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West Houston Institute Grand Challenge

Discover Stories of Innovation & Impact!

Each year, the West Houston Institute IDEAS Academy hosts a speaker series in support of the Project Homeworld Student Challenge. Agents of change from Houston and beyond are invited to speak to students and faculty about opportunities for innovation and impact in their fields to inspire students to action. Subscribe to our Project Homeworld channel on Edutube HCC's streaming platform to catch up on past talks.

Fall 2020 Series Playlist

Fall is a wrap! Thank you to all who participated. Below is the playlist for this semester's talks. Enjoy!

Fall 2020 Speakers & Topics

Below is the original line-up for this semester with information about the speakers and a description of their talks.

OCTOBER 13, 2020 at 2:00PM

"Smart City Houston," Jesse Bounds, City of Houston Director of Innovation

Join us as we visit with Jesse Bounds, Director of Innovation for the City of Houston, to find out how Houston is leading the way in the Smart City movement and how our evolving technology and innovation ecosystem is making the region more sustainable and resilient to change.

OCTOBER 20, 2020 at 2:00PM

"Celebrate the UN's 75th Anniversary & Engage with the Global Goals," The Honorable Teta V. Banks, Past UNA-USA National Council Chair

Celebrate the United Nations' 75th Anniversary and learn more about how you can support the Global Goals for Sustainable with The Honorable Teta V. Banks, Past United Nations Association-USA National Council Chair.

OCTOBER 22, 2020 at 2:00PM

"VR for Good," Ruben Duran, HCC XR Lab & Studio Director

Hear from Ruben Duran, Director for HCC's XR Lab & Studio, on how virtual reality can be used to promote empathy, bring understanding, and promote healing. Find out how you can get invovled in the XR Labs & Studio this year and develop your own project for good.

OCTOBER 27, 2020 at 2:00PM

Making at Scale: Houston Maker Community Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic (Panel)

Hear the story about how Houston area makers and makerspaces has responded to the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

OCTOBER 29, 2020 at 2:00PM

"3D Printing for Good," Charlotte Craff, re:3D Ambassador

re:3D is an innovator and leader in affordable, large format 3D printing. But rather than call themselves a tech company, they describe what they do as a social enterprise first. Learn from Ambassador Charlotte Craff how re:3D make good on their mission to empower communities through the use of their technologies to build-up local economies and solve urgent problems.

NOVEMBER 3, 2020 at 2:00PM

"Data for Good," Jeff Reichman, Principal, January Advisors

Jeff Reichman has promoted the important role technology can play in advocating for social good both through his company, January Advisors, as well as through his role in Sketch City, an open community of over 2,700 civic technologists. Hear firsthand how you can harness the power of data to create change and make an impact on issues that matter to you.

NOVEMBER 5, 2020 at 2:00PM

"The Future of Fashion is Circular," Jessica McMahon, Designer and Experience Creator

Textile waste has grown by over 800% percent in the last fifty years, mostly fueled by "fast fashion". Hear from fashion designer and educator Jessica McMahon how innovative new approaches in the industry are focused on making fashion's future "circular", as in the Circular Economy, through creative reuse, upcycling, and a revolution in materials science.


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For more information:

For questions about the challenge or more information about IDEAS Academy, email Jordan Carswell, Program Director, IDEAS Academy & Studio.