HUNTINGTON -– Three teams of students from Marshall University were among the 20 teams selected to move forward to Round 2 in the 2007 West Virginia's Open for Business -– Student Business Plan Competition.

Marshall students Will Starcher, Jamie McClain, Christopher Worth, Brandi Hill and William Muncy will participate in the next round of judging in the competition, which took place at the West Virginia Entrepreneurship Initiative (WVEI) conference on Oct. 25 at the Days Inn in Flatwoods.

"It's wonderful to see our students advancing in this competition. Through the Technology Transfer Office (TTO), I see our faculty and staff's excitement about their inventions and now I see the students' enthusiasm and dedication as well," said Amy Anastasia, Marshall University's coordinator for the competition and assistant director of Marshall's Technology Transfer Office.

"During this entire academic year, the students will be preparing and studying outside of their normal full-time class loads for the final round of the competition in April of 2007," Anastasia said, noting the dedication of all the students participating in the competition.

During the conference luncheon, each team gave an "elevator pitch," a two-minute briefing of their concept, followed by five-minute sessions with each of the judges in attendance. The brief nature of these presentations was meant to evaluate the level of passion and commitment that each team possesses, according to Anastasia.

With categories involving lifestyle and technology innovation, the students involved, including those representing Marshall University, all offer creations and concepts that have great potential, she said.

Anastasia said Dr. Elizabeth Murray, an associate professor who teaches the Special Topics course titled "Technology and Innovation," has provided these students with the tools to succeed.

Christopher Worth, a Fine Arts major, teamed with Brandi Hill, an IST-networking major, to create an Integrated Wheelchair Urinal, designed to offer a convenient option for disabled users.

Marshall ISAT Computer Forensics major William Muncy has his Muncy Switchable Write Block entered in the Technology category. It is a hardware device designed to greatly reduce the chances of data loss in a computer, Muncy said.

Fine Arts major Will Starcher invented the Arachnovation Spider Easel. He calls it "the Swiss army knife of (art) easels."

For more information about the 2007 West Virginia's Open for Business – Student Business Plan Competition, visit http://www.be.wvu.edu/bpc/ or contact Amy Anastasia, Marshall University's Coordinator for the Student Business Plan Competition, at (304) 696-4365.

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