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Mission Life engages undergraduate, graduate and professional students from different disciplines in the development of innovative designs, ideas, tools, resources and/or services that address certain topics that change year to year. This year being Mental Health in the 21st Century. This competition does not only address the issues of the 21st Century, but also brings together some of the brightest minds from around the world—creating solutions to the challenges we face today.
The first project in the evolution of the international Mission: Life competition was initiated at PUCPR by the dean from the School of Health and Biosciences in 2012, titled “Mission Health.” Multidisciplinary teams were formed by students from the undergraduate programs of Biological Sciences, Biotechnology, Dentistry, Gastronomy, Nursing, Nutrition, Pharmacy, Psychology, Physical Education and Physical Therapy. The competition continued in this manner in 2103 and 2014 at PUCPR.
Mission Life 2015 was the first international version of the competition. The topic for this year was “innovative solutions to diabetes.” The teams consisted of four to ten students from different programs from both PUCPR and UIW. The projects were presented in English and Portuguese. The projects were submitted to an evaluation commission formed by professors from PUCPR and UIW according to the following criteria:
The four best projects were selected to the final competition, where the teams’ concepts were subjected to student voting.
Mission Life 2016 incorporated an expansion of disciplinary partners, thus expanding the challenge. At PUCPR, the School of Health and Biosciences became the School of Life Sciences after the incorporation of Veterinary, Agronomy and Forest Engineering undergraduate programs, the Animal Sciences graduate program and when Kent State University took part in the competition for the first time. The contest was opened to students duly enrolled in undergraduate or graduate programs from each of the three institutions. The composition of each team was subjected to the limit of up to 50% of students enrolled in graduate school. The goal of the competition was to engage undergraduate, graduate or professional students from the participating institutions in the development of “innovative designs, ideas, tools, resources and/or services that address the search for well-being of humans, animals and the environment” under the theme of "One Health."
Each university developed a local competition in order to choose their finalist team. The final contest took place at the PUCPR campus, on November 21, 2016. The projects were presented in a “Pitch Session” form, to an examination board, constituted by three jurors that judged the projects according to the following nine criteria:
The projects were also submitted to voting by popular jury. The School of Life Sciences from PUCPR sponsored the meals and accommodations for four finalist’s students from UIW and KSU for three days. Every participating institution provided the flight tickets of their respective representatives.
Again, the aim of the competition in 2017 was to stimulate the participation of undergraduate students from participating institutions in developing innovative proposals. Designing tools, resources or services aligned with at least one of the 17 international “sustainable development goals” delineated by the United Nations Development Program (www.undp.org). Similar to the 2016 competition, PUCPR, KSU and UIW each developed a local competition in order to choose the finalist team. The final contest took place at the KSU campus (Kent-Ohio) on November 13, 2017. The projects were presented in a “Pitch Session” format to an examination board. Kent State University sponsored the meals and accommodation for four finalist students each from UIW and PUCPR for three days. Each participating institution provided the flight tickets of their respective representatives.
Following the organization of the former international versions from the contest, UIW was the host of the final competition in 2018. The theme was “Global Immigration in the 21st Century.” Hosted at their campus in San Antonio, Texas, all other aspects of the international competition were the same, but the UIW organizing team also added an innovative element to the program. On the day following the announcement of the winning team, all members of each of the participating institutions participated in a community-engaged service-learning activity together at Catholic Charities Guadalupe Center. This helped to build both an awareness and a camaraderie across and amongst the students, staff and faculty leaders of each participating institution, and as such reinforced many of the core goals of the collaborative inter-institutional competition.