Pharma giant GSK partners with StartUP FIU again to host student-targeted Innovation Challenge 

By Irene FerradazGuest Contributor

Impressed by the innovative spirit, hard-work and dedication shown by FIU students last semester, GSK and StartUP FIU have joined forces once again to offer the immersive GSK Innovation Challenge to a new cohort of students this Fall.

“The results from our first event were so inspiring that we had to do it again,” said Maya Martinez-Davis, President U.S., GSK.  “By bringing together students from all backgrounds, we can utilize their perspectives and innovative spirit as they work on a real-life health challenge affecting millions of Americans. This is their chance to learn more about health disparities in marginalized communities and our opportunity to hear from the next generation of problem solvers.”

Beginning August 28th, about 30 students selected by StartUP FIU started the 12-week GSK Innovation Challenge. Hailing from a variety of majors, students will meet twice a week and in person with StartUP FIU mentors and GSK experts to analyze the various barriers to healthcare experienced by those in minority communities.  The goal of the GSK Innovation Challenge is for students to innovate ways to overcome these barriers and determine how to effectively and impactfully communicate the most up-to-date healthcare information that will inspire these communities to take action.

“As one of the largest Hispanic-Serving Institutions in the nation, our student population is uniquely positioned to understand – many at a personal level – the healthcare barriers faced by minority populations,” says Emily Gresham, Assistant Vice President for Research, Innovation and Economic Development and Co-Founder of StartUP FIU. “The GSK Innovation Challenge offers our students the chance to creatively tackle these issues and make a significant impact on their local community.”

This continued partnership with GSK highlights StartUP FIU’s mission to provide students with dynamic, hands-on learning opportunities that complement the University curriculum and inspire them to examine social problems and challenges through the lens of creative innovation. A uniquely creative space on campus, StartUP FIU offers students the chance to confidently explore their entrepreneurial capacity, while strengthening the skills, tools, and mental frameworks necessary to adapt and thrive in our ever-evolving, technology-driven world.

“I learned so many new skills while working on the GSK Innovation Challenge last semester,” says Maria Angelica Subido [pictured above], a Biological Sciences senior whose team won first place. “In addition to understanding the importance of listening to my team members’ unique academic and cultural perspectives, I learned how storytelling can be a valuable tool for communicating effectively and getting our message across.” 

In addition to being part of a nation-wide effort to improve health outcomes for minority communities and making a positive impact in the medical field, student participants will receive corporate internship credits, the opportunity to learn from leaders and experts in the healthcare industry and earn $1,000 for their efforts.

Photo at the top of this post shows 1st and 2nd place student winners from this spring.