Students Rise to TechPoint S.O.S. Challenge
Campus News

Due to COVID-19, many college students were notified that the summer internship opportunities they had worked hard to secure had been canceled. TechPoint, Indiana’s industry-led, nonprofit tech sector growth initiative, recognized the loss and responded with a solution. TechPoint offered 500 college students from Indiana the opportunity to participate in the Summer Opportunities for Students (S.O.S.) Challenge, a five-week summer experience designed to help the students strengthen their resumes, demonstrate skills and make valuable, professional connections. Students participating in the program were placed on teams to work on COVID-related challenges during the timeframe of June 22 to July 17.

Volunteers from the Indiana tech community were assigned as coaches to the student teams. Each team was assigned a real-world, COVID-19 related challenge topic, ranging from workplace and work-from-home environments, telehealth, restaurants and small businesses, sports and entertainment events, e-learning, schools, community-based organizations, tourism and transportation. Teams had the opportunity to learn from experts, do their own research, then prepare a product prototype and go-to-market plan to help address solutions to COVID-related problems or to help create new opportunities. The products and plans have been presented virtually to a TechPoint panel of judges. Winners will be announced on July 31 and will receive cash prizes for their efforts. Each student who finished the program also received a $500 stipend.

Nine Franklin College students participated in the Challenge. Dylan Harker, a senior from Shelbyville, was assigned to the Schools and Colleges Team. He cited his greatest experience with the program as “the opportunity to work on current real world problems while learning more about the Indy tech community. It has been rewarding knowing that my work is not only a valuable experience for me, but also has the potential to make a real difference in local communities during this pandemic. Additionally I have been able to do this while learning what a career in tech in Indy is like.”

“Franklin College is very thankful to TechPoint for offering our students, as well as others across the state of Indiana, this valuable opportunity,” said Tim Garner, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic affairs at Franklin College, and a member of the TechPoint board of directors. “Not only are the students working on solving issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are also networking with fellow college students and making valuable connections with professionals in the tech sector around the state. None of this would have been possible without the foresight and initiative of TechPoint.”  

Franklin College students participating in the TechPoint S.O.S. Challenge include:

Britany App, daughter of Kyle and Amy App of Montezuma, is a biochemistry, psychology and Spanish major. App participated on the Telehealth Team.

Alexander Bowers, son of Alan and Julie Bowers of Fort Wayne, is a math (quantitative analysis) major. Bowers participated on the Transportation Team.

Lindsay Freije, daughter of Tony and Ronda Freije of Indianapolis, is a mathematics major (applied/actuarial). Freije participated on the Sports and Entertainment Team.

Dylan Harker, son of Brian and Cherri Harker of Shelbyville, is a triple mathematics major (quantitative analysis, pure and applied). Harker participated on the Schools and Colleges Team.

Austin Holbrook, son of Marjie Skiles of Franklin, is a software engineering major. Holbrook participated on the Sports and Entertainment Team.

Jacob Laub, son of Jeff and Robin Laub of Milan, is a mathematics (quantitative analysis) major. Laub participated on the COVID Detection Team.

Clayton Miller, son of Ms. Lisa Miller of Fortville, is an art history and an art graphic design major. Miller participated on the Work-From-Home Team.

John Moranchel, son of Alicia Martinez and Carlos Moranchel of Greenwood, is an accounting major. Moranchel participated on the Schools and Colleges Team.

Christopher Steeb, son of Eric and Ada Steeb of Martinsville, is an applied mathematics major. Steeb participated on the Sport and Entertainment Team.

In addition, Franklin College student Emily Hales also benefited from a separate opportunity with TechPoint, serving in a full-time Xternship with High Alpha. Hales, a junior art graphic design major, spent the summer working as a marketing and graphic design intern with Pattern89, an Al software marketing company that analyzes and predicts successful digital creative. Hales is the daughter of Philip and Christy Hales of Columbus.

For additional information, contact the Franklin College Office of Communications at (317) 738-8185 or


POSTED Jul 20, 2020