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2024 Florida Atlantic WAVE Competition Awards Announced

Florida Atlantic's Division of Research has announced the 2024 winners of the ninth annual Florida Atlantic WAVE Competition, an undergraduate and graduate applied research and entrepreneurial competition

Students competing in the 2024 Florida Atlantic WAVE Competition

Florida Atlantic’s Division of Research has announced the 2024 winners of the ninth annual Florida Atlantic WAVE Competition, an undergraduate and graduate applied research and entrepreneurial competition


Florida Atlantic University’s Division of Research has announced the 2024 winners of the ninth annual Florida Atlantic WAVE Competition, an undergraduate and graduate applied research and entrepreneurial competition. The goal of the program is to challenge students to submit and develop innovative ideas targeting societal problems.

Each year’s overall winner is awarded the Dr. Eric H. Shaw FAU WAVE Excellence in Innovation Award and a cash prize of $2,000. There is also a track for the outstanding community engagement project sponsored by FAU’s Office of Community Engagement. For the second year, the competition included a collaboration with Palm Beach State College, who announced its student project winner.

“The talent and creativity our students bring to the WAVE competition each year are nothing short of inspirational,” said Jessica Beaver, associate director of FAU Tech Runway®. “We look forward to supporting them as they advance their innovative projects and continue to break new ground.”

The winners of the 2024 FAU WAVE Competition are as follows:

  • Emma Susi, an undergraduate majoring in neuroscience and behavior in the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, received the Dr. Eric H. Shaw FAU WAVE Excellence in Innovation Award and a $2,000 cash prize for the innovation S.E.A.C. (Sensory Personalized EMG-based Assistive Communication), a brain-computer interface that leverages non-invasive electromyographic technology to empower communication through thought
  • Alejandra Vega, an undergraduate majoring in civil engineering in the College of Engineering & Computer Science, received the $1,000 Community Engagement Award, sponsored by FAU’s Office of Community Engagement, for the construction of a suspended footbridge in the Kingdom of Eswatini, serving five communities and 2,500 people (including 1,900 children), that gives access to schools, markets, churches and funerals, as well as prevents injuries and fatalities from crossing the river
  • Jean Elysee Dorsainville, pursuing an associate in arts degree in psychology at Palm Beach State College, was awarded a cash prize on behalf of PBSC for the MicroBiome Portal, a project that unites the public to participate in a project identifying microbial growth on objects or in their surroundings

“Gratitude ignites momentum. Thanks to FAU’s partnership in the 2023-24 Florida Atlantic WAVE competition for uplifting Palm Beach State College students,” said Natacha Nettles, PBSC assistant dean of student services. “To the fearless student innovators, congratulations. Let’s ride the wave of success together, forging a path of endless possibilities. I am immensely grateful to the Palm Beach State College Foundation for making this possible.”

The WAVE Competition is open to any FAU undergraduate or graduate student with ideas to solve real-world issues, however, only a select number of projects are accepted. During the program cycle (fall to spring), entrants must meet certain deliverables including monthly mentor meetings; a written abstract; the creation of a business thesis; a research poster; and a prerecorded video addressing key elements. The videos are judged on project feasibility, market potential, research efforts, creativity and innovation, and progress.

“Striving for excellence stands as a noble pursuit,” said Shaw, emeritus professor in FAU’s College of Business, alumnus, and namesake of the WAVE Excellence in Innovation Award. “In my view, the pathway to achieving excellence lies in embracing oneself as an ongoing self-improvement project – perpetually learning and drawing wisdom from both personal missteps and those observed in others.”

For more information on the WAVE Competition, click here or email fauwave@fau.edu.

-FAU-