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  Innovators Contest - Call for Applications  
  Lucas Maxwell  12/6/2022 2:08:00 PM  

Sent on Behalf of Dr. Rob Rhykerd - 

My name is Rob Rhykerd, and I am a professor of agriculture at Illinois State University and a director of an organization called Innovators that aspires to promote and reward high school students for their creativity, innovation and entrepreneurial mindset. Over the last eight years, we have awarded over $200,000 in cash prizes, scholarships and in-kind support to high school students around the world. Our goal is to assist them in following their dreams.


We know that you prepare your Ag students to be problem solvers, leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, stewards, creators and builders. We want to celebrate and reward them for their brilliance in one or more of the following areas as it applies to agriculture:

  • Arts, Media & Literature
  • Business Entrepreneurship
  • Social Entrepreneurship
  • Health & Nutrition
  • Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM)


What do they need to do?

  1. Submit a 1000-word essay and a 90-second video on what makes them exceptional. If selected by our team to advance...
  2. Participate in a 90-second virtual first round pitch. If selected by our team to advance...
  3. Participate in a 3 minute final round pitch


Where and when does Innovators take place?

The first round of the competition takes place virtually from March 27th to March 31st at a time arranged by the teams with our judges. (step 2 above)


The Innovators finals is the team choice of virtual or in person at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, USA on April 22, 2023, starting at 8:00 am Central Time. (step 3 above)


I encourage you to have your students apply by February 19, 2023, at


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this contest.




Rob Rhykerd

Professor of Agriculture

Director, Innovators


Department of Agriculture

Campus Box 5020

Illinois State University

Normal, IL 61790



Lucas Maxwell
Illinois State University
Phone: 309-438-3563 Cell: --
Address: 301 N. Main Street, 125 Ropp Agriculture Building, Normal, IL 61790
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