You ruined school for us.
— Cayla Yannuzzi, Student Participant in 2016 CentennialX

What is it?

CentennialX is an incubator/accelerator where students work in groups, under the guidance of teacher leaders and industry professionals to generate ideas and potential solutions to challenges given to them by professional partners.  During the last two summers, students tackled the challenge of raising awareness for clinical trials by developing websites and original educational kits focused on a disease and a specific “in trial” biological molecule. Moving forward, challenges will be open to other areas of Science, Tech, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM).  

Who is involved?

Teachers and students from various school districts, in conjunction with several local, regional and national corporations, entrepreneurs, higher education institutions, research centers and next generation manufacturing companies.  

What is the process?

Throughout the summer, students are given a challenge where they use design thinking to generate ideas, build prototypes and learn how to effectively pitch their ideas.  Students interact with various subject matter experts who provide ongoing feedback and advice.  The culminating experience is the CentennialX conference, where students pitch their ideas to community, education, and industry professionals.  

Why we do it?

In our current educational system, teachers deliver content and students are expected to regurgitate that content some time later.  Most projects are not relevant, and have meticulous checklists and rubrics which thwart the development of original thought and problem solving skills.  We believe this is in direct contrast with the expectations placed on the students once they enter college or the workforce: that is to research, learn independently and work with others to create innovative solutions to very complex problems.  School systems are training students in the same manner has been done for decades, though many students will be hired for jobs that do not exist today.  CentennialX was grounded on the the belief students should be empowered to create and generate new ideas under the guidance of teachers and industry partners.  CentennialX provides the stage wherein students can gain the transferable skills - collaboration, problem solving, creativity, design thinking, and communication - they will need to succeed in today and tomorrow’s college and job market.  

How can you get involved?

For further information and a link to our application go to The cost to enter a team is $9,250.  This covers stipends for both the students and CentennialX staff who are involved in the experience, as well as prototyping costs, consulting fees, and local travel.