Iowa State University Ignite LEGO® Challenge
Eleven days filled with students, faculty, staff and alumni going head-to-head, vying for up to $9,000 in prizes.
By Mallory Tope, Student Innovation Center Content Writer | Published Aug 31, 2021
The smell of fried food whiffs through the air and the booming sound of crowds fills your ears as you dig your way through bins of LEGO® Bricks. The clocking is ticking down; the pressure is on to finish in time.
Thousands turned out for the Iowa State Fair to get their fill of carnival food, entertainment and amusement rides. Iowa State fans received their fill of Cyclone pride from the Ignite Innovation Showcase On The Road exhibit.
For 11 days, Cyclones piled into the Iowa State University booth to catch a glimpse of the innovation taking place. The Ignite LEGO® Challenge had fans ‘oohing’ and ‘aahing’ at the LEGO® builds Iowa State students, faculty, staff and alumni created.
In the afternoon and early evening, teams stacked up against one another for the opportunity to earn up to $9,000 in prizes. In two hours, teams built a LEGO® structure that embodied the concept of innovation at Iowa State.
Ten teams did not back down from the challenge and came prepared to show their innovation and Cyclone pride.
Damandeep Riat, a graduate student in business administration, said his team began working on this challenge in May with brainstorming sessions.
“We would take 30 minutes and on our own try to draw what we thought innovation meant to us and then we would combine our ideas,” Riat said.
Teams showed creativity and innovation with their unique ideas. Builds ranged from a replica of the Atanasoff-Berry computer to the Campanile as a Ferris wheel of innovation.
“We wanted to incorporate a lot of different colleges [in our build] because innovation isn’t necessarily just coming from the College of Engineering or Design; it comes from every college at Iowa State,” said Matt Frerichs, Iowa State alumni.
How teams stacked up
1st Place: HYD LEGO®– $3,000
Team Members: Yingyang Huang | Business Administration, Ivy College of Business
Damandeep Riat | Graduate Student in Business Administration, Ivy College of Business
Hay Oo | Graduate Student in Accounting, Ivy College of Business
2nd Place: The Brunch Club- $1,500
Team Members: Brandt Damman | Software Engineering, College of Engineering
Cavin Leeds | Graduate Student in Software Engineering, College of Engineering
3rd Place: Bricks Before Chicks- $750
Team members: Crayton Mitchell | Industrial Design, College of Design
Andrew Ritchie | Graduate Student in Management Information Systems, Ivy College of Business
Kyle Geerts | Graduate Student in Software Engineering, College of Engineering
4th Place: Added Value- $500
Team Members: Jenny Pollard | Department of Residence
Matt Frerichs | Iowa State Alumni
AJ Pollard | Iowa State Alumni
5th Place: The Bricks of Iowa State- $500
Team Members: Benjamin Steward | Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
Timothy Steward | Iowa State Alumni
Dagney Paskach | Graduate Student in Educational Technology, College of Human Sciences
6th Place: First Try!-$500
Team Members: Jorden Duda | Industrial Design, College of Design
Ethan Reilly | Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering
Chris Johannsen | Computer Engineering, College of Engineering
7th Place: Xinnovate- $250
Team Members: Leah Barton | Center for Industrial Research and Service
Mary McGraw | Center for Industrial Research and Service
Jodi Essex | Center for Industrial Research and Service
Be on the lookout for the top 3 teams’ builds to be displayed in the Student Innovation Center.
Live LEGO® build
Featured alongside the Ignite LEGO® Challenge was the live, life-sized build of Iowa State graduate and innovator, George Washington Carver. The display was built out of forty-four thousand LEGO® bricks by Iowa State graduate Chris Ihle.
Ihle, founder of We Build U, along with three team members, built the LEGO® version of Carver within the Iowa State University booth throughout the fair.
The LEGO® build of Carver will be on display on Iowa State’s campus at a to-be-determined location.
The 2021 Iowa State Fair was one for the books, stay tuned for Iowa State University’s exhibit next year.