Think fast!

With only a few hours to complete their task, students put their creativity and critical thinking skills to the test developing biology-based solutions during the CBS Case Study Competition.
February 21, 2024

Dozens of students happily took time out of their Saturdays to gather in Bruininks Hall in early February for the third annual CBS Case Study Competition. The event challenges students to solve real-world problems in three categories: healthcare, environment and biotechnology. 

As students work to develop evidence-based solutions for their assigned challenges, they’re also strengthening a sense of social responsibility, teamwork and communication in the context of pressing scientific issues.

“Our hope is that students are really able to benefit from participating in the competition in a number of different ways,” says Aryn Lipnicki, assistant director for student engagement and the event organizer. “On top of scientific problem solving, we try to provide them with tools and practice to help them to develop a socially-conscious lens to their science, build skills to collaborate successfully, and learn to effectively communicate scientific information to different audiences.”

Each student is asked to become a pseudo-expert on their topic in only four hours. Though teams get to choose a category to participate in ahead of time, no one is given any information about their assigned topic until the day of the competition. Upon arrival, teams are given their “case study,” which highlights a few ways each problem faces complex scientific, political, cultural and socio-economic challenges today.

In this year’s Case Study Competition, teams addressed healthcare’s organ shortage, the environmental implications of the molasses industry, and meeting the demand for beef with cultured meat. A panel of judges scored them using criteria including communication, research, feasibility and creativity. 

“I am regularly impressed and inspired by CBS students, but seeing the idea they are able to create in just a few hours time to solve real complex problems surprises me every year,” says Lipnicki. “It truly gives me hope for our future and the CBS grads who will be leading us there.” — Adara Taylor

Check out the posters created during the Case Study Competition.


case study winners
Tatum Miklasevics, Amital Shaver, Christina Cummings and Wren Farrell proudly display the winning certificates for the environment category. Their poster is entitled “Catalyzing the Fourth Agricultural Revolution: Education of the Guatemalan Sugarcane Workforce for Sustainability and Profit.”
case study winners
Winners of the healthcare category Akua Anohene, Izzy Ikobe, Hosanna Yonatan and Leuwahm Victor hold up their certificates in Bruininks Hall.  Their poster is entitled “Transforming Lives: the Power of Organ Donation.”
case study winners
Marie Ronnanders, Khidhr Kotaria, Ishika Jain and Devna Panda represent the winning team for the biotechnology category. Their poster is entitled “Cultured Meat Meets Our Culture.”