fullsizerenderWith a focus on education, innovation and economic development in rural America, Columbia College-Rolla partnered with former Columbia College professor Dr. Sean Siebert to host the third annual Ideas and Innovation Summit on December 6. The Summit, which has established itself to be the largest youth innovation summit in the state of Missouri, was a great success and will continue to be an annual event for the region.

The event has received nationwide recognition and accolades throughout the state of Missouri. Columbia College-Rolla location director Mike Lederle and his staff welcomed more than 300 high school students, teachers, administrators, speakers and local business owners to the event.

“This was an opportunity for students from around the area to share their vision of what entrepreneurship and innovation means to them,” Lederle said. “We truly appreciate the work Dr. Siebert and all of the area high school administrators do and for allowing us to host this fantastic event on campus.”

Several student entrepreneurs were featured throughout the day, including Brandyn Chambers ’16. His company “Flydra Creative” digital animation studio, has won numerous awards in area pitch competitions, including the Audience Choice Award at the recent “Bringing up Business” pitch competition held on the main campus of Columbia College.img_2160

“The Summit plays an instrumental role in the future of workforce and community development,” Siebert said. “It is a full day of speakers and networking intended to encourage graduating high school seniors to follow their dreams as they enter college and the workforce. If an attendee was inspired or called to action, the opportunity to change their life moving forward was literally 10 feet away. They literally walked over to a booth and grabbed an application to a college, or met an HR recruiter for a job, or volunteered for a non-profit right there on the spot. The Summit was meaningful, it was impactful and, for some, it was truly life-changing.”

The event merged a motivational seminar and a college/career fair together. Through this, the Summit instilled valuable “life lessons” through keynote speakers and created opportunity through the post-secondary institutions and employers that exhibited at the event. The concept is truly a win-win-win for school districts, employers and post-secondary institutions. Among the attendees were high school students from St. James, Sullivan, Steelville, Salem, Cuba and Bourbon.