Howard University takes first, third place in HBCU challenge

The challenge asks students to create solutions for a problem in their community.

Howard University took first place in the annual AT&T HBCU Challenge, in which students create solutions for a problem in their community.

The annual challenge seeks solutions for issues that include connecting students and teachers, climate change, and bridging the digital divide.

Team Levels, Howard University

“We’re excited about how this program engages students and gets them thinking about how to solve real problems,” Michelle Jordan, vice president of Talent and Leadership Development at AT&T, said in a statement. “The challenge is just one of the many ways we’re opening doors and helping to cultivate Black leadership and technology development.”

According to a press release, Howard University’s five-person team took the $75,000 first prize for its smart trash can that automatically separates garbage from what can be recycled or composted.

The team noted that landfills contribute to air, water, and soil pollution, with more than 80% of recyclable materials ending up in trash cans and landfills. The smart trash can separate non-recyclables from recyclables and decide whether they belong either in a compost, trash, or recycling bag.

Morgan State University took the $15,000-second prize for its virtual reality tool. The tool levels the playing field for students no matter their language, location, or financial status.

Morgan State noted the importance of having a connected experience with equal educational opportunities. The team plans to make use of AT&T’s 5G latency and VR (virtual reality) space (Metaverse) to help disenfranchised students.

Howard University also took the $10,000 third prize for an online resource that promotes the importance of quality healthcare in the Black community. 

The team noted the impact of carbon dioxide and climate change on Earth. It proposed using technology to track carbon emissions via phones.

The complete list of winners:

First Place: Team Levels, Howard University

Ikechi Anyanwu – Business and Finance, Spring 2022

Lauren Guthrie – Computer Science, Spring 2024

Murad Abdi – Computer Science, Spring 2024 

Niles Stubbs – Finance, Spring 2022

Second Place: Team Meta Bears- Morgan State University

Abigail Dina – Computer Science, Spring 2023

Dimitri Watat – Finance, Spring 2023

Makyha Wilridge – Computer Science, Spring 2022

 Martin Adu-Boahene – Information Systems, Spring 2023

 3rd Place

Team Mecca Minds- Howard University 

Asha Abdullah – Finance, Spring 2024

Brielle Mitchell – Business Management, Spring 2024

Elise Gentry – Marketing, Spring 2024

Noelle Smith – International Business, Spring 2024

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