The seventh annual Gallaudet Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (GIEI) Student Bison Tank was held on April 25. This competition offers students an opportunity to build on their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit as well as the mindset required to be successful changemakers. It offers students the opportunity to explore ways to give back to the community through their innovative ideas. 

Daniella Reyna, ’23, Dr. Raymond Merritt, ’99, Clara Leung, ’99, and Wayne Betts, E-’03 as judges.

Six individual students and one team of two students entered this year’s Student Bison Tank. They had all participated in GIEI’s mentorship program beforehand. Evelina Gaina, ’15, was emcee, and Wayne Betts, E-’03; Clara Leung, ’99 ; Dr. Raymond Merritt, ’99; and Daniella Reyna, ‘23 served as judges.  

Each “founder” made a three to four-minute presentation about their idea, then responded to questions from the judges and audience. The judges evaluated the overall presentation and whether issues and proposed solutions were compelling or made an emotional connection, how clearly potential customer bases were defined, whether ideas had an appropriate amount of traction, and whether business models and growth strategies were viable.  

This year’s winners were: 

Davina Mayor

First place: Davina Mayor, Signscape: An educational platform offering inclusive BSL images and videos with diverse signers, fostering a positive learning environment and promoting cultural appreciation. “Our diverse and inclusive packs cater to a wide range of backgrounds and identities, empowering learners and promoting unity.” 

Bernice Adekeye

Second place: Bernice Adekeye, B.I.S.O.N., or Bilingual School Online Nigeria: “providing sociocultural, family-centered early language intervention curriculum for zero to five deaf children in Nigeria for families, educators, and medical interventionists.” 

Travis Carrizales and Joshua Wojnar

Third place: Joshua Wojnar and Travis Carrizales, DeafEco: A centralized deaf hub that aggregates and delivers high-quality content, announcements, and resources from deaf creators and businesses in less time. 

Convo, LiveStream Anywhere, Interpreter-Now, National Disability Institute, and 2gether International sponsored this year’s Student Bison Tank. 

The third annual Alumni Bison Tank will be on October 17, and the Student Bison Tank will be in the spring of 2025. For more information, visit the Bison Tank website

Thanks to Russell Stein, ’95, and Lorenzo Lewis, ’19, for their assistance with this article. 

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