University of Vermont

UVM Innovations

UVM Students, Alumni Headline University's Second Innovation Slam

Ryan McDevitt (right) of Benchmark Space Systems was one of five UVM-affiliated presenters at the university's second Innovation Slam. Afterwards, he answered questions about the company, which makes a propulsion system for the rapidly growing small satellite market.

As its contribution to BTV Ignite’s second annual Innovation Week, the University of Vermont held its second Innovation Slam on October 18 in the Black Box theatre at Main Street Landing.

About 50 participants and spectators were on hand to see five UVM speakers pitch their product and company ideas in a lightning round of talks. After the presentations, the speakers repaired to booths the theater’s lobby and took questions from audience members.

Richard Galbraith, vice president for research at the UVM whose office sponsored the event, was happy with the both the presentations and the turnout.

“The goal of the event is to showcase the innovation that comes out of the University of Vermont,” he said. “I think the event accomplished that very well. We also want to demonstrate the continuum of innovation that exists among students, faculty and community members. You need interaction among all those groups to take good ideas and commercialize them, employ people and contribute to society.”

Dennis Moyniham, the executive director of BTV Ignite, who was on hand for the event, was impressed with the presentations.

“I think this is great; it’s raising the visibility, you can see the eagerness of the people here, the creativity,” he said.

Presenters included Ryan McDevitt of Benchmark Space Systems, who earned his doctorate at UVM; former Sustainable Innovation MBA student Jana Gailunas of Noble Fresh; UVM sophomore Casey Husband of Lazarus Defense; Jeff Sprenger of Xemory, a former doctoral student at the univeristy; and third-year Larner College of Medicine student Al Marchese of the Catamount Innovation Fund.

Innovation Week, October 15-22, 2016, was designed to highlight the energy of greater Burlington's entrepreneurial, technological and creative ecosystem. Sponsored by BTV Ignite and its partners, the weeklong series of events began on Saturday with the annual HACK-VT, a 24 hour hackathon, and ended with the eleventh annual Vermont Tech Jam, a two-day job far Jam, a two-day fair and tech expo.