Society of Innovators at PNW hosts Innovate WithIN Region 6 Finals

March 14, 2022

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) and the Society of Innovators at PNW will host the Innovate WithIN Region 6 Finals during a live event in Alumni Hall at the PNW Hammond campus on Monday, April 18 from 1:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Innovate WithIN is the most elite pitch competition in the country for aspiring high school innovators and entrepreneurs. Student contestants have an opportunity to win $25,000 in funding, tuition and other prizes.

“The 2022 Innovate WithIN represents not only our biggest applicant participation, but our most diverse group of students. In a day and age where we need innovators from all backgrounds, this year’s students will have the ability to fulfill our state’s need for young innovators and entrepreneurs, said Don Wettrick, founder and CEO of STARTedUP Foundation.

“Region 6 has always been a leader in producing top talent. This talent has been supported by dedicated community members and teachers! Innovate WithIN continues to double in size every year largely in part of the local support and mentors like Purdue Northwest, Society of Innovators as well as the ecosystem of so many other local entrepreneurs in Northwest Indiana,” Wettrick added.

Eleven teams were selected from over 400 regional applicants to compete live in the Northwest Indiana Region 6 competition for a chance to win $1,000 and participation in the state finals. Region finalists that will compete on April 18 include:

  • Certikey: Conner Niemann, Andrew Navarro and Brett Herrin (Hobart High School)
  • Clockworks of Indiana: Ethan Pinegar and Leandra Kelly (Hobart High School)
  • Flower Power: Morgan Sanchez and Elijah Puente (Hobart High School)
  • Outpost193: Ethan Lucas (Valparaiso High School)
  • Patchables: Kayla Davis and Isis Fleming (Hobart High School)
  • Picopack: Vance Vojslavek and Patrick Rall (Valparaiso High School)
  • PupWizz: Jacob Thometz, Emma Miles and Sierra Sweeney (Munster High School)
  • RepelSand: Braedon Rossetti and James Dillabaugh (Valparaiso High School)
  • SimaraJae Creations: Simara Jenkins (Michigan City High School)
  • SupDog: Teresa Burzynski, Daniella Nahnsen and Thomas Choros (Munster High School)
  • WRM Medical Bands: Jelena Kolundzija (Hobart High School)

“Purdue Northwest is thrilled to be a supporter of the 2022 Innovate WithIN competition in Northwest Indiana,” said Kenneth C. Holford, provost and vice chancellor of Academic Affairs at Purdue Northwest. “As an institution that serves this broader metropolitan region, PNW is committed to ensuring that a strong workforce of future leaders is available. Consistent with the goals of the competition, we believe that creativity and innovation are among the most important life skills that can be instilled in our youth. These skills drive improvements in technology, business development, and ultimately strong economic development through the region.”

“Innovation is a mindset and our aim is to help develop youth to be innovators, entrepreneurs and collaborators,” added Sheila Matias, executive director of the Society of Innovators and Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest. “There is no better time to impact our growing innovation ecosystem than influencing the development of our region’s high school students. That’s why we at the Society of Innovators and Purdue Northwest are so excited to host the Innovate WithIN region finals in person this year where we can meet our young innovators and hear them pitch their innovative idea, product or service. It’s going to be a great event!”

Purdue Northwest is offering additional incentives to participants and winners of Innovate WithIN who enroll at the university:

  • A one-year (non-renewable) full tuition scholarship will be offered to 1st place winners (at the NWI regional competition), once the winner is enrolled as a full-time student
  • A one-year full tuition and room & board scholarship will be offered to 1st place winners at the state competition, once the winner is enrolled as a full-time student
  • A $250 book scholarship will be offered to any IWI participant who registers as a full-time student at PNW
  • Students whose teams place (1st, 2nd, or 3rd) at the regional and/or state competition will have an opportunity to intern with the Society of Innovators or the NWI Small Business Development Center, if they enroll as a degree-seeking student at PNW

For more information about financial incentives for Innovate WithIN participants or to learn more about enrolling at PNW, please contact

The region finals are open to the public. More information and free registration can be found at

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest

The Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest (PNW) aims to contribute to economic and community development throughout the region as the champion of innovation in Northwest Indiana. For more information about the Society of Innovators, visit