare, and Lifestyle – their ideas encompass the Imagine Cup’s mission to empower every student to apply technology to solve issues in their local and global communities.
In the 2021 competition, students reimagined a future through projects guided by accessibility, sustainability, inclusion, equality, and passion. Submitted solutions covered a variety of current issues, including a 3D sign-language animation, a virtual game to combat social isolation, an early detection platform for Parkinson’s Disease, an intelligent bee keeping system, and more.
On May 25, our four finalists will present their innovations for the chance to take home USD75,000 and mentorship with Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. A panel of expert World Championship judges will assess each project. With combined industry and personal experience in diversity leadership, startups, founding businesses, and applying tech for social impact, our judges will apply their knowledge to evaluate the most inclusive and original solution with the potential to make a global difference.
Imagine Cup judges dedicate their personal time and experience to help empower the next generation of developers. We’ve been fortunate to have a diverse panel of industry experts, from around the world, leading up to the World Championship, including Devendra Singh, CTO at PowerSchool, Kai Frazier, Founder at KaiXR, Neil Sebire, Chief Clinical Data Officer at HDK UK, and Jason Goldberg, Chief Commerce Strategy Officer at Publicis, and more.
For the first time in Imagine Cup history, we are pleased to introduce a panel of all women judges for the World Championship. During the competition, each team will pitch their project and demo their technology, followed by questions from judges. Who will take home the trophy? Join our hosts, Tiernan Madorno, Microsoft Business Program Manager, and Donovan Brown, Microsoft Partner Program Manager, and tune into the show on May 25 at 1:30pm PT to find out!
Meet the World Championship judges
Jocelyn Jackson – National Society of Black Engineers National Chair, 2019-2021
Student, researcher, leader, and change agent are just a few descriptors of Jocelyn Jackson. In her final term as the National Chair of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), Jocelyn led NSBE through one of the hardest years it has faced. Through the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the racial injustice reckoning in America, Jocelyn stayed dedicated to using her leadership and voice to make a difference in the lives of other young Black men & women interested in engineering, and to make engineering a more diverse and accepting field for all. As National Chair, Jocelyn made massive strides to accomplish the current strategic goal of NSBE: 10K by 2025, or to graduate 10,000 Black engineers annually by 2025 by launching NSBE's newest 5 year strategic plan 'Game Change 2025.' During her last 3 years at NSBE, Jocelyn managed & led the board of directors to ensure the best overall experience of NSBE stakeholders.
Originally from Davenport, Iowa, Jackson received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Iowa State University, where her thesis research focused on the development of elastomeric coatings with reduced wear for ice-free applications. She is a second-year doctoral student in Engineering Education Research at the University of Michigan. Her current research works toward advancing equity in STEM and STEM entrepreneurship.
Enhao Li – Co-Founder and CEO of Female Founder School
Enhao Li is the Co-Founder and CEO of Female Founder School. Enhao studied Economics at Harvard and in a former life was an investment banker for fast-growing technology companies - helping to take companies like Pandora public, but she was always itching to be a founder herself. It wasn’t until she finally took the leap and started on her own company did she discover just how unprepared she was; she did all of the wrong things, wasted time and money, only to finally learn that there was a way to do this. Since then, she has become obsessed with learning how to build successful companies from experienced founders and investors and sharing it with new founders. That is where Female Founder School came from - her own personal experiences and a mission to make it easier for anyone especially women to build successful companies of their own.
Toni Townes-Whitley – President, US Regulated Industries, Microsoft
As president of US Regulated Industries at Microsoft, Toni Townes-Whitley leads the US sales strategy for driving digital transformation across customers and partners within the public sector and commercial regulated industries. With responsibility for the 4900+ sales organization and ~$15B P&L, she is one of the leading women at Microsoft, and in the technology industry, with a track record for accelerating and sustaining profitable business and building high-performance teams.
Her organization is responsible for executing on Microsoft’s industry strategy and go-to-market for both public sector and regulated industries in the United States, including Education, Financial Services, Government, and Healthcare. In addition to leading a sales organization, Townes-Whitley is helping to steer the company’s work to address systemic racial injustice – with efforts targeted both internally at representation and inclusion; as well as externally at leveraging technology to counter prevailing societal challenges. She has developed expertise and speaks publicly about “Civic Technology”, applying tech innovation for social impact.
Don’t miss out on the chance to see which team will win it all at the Imagine Cup World Championship! Plus, as a student at Microsoft Build, you can enhance your own developer skills and prepare to create the next great project. Register at no cost for the Student Zone now.
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