TCC announces five Innovation Grant winners

November 29, 2017

Kelling-Engstrom and TCC officials with big checkTallahassee, Fla. (November 29, 2017)—The Tallahassee Community College Foundation has announced five winners of its 2017 Innovation Grants.

The grants were announced by Kim Kelling-Engstrom, director of content and community engagement at WFSU Public Media. Kelling-Engstrom is a member of the board of the directors of the TCC Foundation and served on the committee that selected the projects to be supported by the Foundation’s College Innovation Fund.

The fund was created in 2007 to encourage faculty, staff and students to develop innovative projects to improve programs and services at TCC. The grants go to projects that benefit the College but involve costs that fall outside its operational budget. The fund is supported by the TCC Foundation and, this year, by the TCC President's Circle Members Fund.

To date, the College Innovation Fund has provided more than $160,000 to support GED transition workshops, community garden boxes, a Rape Aggression Defense Course, video tutorials and more. This year, $30,000 was allocated to support new projects.

The largest award, for $8,000, will go to support a special event in February, when TCC will invite 2,500 area high school seniors to the campus to learn about academic opportunities, explore careers and experience college in their own backyards.

The committee also awarded $5,000 to purchase Merit Pages, a marketing platform that automatically transforms personalized stories about successful students into hometown news releases and sends them to the appropriate media outlet and former high school for each student. These stories about students who earn a spot on the dean’s list, win an award, or participate in an exciting research opportunity or service project are also easily shared to social networks. The technology is powered by IBM Watson Artificial Intelligence.

Finally, three proposals related to TCC’s upcoming Digital Rail Project were funded. Through that project, TCC will equip a mobile lab that will visit area schools to expose elementary, middle and high school students to careers in digital media, web design, application development, 3D prototyping and cybersecurity. The innovation grants will help modify and equip the trailer that will house the lab, create a “mobile office” where students can play with the technologies found in a real high-tech office, and create a materials strength laboratory. That materials lab will enrich the education of students in TCC’s Building Construction program also be part of the mobile outreach efforts targeting local middle and high school students.

For information, contact Heather Mitchell at or (850) 201-6067.