A campus shot of Concordia University Wisconsin

Two teams from Concordia University Wisconsin are among the 88 first-round winners of Foxconn’s Smart Cities—Smart Futures competition.


One of the teams, made up of CUW nursing staff member Mary Dittmar, Associate Professor of Nursing Dawn Kuerschner, and two sophomore computer science students, Austin Winkler and Blaine Andrada, entered the competition with a pitch for a virtual reality application to teach undergraduate nursing students to learn fundamental nursing skills. The app, called Virtual Innovation to Advance Learning (VITAL), is a supplemental teaching tool to help students learn the steps of a skill before they participate in hands-on practice.

CUW student Kenady Minley also advanced to the next round of the competition with Diner’s Delight, an app that aims to enhance the traditional dining-out experience by allowing patrons to order and reserve a table in advance of their restaurant arrival. In addition to her win with Smart Cities—Smart Futures, Minley snagged second place (with a $500 prize) in the Dec. 10 CU Launch competition held on CUW’s campus.

A third Concordia team made up of Assistant Database Administrator Seth Underhill and Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School teacher Erich Schmidt received honorable mention for their emergency response software system proposal.

The two winning teams took home $500 and are eligible to compete in Round Two of the competition. Winners of the second round may then advance to a third and final round, with a submission window that opens in March and goes until mid-April.

Launched in August, Smart Cities—Smart Futures asked students, faculty and staff from Wisconsin’s higher education institutions to submit their innovative solutions for developing smart, connected cities. In total, Foxconn has pledged up to $1 million over the next three years to the competition.

Learn more about Smart Cities—Smart Futures here.

— Kali Thiel is director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at kali.thiel@cuw.edu or 262-243-2149.

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