The tournament was sponsored by UW System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Council (WEDC) and part of the 2021 WiSys SPARK Symposium Virtual Series – which honors faculty, staff and student research, innovation, and entrepreneurship in the UW System.
Richardson, the first Parkside winner of the tournament, competed against fellow university students from across the state. Like her fellow competitors, she was tasked with developing and pitching an innovative idea to a panel of judges led by WEDC Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes, who was also the featured guest speaker at the event. Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation’s Greg Keenan and the Center for Technology Commercialization’s Idella Yamben also served as judges.
Richardson developed the idea for the app “LinguaMD” while volunteering at a free health care clinic where many of the patients could not speak, read, or write in English, causing challenges to their treatment.
“My intended goal for this app is to help patients understand their diagnosis and course of treatment through the use of verbal, written, and visual explanations,” said Richardson. “I had the privilege of developing this app with the support of Dr. Robert Barber and Dr. Zaid Altahat from UW-Parkside. I am so very proud to be a UW-Parkside student as well as grateful for the education and opportunities I am provided through attending school here.”
Participants in the Big Idea Tournament were nominated by their home campus based on students’ participation in their campuses’ tournament. Richardson won the UW-Parkside Big Ideas Tournament and worked with Parkside’s App Factory and the Computer Science software engineering class on an initial prototype of LinguaMD.
The first-place finish comes with a $2,500 prize and the potential for additional support to develop the idea.
WiSys President Arjun Sanga called LinguaMD “a fantastic idea.”
“I commend Gabrielle’s entrepreneurial spirit. She saw a challenging problem and worked to come up with a solution with great market potential,” Sanga said. “I look forward to seeing how far Gabrielle can take this innovative idea.”
In the leadup to the event, participating teams received mentoring from business leaders including Georgia-Pacific’s Darin Driessen, Titletown Tech’s Aaron Kennedy, Kentucky Commercialization Ventures’ Monique Quarterman, the Small Business Development Center’s Colleen Merrill, and Resourceability’s Kelly Berry.
WiSys is a nonprofit organization that works with faculty, staff, students, and alumni of the UW System to facilitate cutting-edge research programs, develop, and commercialize discoveries and foster a spirit of innovative and entrepreneurial thinking across the state.