George Kozmetsky Student Challenge

Our student challenges allow our students to take on problems related to the needs of small or remote communities and bring fresh and innovative ideas of growth and sustainability while maintaining unique community identities and good quality of life for their citizens.


2021 kozmetsky gk student challenge
Click the image above to view the 2021 George Kosmetsky Student Challenge Presentations

The George Kozmetsky Memorial Student Challenge is named in honor of the founder of the IC² Institute.  As with Kozmetsky’s original work at the institute in the 1970s, the Challenge requires an interdisciplinary approach.  Although students from any major are eligible to participate, student teams must represent more than one school or college at UT Austin, and the members of each team cannot be all graduate students or all first-year students. The top ten student teams deliver live presentations before a panel of three expert judges, and at the end of the day three teams walk away with a total of $15,000 in cash prizes. Student teams register this fall and begin research for their communities in late September.  Ten days before the October 23rd final, each team will have a specific problem brief and had to define a creative but realistic approach.

2021 Competition Winners

Team Alice: Aarti Aravapalli, Aditi Kalla, Conor Flood, Pearse Flood, Shanil Jasani

Team La Grange: Alison Rahman, Bill Tang, Kelsey Wingo, Madilyn Jarman, Mihir Bendre

Team Van Horn: David Cruz, Matthew Kojm, Karen Yao, Laura Souto

2021 Finalist Teams

Team Midland: Siddharth Thakur, Michael Solomon, Aniruddh Thakur and Ben Breed

Team Amarillo: Andrew Norman, Ariana Rodriquez, Benjamin Stormer, Christian Hurd, Jonathan Sharpee

Team Boerne: Natalie Raper, Rakib Momin, Simmi Mani, Sweny Maredia

Team Brownsville: Antony Sutanto, Ayush Arya, Jack Zhao, Sing-Rong (Lucy) Chiu, Tyler Dang

Team Giddings: Deana Trautz, Jaxson Shealy, Mckenna Lucas, Sheena Delp

Team Jacksboro: Krista Gehlhausen, Jordan Cooley, Alexander Tang, Lawrence Robinson

Team La Grange: Alison Rahman, Bill Tang, Kelsey Wingo, Madilyn Jarman, Mihir Bendre

Team Van Horn: David Cruz, Matthew Kojm, Karen Yao, Laura Souto

Check out the playlist of presentations from the 2021 competition:
2021 Presentations Playlist, beginning with Team Alice


Sept 8, 2021    Attend information sessions at the Blackstone Launch Pad in the FAC 6-7pm

Sept 14, 2021  Attend information sessions at the Blackstone Launch Pad in the FAC 6-7pm

Sept 16, 2021 Team Applications due by Midnight (Priority Deadline)

Oct 7, 2021     Team Applications due at midnight (Final Deadline)

Oct 8, 2021     Each team will receive their city and the assignment.  Attend one info session for additional details, 12pm or 5pm

Oct 8-23, 2021 Teams conduct primary and secondary research on their city

Oct 18, 2021   Presentations due by 12pm

Oct 20, 2021   Finalist teams notified

Oct 23, 2021   Finalist team present to panel of judges from 12-3pm.  Winners announced for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.

Team Criteria

Any currently enrolled student UT Austin is eligible to join a team.  However, each team must include representation from at least two colleges/schools.  Additionally, no team may include more than two graduate students or more than two first-year undergraduate students.  Teams must have 4 or 5 members.

For more information on joining Student Challenges contact


Cash prizes will be given to the top three teams:

1st Place: $7,000

2nd Place: $5,000

3rd Place: $3,000


George Kozmetsky Student Challenge 2021 Panel of Judges:
Portrait of Jim Rich, Author

Jim Rich, Executive Director at Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation

After serving as president of the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce for 20 years, Jim reach is the executive director of the Southeast Texas Economic Development Foundation.



Felipe Gonzalez, Principal Technologist at HEB

Felipe has worked for HEB since 1992 as an Innovations Architect and now as the Principal Technologist.


Jordan Scott, Community Advocate & Investor in Austin, Texas

Jordan is the president of 512 Asset Management, and a grandson of George Kozmetsky.



2020 IC² Institute GK Student Challenge Finalists

  • First prize winners: Jonathan Du, Matthew Piotrowicz, Iann Karamali, Joshua Klein, and Thomas Adkins (Harlingen team).
  • Second prize winners: Heath Edwards, Kaitlyn Harris, Kathryn Johansen, Scott Winton, and Jocelyn Yao (Menard team).
  • Third prize winners: Amy Simpson, Sashank Macharla, Alexandra Byrnes, and Nicole Domingo (La Grange team) and Evan Pan, Shashwat Pandey, Aniket Matharasi, Chris Morphis, and Kisara Dang (Tyler team).

Other finalist teams