This project is a partnership with Drake Professor Trenton Grundmeyer, who lost a nephew this summer in a pool accident. We aim to produce a cheap, open source pool alarm to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening. This project will include marketing, digital electronics, programming, and wireless communication. April 10th! - Done w/ trifold and sent out!

City of Cedar Rapids Stormwater Quality Monitoring

Students will assist the City of Cedar Rapids' data collection efforts surround several key stormwater areas. Including: in the field data collection with test strips and digital sensors, analysis of data, presentation to city officials, mapping and GIS analysis of water sheds, and recommendations for changes to improve water quality.

Hydroponics Container

Students will maintain an aquaponics system in a shipping container located outside the NewBo City Market. The project will immerse itself in the Market's business incubator model, while creating educational programming. We also hope to provide fresh produce to local non-profits.

Linn There Done That!

Students are creating a website and virtual walking tour that can be accessed via QR codes with prominent Cedar Rapids historical sites, creating stories about these sites that span the recorded history of Cedar Rapids.


This nationally acclaimed project highlights unique individual stories about Cedar Rapids residents. Products include podcasts, data visualizations, photography, short film, murals, etc.

Pledge 4 Kids

Pledge4Kids is reimagining fundraising by rebranding ‘Corridor Goes Casual for Kids’, a successful fundraising event known throughout the corridor. We successfully completed two fundraising events during the 2017-18 school year. We hope to have several more fundraising events this year.

Machine Learning

This project is in partnership with Van Meter Inc, and aims to analyze the massive amounts of distribution data they generate daily in their effort to move electrical parts around the state. Each day 60,000 lines of data are created, and we would like to train a computer AI to identify potential for employee errors, injuries, and predicting future distribution center load.

Flow into Purpose

Learner-Centered schools such as Iowa BIG help students find purpose. International best selling author and pioneer of Flow psychology wants to write his next best-seller about Iowa BIG. Students will contribute written, audio, web, and video content while working with fellow contributors from the University of Northern Iowa and Mihály Csíkszentmihályi himself!

Linn County Seed Exchange

The goal of this project is provide resources for saving and sharing ecologically adapted seeds to create a food sovereign and secure community. The project is creating seeds swap events with local libraries, and other organizations in Cedar Rapids. It will need marketing, event planning, design, seed collection, and so on.

Farm Fair

In this project, you will be creating a Client Journey for the United Way Financial Committee. The journeys will focus either on food insecurity or transportation. A client journey is used so stakeholders in a nonprofit to understand all of the interactions a person has with the organization as well as the internal or external influences affecting the person’s behaviors. What this report looks like is up to you and your team!

Ceramic Center Web Presence

The Ceramic Center needs help in rebuilding a website that tells their story and makes it easy for their customers to find and sign up for their courses. Create and hack together solutions to the problems the Ceramic Center have.

Wood Vinegar as Organic Fertilizer Controlled Study

Ecocare and Verdilife, of Iowa City, are asking for help in collecting data and performing publishable studies into the pesticide, nutrient, and germination properties of a substance called Wood Vinegar, which is an organic acid similar to the culinary product liquid smoke. Students would conduct a rigorous study of their own design to help add to the volume of data surrounding the centuries-old use of this organic fertilizer. Students would also produce the product from raw ingredients, an study its history of use world-wide.

Kerbal IRL

This project aims to use rocketry to measure local climate changes and relate it to solar telescope data to help better understand the relationship between solar behavior and the weather. We will design, build, and launch rockets with sensor payloads. We will also design, build, and implement solar telescope equipment.

Trees and Maps! So Many Trees!

This project is working with Coe College to create a full GIS Maps of the trees found on their 65 acre campus. The focus will be on creating the map, as most of the tree data is complete. The team will work with the Botany department using their GIS software to generate these maps.

Political Palooza

A website designated to making current politics simple. Creating crash courses, vlogs, blogs, and citing credible sources that teenagers can follow easily. We are our political future, get involved! Currently discussing partners such as NextGenAmerica, and others.

Food Bank Web App

For those in need, navigating transportation and the operating hours of food banks often results in frustrating bus trips to closed resources. This team will create website that creates a custom navigation route to the closest open food bank within the travel limitations of the client. We will do a lot of web programming, database work, and research about transportation and food bank operations.

Science of Kombucha

Learning the complex science behind kombucha and developing a scoby. Afterward, learning how to properly market it.

BEES: Breathing, Exercise, Emotions, & Senses

This project is designing a social/emotion health curriculum for elementary students based on mindfulness and trauma-informed practices, like ACEs. They are currently partnered with Johnson STEAM Academy in piloting the curriculum via a high school mentor program.

The Butterfly Effect

Art Gallery owners Mark and Deb Weiser have a vision to cover Marion in butterflies! We're not talking real butterflies, but rather 8 foot tall butterfly art installations. Other similar types of art installations in the corridor include Iowa City's Herky on Parade and Cedar Rapids' Grant Wood themed Overalls All Over where statues were placed throughout the community.

Page Turners

Barnes & Noble annually partners with nonprofit organizations for a holiday book drive in November & December to collect new books for children in need in our community. This team will help plan, market, execute, track, and evaluate a book drive for youth in our community, extending beyond the holidays and taking this project to a higher level, to better support literacy efforts in our community, as well as aid in fundraising for the project and post-book drive reflection and report.

Betterment through Books

Books are an important part of moving our community forward on many issues; as a source of information, building empathy, and starting important conversations. This project will develop a plan for literary programming that focuses on informing the community on key issues, bringing people together to discuss, and to work towards change in our society.

Brucemore Collection Management

Inventory, number, catalog and scan a collection of materials from Iowa Manufacturing Company (IMCo). Founded in 1923 by Howard Hall, IMCo was a driver of industrial growth in Cedar Rapids and of the Interstate Highway system. IMCo also played an important role in WWII, with the company producing 80% of the rock crushing equipment that was used by Allied forces across the globe to create roads, air strips, and military bases. In 2009, Brucemore was the recipient of a large collection of photographs, documents, advertising, scrapbooks, films, and a variety of other materials relating to the history of IMCo. The collection has never been completely processed, and is therefore, largely inaccessible to not only to Brucemore staff, but also to outside researchers. This project would complete a thorough inventory, numbering, cataloging, inputting the data into our collections database, and creating digital scans of these materials. The project concludes by sharing the collection via Brucemore’s online database.

Brucemore A/V Tour

Create interpretive material for visitors to Brucemore who have limited mobility. In 1997, Brucemore produced a video to help visitors see objects and hear the history of the 2nd and 3rd floors of the mansion. In the subsequent twenty years, the video has become out dated and requires an update. The project team from Iowa Big will work with Brucemore staff to determine how to make this history accessible for audiences and explore opportunities for utilizing new technologies.

Dancing Away the Stigma

Were advancing the national movement towards implementing dance therapy into the special education curriculum for the adaptive PE courses in the LinnMar School District, College Community School District and the Cedar Rapids Community School District. Proposed for further support from the Iowa Department of Education.

Resiliency Warriors

Willis Dady Homeless Services currently works with individuals who are homeless or near homeless, however we do not have a good understanding of what most of these individual's childhoods were like. Help them become more familiar with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), resiliency, and Trauma-Informed Care, and how ACEs have affected their clients' lives. The project consists of three parts. 1. Making contact with and speaking to different individuals in difficult housing situations, learning about their lives, specifically any ACEs they may have experienced and the types of choices they made due to those events. 2. Understanding their timeline and how they have shown resiliency, even if they don't fully understand how resilient they are. 3. Showing them that they are resilient and that their resiliency can help others in the form of a project or brochure, or some other creative idea!

Little Known Legacies

Create a traveling exhibit that teachers can check out to teach topics in African American History.

The Green Bandana Project

Teach young children (3rd-7th grade) about mental illness through the use of therapy dogs and short presentations.

Marion Fire Dept Recruitment Video

Project Description: Work with the Marion Fire Department to create a 5-10 minute video highlighting assignments within the Marion FD for recruitment purposes.

PhotoVoice: A Narrative of Food Insecurity in Linn County

Linn County Food Systems Council in partnership with Linn County Public Health, HACAP, Feed Iowa First, and Horizons would like to bring awareness to food insecurity within Linn County through a short documentary type video. Students will interview and collect stories from individuals in Linn County who identify as food insecure to share what it means to be food insecure today. It will also include stats about Linn County. The end goal is to put together a short video that can be shared at various events and through social media.

Watershed Mapping and Analysis

Stormwater runoff from a portion of Marion’s Uptown district drains through a 60-acre sub-watershed that is mostly residential and discharges directly into Indian Creek through Marion’s Donnelly Park. There are no stormwater controls throughout this sub-watershed, so any pollutants that the stormwater collects along the way are goes untreated and also goes directly into Indian Creek.

Computer mapping and modeling software such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) can be utilized to map impervious surfaces (hard surfaces that water does not penetrate) in this sub-watershed. This can help determine the volume of stormwater runoff in this sub-watershed and where stormwater controls can be constructed to reduce runoff and improve water quality.

Students will use GIS and the most current aerial photography of Marion to digitize the surface features in the sub-watershed. This consists of outlining roads, driveways, roofs, parking lots, sidewalks, etc. and categorizing (attributing) the features in a GIS database. The outcome of this project will be a geographic dataset of surface features (also called planimetrics) for the Uptown Marion/Donnelly Park sub-watershed. If time allows, the students can learn about geoprocessing – the function of GIS where multiple map layers can be analyzed to create new map layers showing different information.

Watershed Awareness

Stormwater runoff from a portion of Marion’s Uptown district drains through a 60-acre sub-watershed that is mostly residential and discharges directly into Indian Creek through Marion’s Donnelly Park. There are no stormwater controls throughout this sub-watershed, so any pollutants that the stormwater collects along the way are goes untreated and also goes directly into Indian Creek. This project consists of TWO components that can run simultaneously or chronologically. Visitors to Donnelly Park are likely not aware that the water flowing through the large drainage ditch in the park starts more than a half mile away from the roofs and parking lots of restaurants and shops in Uptown Marion. Oil leaking from a car parked outside Louie’s Scoreboard or a cigarette butt thrown in the gutter behind the Chocolate Shop will ultimately wash down the storm sewer and into this park. Part ONE: The outcome of this project will be a sign or placard can be designed and installed at this area of the park with information, maps, and even QR codes to educate the park-goers of these stormwater issues. If time allows multiple signs can be created and installed strategically throughout the sub-watershed. Part TWO: (This is more of a general stormwater project and not directly related to the Uptown Marion/Donnelly Park sub-watershed) There are many commercials and videos on social media educating people on the environment, issues related to stormwater management, and water quality. Most of these videos are targeted to homeowners, business owners, farmers, and young children. What about teenagers? Can a commercial or PSA be made to more effectively convey the stormwater message to high school and middle school students? The outcome of this project would be a video, or a series of videos, that are both entertaining and educational for stormwater management. Animated videos are certainly a possibility!

Cultural Brokers

Create or add to an existing program that welcomes refugees and immigrants to this area and helps them adjust to their new surroundings.

U.S. History Video Game

Create a video game that teachers could subscribe to and have students play in their classes (and outside of their classes if interested) that takes kids through U.S. History but is fun and immersive.

Wifi Accessibility for All?

ImOn needs BIG's help to solve a problem they see coming for our area. ImOn is a communication company that provides cable and internet locally. They are also the ones who provide the free downtown/newbo wifi. Recently, they have seen an increase in usage of this free service in various parts of downtown. They have connected these upticks in usage to students completing homework and assignments that require internet. They believe they are relying on this free wifi because they do not have access to internet at their home. ImOn would like BIG students to dig deeper on this issue to help them understand the true need in CR and how they can help be of service.


Colleges and universities have been tasked with educating and preventing sexual assault unlike any other institution in the US. While that is a worthwhile and necessary expectation, exposing K-12 students to the concept and practical application of consent (sexual and non-sexual) prior to their arrival at college/graduation from high school will provide them with an advantage over their peers, an opportunity to seek leadership positions, and serve as a support for others. I would like to work with Iowa BIG students to find ways to educate their peers about consent while in high school. This education doesn't have to be about sexual consent since we provide consent to all kinds of things every day. In my preliminary work with some college students, working on this issue connects with many disciplines including: communication, marketing, design, public speaking, and english.

ACT My Success Campaign

Help run a social media marketing campaign, including a series of interviews allowing people to talk about how teachers and education have affected their path.

Afternoon Storytellers

Helping elderly create personal narratives to pass on to their families.

Coffee for Humanity

Help develop a plan for a small business (coffee shop) that will employ and empower people transitioning out of homelessness. Create a business plan, consider how to create a business that serves the needs of both the staff and the community.

In Focus

Chronicle the work being done by Iowa BIG on Boyson students to share with the community through a newsletter and social media, incorporating stories, photos, and videos.

Ed Revision (2018-19)

Students will work in conjunction with Ed Reimagined to educate the public on learner-centered education.


Encourage young adults to participate in politics.