UConn Extension Ties Research to Real Life

Extension App Challenge


The UConn Extension App Challenge is a contest to develop innovative apps that tie UConn’s research to real life. Students are invited to work with a UConn Extension faculty member to develop software applications for smartphones, tablets, or web browsers that create greater community access to UConn science, research, and information. Students developing the most innovative and effective apps

Student Prizes:

1st Place: $1500

2nd Place: $1000

3rd Place: $500

Winners of the UConn Challenge will also be entered into a regional Extension App Challenge with the possibility of additional cash prizes.

Contest Details:

The contest will be conducted in 3 Phases.

Phase 1 – Idea Submission (October – November 2014)

UConn faculty will submit app ideas for inclusion in the Challenge. The applications will be evaluated by a panel of judges for potential innovation, impact, and value to extension programming. The panel will then select the top 5 to 10 app ideas for students to work on. Students interested in joining the challenge can then choose which App they would like to help develop. To submit an idea go here.(link to idea submission page)

Phase II – App Development (November 2014 – April 2015)

Students will work closely with faculty to develop a working prototype of the App. Apps can be created on any platform or for any browser.

Phase III – App Presentation and Selection (May – June 2015)

Challenge Teams will submit a working prototype of the App and a brief 1-3 minute video demonstrating the App to the Judges for review. Judges will review the submission and select winners based on the evaluation criteria.


All current, full-time UConn undergraduate and graduate students are able to participate.

For more information, contact extension@uconn.edu.

Working for the Best Kept Secret

By Aaron Plotke

UConn Extension Intern

Aaron Plotke, Linda Castro, Stacey Stearns and Rineicha Otero with Lever and Smith at the UConn Extension Centennial Dinner

With summer quickly approaching, I was still unsure what I was going to do for the next three months. Understanding the importance of gaining real world experience in my field of study, I applied to a number of nutrition related internships throughout the semester. I was hoping to find that “perfect fit.” Alas almost all of the programs either had chosen their summer interns or were deemed too impractical for me to commit to (i.e. traveling to DC). I was in a tight spot… But the last week of school changed that for me; I received an email regarding a “Paid Summer Internship” with the UConn Extension Department. I always knew Extension existed but wasn’t really aware of its significance. I did some research, decided to apply, and within a few weeks was asked to join their team. Still with limited knowledge of what Extension did or was, I committed to the summer internship.

As I learned more about what is considered the “state’s best-kept secret,” I was amazed at what I found. Extension is compromised of a vast network of outreach programming across every state in the U.S. including our own state of Connecticut. With the passing of the Smith-Lever Act in the early 1900’s, each state’s “Land Grant Universities” were tasked to run their own Extension programs. Then, as now, the objective is to empower communities with the knowledge and expertise of major research universities in the areas of food, health and sustainability. UConn is Connecticut’s Land Grant University with an Extension program that has over 282 active initiatives. Strong local ties have been established with communities across the state, with every county having a dedicated Extension office.

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