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UW-Parkside students Sam Rozzoni and Mya Peterson have won the 2019 UW-Parkside Big Idea Competition.

Both are chemistry majors from Racine. Rozzoni graduated from St. Catherine’s High School and Peterson graduated from Union Grove Union High School. Having won the Parkside competition, they now move on to the statewide WiSys Big Idea Challenge on Saturday, April 13, at Northwestern Mutual and Cream City Labs in Milwaukee.

The students’ project is titled “Novel Nutrition Supplements for Physical and Cognitive Enhancement in The Aging Population.” Having won the competition, both students will receive funding for their research and will present at the aforementioned statewide WiSys Big Idea Challenge.

“To win this competition means quite a bit to us,” Rozzoni said. “Throughout my time doing research, I have been learning a lot and put a ton of hard work into this project. Winning this competition has given me the reassurance that my hard work has actually paid off and gives me encouragement to keep improving upon this creation.”

He went on to say, “Our project will bring a new product into the field of health supplements. It is a product that the industry has not yet seen. The proposed compound has the potential to cognitively and physically improve the health and wellbeing of individuals suffering from a variety of health issues. The combination of two molecules into one powerful and unique compound will hopefully have benefits beyond what we can imagine.”

Rozzoni believes that winning this competition has given him and Peterson great exposure and networking opportunities that have the potential to improve upon their research.

Peterson said, “The molecule that my lab partner and I have been working on will be able to enhance both physical performance and brain function, as well as build and restore muscle mass. I believe that this product could be very beneficial to the health industry and hope that someday it will be able to provide many people with the nutrition they need.”

She views the WiSys Big Idea competition as a great learning opportunity by receiving feedback from others about their project and the direction it could take. She said, “I am honored to be able to represent UW- Parkside and present this novel idea at the WiSys Big Idea Challenge. I’m excited to share this project statewide and to hear responses from others to this new product. I feel that I will be able to learn a great deal from this experience and look forward to the challenges ahead,” Peterson said.

Serving as a project advisor to Rozzoni and Peterson is UW-Parkside Assistant Professor of Chemistry Dr. Daryl Sauer. He said, “I am very proud of both Sam and Mya for their hard work, excellent ideas, and high level of achievement. Their research is a perfect combination of a project that not only is an innovative solution that could help improve the quality of life for a significant number of people, but also could prove to be the foundation of a product which would fulfill existing demand in a viable market. It is exciting to be part of a university that affords students the opportunity to gain invaluable research experience through opportunities like the Big Idea Competition.”