innovation challenge

(PULASKI COUNTY, AR.—February 24, 2021) Winrock International’s The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub and Pulaski County Special School District are partnering to challenge 3rd- through 12th-grade students to be innovators. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on education, this event serves to challenge students across Arkansas in the field of science and technology in a new, innovative way.

COVID-19 has greatly impacted in-person learning and potential science fair events that typically take place in the spring of each school year. The Innovation Challenge will encourage students of all ages to apply the knowledge they already have, learn new skills, and work with Arkansans already working in science-based fields to solve a real-world problem. 

“We are proud to be part of this event and make something like this available to all the schools in PCSSD,” said district instructional strategist Laura Strickland. “The Innovation Challenge inspires students to think outside the box to find solutions to problems using technology. The mentorship and networking opportunities available through this challenge are unique and will aid students from across the state.”

Student innovators will learn through virtual training and consultations along with on-demand video lessons in topics such as CAD design, vector design, branding design, prototyping, and basic construction skills. Students will then incorporate their new skills into the solution of their real-world problem. Afterward, they will develop a presentation and pitch for their project.

“To meet the challenges of tomorrow, we must prepare the talent of today. The Innovation Challenge is science fair meets ‘Shark Tank.’ By developing practical solutions to real problems, students will hone their scientific and engineering skills, they will also get a taste of what it means to be an entrepreneur

PCSSD teachers are invited to register students through March 14th. The challenge will officially launch on March 15. Resources for students and teachers have already been developed. Teachers will be encouraged to schedule student and class consultations and training sessions with Innovation Hub staff. 

The top 5 winners will receive Innovation Challenge winner t-shirts, laser-cut certificates of achievement, and a package of virtual learning and group consultation to help take their ideas to the next level on topics like entrepreneurship, website design, 3D printing, laser cutting, and more.

One grand prize winner will be awarded a prototype of their product, a customized t-shirt of their new brand, one-on-one consultation in entrepreneurship, and 10 hours of private instruction from the Innovation Hub.



The Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of Arkansans by inspiring innovation and expanding opportunities. We see an Arkansas where, regardless of demographic identifiers or geographic location, Arkansans are generating and inspiring innovation in cutting-edge technology, business, and creative fields. The Innovation Hub uses tools, skills, and expertise to inspire innovators and entrepreneurs who expand the range of educational and economic opportunities for themselves, for their communities, in our state, and throughout the world. 


Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development, providing solutions to some of the world’s most complex social, agricultural, and environmental challenges. Inspired by its namesake Winthrop Rockefeller, Winrock’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources. Winrock combines technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation to improve lives around the globe.


Pulaski County Special School District spans more than 600 square miles in central Arkansas and requires highly skilled and passionate personnel to adapt educational policies and personalization to 25 schools. Every school is accredited by the Arkansas State Board of Education. PCSSD has served schools across Pulaski County since July 1927.

PCSSD is committed to creating a nationally recognized school district that assures that all students achieve at their maximum potential through collaborative, supportive and continuous efforts of all stakeholders.