Innovation Challenge top prize goes to Ride with Pride

McDaniel professor Bryn Upton, students Louis Schaab and Justin Arter, McDaniel president Roger Casey
April 11, 2017

The McDaniel student team of Louis Schaab and Justin Arter took the top prize of $10,000 at the Innovation Challenge finals April 10 for Ride with Pride, a service to provide accessible, affordable and cool transportation for people with disabilities in Carroll County.

The $5,500 prize for second place went to sophomore Zach Fortuna of Metuchen, N.J., for D1V3RG3NT, a single, all-purpose tailgating table with multiple games. The $2,500 third-place award, chosen by the audience, went to BookSWAP, an app for buying and selling used textbooks, by Brandon Cortese ’17, a Sociology major from East Windsor, N.J.; Hunter Metcalf ’17, an Art major from Blain, Pa.; Maia Hanlon ’19, a Computer Science and Mathematics major from Madison, Wis.; Sam Hampton ’19, a Computer Science and Mathematics major from Delmont, N.J., and Dajuan Price ’17, a Communication major from Clinton, Md.

Thrilled with the $10,000 prize that puts them closer to making Ride with Pride a reality, the team always planned to implement their idea regardless of the outcome of Innovation Challenge.

“Of course, there was never any question that we would do this,” said Schaab, a junior Business Administration major from Laurel, Md. “We think that we can help solve the problem of not having easily accessible and affordable transportation here in Carroll County.”

Arter, a freshman dual Mathematics and Economics major from Waldorf, Md., says they can also add “cool” to the description of the converted vehicles they will provide as transportation.

“We can improve the quality of life for people with disabilities by making transportation affordable and accessible – and if that vehicle is a converted SUV or Jeep that gives people a stylish ride, then that will be really awesome,” Arter says, explaining that they will also use federal grants, state funding and donations from private donors and charitable organizations to establish the service. “We planned all along to carry through even if we didn’t win.”

Five finalists presented their ideas to three judges and an audience of more than 200 people. The finalists were chosen from a pool of 17 entries submitted by McDaniel students. In addition to the three prize winners, other finalists are Lucy Benson ’17, a History major from Wilmington, Del., and Gavin Gibson ’19, a Psychology major from Newark, Del., for RunInTwo, a social media app that enables runners to find other runners in an area by providing live stream locations of its users, and Peter Cory ’18, a Sociology major from Phoenix, Md., for Service Dog Therapy, a weekly program in which service dogs are brought to a college campus to improve mental health of students and serve as a retention tool.

Proposals, posted on the Innovation Challenge website, also include ideas for oyster conservation in the Chesapeake Bay, services for people with disabilities, support through life’s transitions, clothing resale online thrift stores, and more.

Judges for the finals are Kristen Ellis, an entrepreneur and winner of the 2016 Carroll Biz Challenge for her Enter Exit Escape adventure and team building experience; Kristine Harjes ’14, an analyst at The Motley Fool, a multimedia financial services company based in Alexandria, Va., where she manages’s healthcare content; which includes hosting the podcast “Industry Focus: Healthcare,” and Danielle Rowlett Tate ’03, founder and CEO of, a website that helps those newly married change their last name, and author of “Elegant Entrepreneur: The female founders guide to starting and growing your first company.”

Judges for the first round selection of finalists are Josh Ambrose, director of the college Writing Center; Julie Routzahn, associate professor of Economics and Business Administration and Innovation Fellow for The Encompass Distinction Program; Nigel Burdett, lecturer in Business Administration, and Jason Stambaugh, McDaniel entrepreneur-in-residence.

The McDaniel Innovation Challenge is sponsored by the Encompass Distinction and made possible with the generous support of Dennis Sisco ’68 & Alexine Lesko through The Sisco Fund for Enterprise Management.

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President Casey addresses a packed house at Innovation Challenge.

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Innovation Challenge top prize winners Louis Schaab and Justin Arter (l-r, center) with The Encompass Distinction director and History professor Bryn Upton (l.) and McDaniel president Roger N. Casey (r.).

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D1V3RG3NT by Zach Fortuna

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Zach Fortuna

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BookSWAP by (l-r) Sam Hampton, Dajuan Price, Maia Hanlon, Brandon Cortese, Hunter Metcalf.

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Innovation Challenge Judges: (l-r) Kristen Ellis, Danielle Rowlett Tate and Kristine Harjes.

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RunInTwo by (l-r) Lucy Benson and Gavin Gibson.

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RunInTwo by (l-r) Gavin Gibson and Lucy Benson.

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Service Dog Therapy by Peter Cory.

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Peter Cory