Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Below are some common questions. If your question is not addressed here, please email [email protected] and a CCIC staff member will respond to your inquiry.

1. Is the Innovation Boot Camp a science and engineering workshop? No. Your team will not receive customized science coaching on your project at the Innovation Boot Camp. The Innovation Boot Camp is a professional development workshop aimed at building communication and entrepreneurial skills relevant to supporting innovation in both the private and public sectors. Sessions will include information applicable to commercializing ideas, using technology for social applications, communicating with stakeholders, refining a pitch, and more. There will be customized sessions for mentors led by NSF and AACC leadership that will offer information on NSF funding opportunities for community colleges.

2. Can entrants be from any community college anywhere in the U.S.? What about students pursuing two-year degrees at colleges offering four-year degrees as well? All student participants must be pursuing a two-year degree at a college in the U.S. or its territories at the time of entry. Two-year degree-pursuing students at colleges offering both two-year and four-year degrees are eligible to participate as long as they are pursuing a two-year degree at the time of entry. Teams may not consist of students from multiple institutions.

3. What is meant by “team” for the purpose of the content? Teams must consist of 2 to 4 student team members and a faculty or administrator who can serve as a team mentor. NSF and AACC encourage teams to be diverse and multidisciplinary (comprised of engineers, STEM technicians, marketing and business students, humanities students, and more).

4. Can multiple teams from the same college apply? Yes. Up to three teams from a single community college can apply. However, no more than one team from an individual college would be selected to advance to the finalist round attending the Innovation Boot Camp.

5. Can a student be on multiple teams? No. Each student can only be on one team.

6. Can a faculty or administrator mentor serve on multiple teams?  No. Each faculty or administrator can only mentor one team.

7. Is there a specific grant point average that qualifies a student to be “in good standing” at their institution? No. We rely on the educational institution to determine if a student is in good standing.

8. Must the mentor teach a STEM discipline? No. Mentors can be full-time, part-time faculty or administrators that specialize in and/or oversee in any discipline at their college.

9. Once an entrant submits a video, can they revise or replace it with another video prior to the April 2 deadline? No. Once you submit a video to the competition, it is considered a final submission and cannot be revised or replaced. However, you can save your entry on the challenge platform and edit it many times before officially submitting.

10. How will finalists be notified?  All registered team members will be notified via email by late April if they have progressed to the finalist round.

11. Will information on the Innovation Boot Camp be sent directly to finalists? Yes. Finalists will be contacted in late April and provided with detailed information pertaining to attending the Innovation Boot Camp, participating in two preparatory webinars, and conducting assignments to prepare for the Innovation Boot Camp including detailed guidelines on developing posters for the poster session.

12. What if a team member is unable to attend the Innovation Boot Camp? All finalist team members, including the mentor, are required to attend the Innovation Boot Camp. However, on a case-by-case basis, AACC will consider issues that may arise that prevent team members from attending.

13. What about health and safety measures? AACC will follow federal, state, and local guidance when assessing any potential health and safety concerns for the 2024 CCIC Boot Camp. If necessary, detailed information about any potential health and safety protocols will be shared in the acceptance letters for the finalist teams. 

14. How will the first, second, and third place team winners be notified and awarded? Winning teams will be announced at the end of the Innovation Boot Camp. Each member of the first, second, and third place winning teams will be mailed a check upon completion of necessary tax forms, a few weeks following the Boot Camp. The winners will be announced via an AACC and NSF news release and well as displayed online on the challenge website. 

15. Can more than one faculty/administrator mentor a team? Each team can only have one mentor accompany them to the Boot Camp.

16. Can additional faculty/administrators from a college attend the Boot Camp if they pay their own way? No. As much as we would like to accommodate additional participants, the Boot Camp sessions are only open to the immediate student team members and their faculty/administrator mentor to build community and to maximize time for technical assistance, coaching, and networking.  While additional faculty members/administrators from a college cannot attend the Boot Camp sessions, they are welcome to attend the Student Poster Session and Reception taking place on the evening of Wednesday, June 12 on Capitol Hill. Invitations for this public facing event of the CCIC will be forthcoming.

17. What about intellectual property? Does the CCIC retain any right to a team’s innovation? All CCIC entries and finalist team members retain all intellectual property, copyright, and equivalent rights over their own design and ideas. The CCIC shares information about the competition to highlight and promote community colleges and student innovation broadly on a national level; but retains no rights whatsoever over the students’ ideas or innovations. 

The CCIC is about building ideas into opportunities. The main purpose of the Boot Camp is to provide teams with the communication and business skills to help them pursue developing and putting their designs into practice. If any student teams are at a stage where they would like to pursue a patent, we strongly encourage them to do so—and we will share some resources regarding patents as part of the Boot Camp. Please note that during the Boot Camp, you will be communicating with others about your idea and sharing information through the Student Poster Session and final pitch competition. However, it is not at all necessary to explain exactly how you do something that might share any “secrets,”—rather we ask you to focus on the overall scope and potential impact of your innovation.