Charles Town, WV – Oct. 10, 2019 – American Public University System (APUS) today announced that it presented its $25,000 prize for Innovation in Online Education to eCLOSE as part of the 2019 Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC). Philadelphia-based eCLOSE – one of seven finalists worldwide competing for cash prizes totaling over $100,000 – provides biomedical research training to teachers and students through an inclusive and supportive citizen science approach.
The entrepreneurship recognition was awarded as part of the annual Catalyst@PennGSE initiative designed to address persistent and emerging problems in education. Finalists presented their projects to a select judging panel of industry investors, researchers, and practitioners, including Beth LaGuardia Cooper, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of APUS parent company American Public Education, Inc.
“We’re very pleased to congratulate eCLOSE Co-founders Alana O'Reilly & Dara Ruiz-Whalen,” said APUS President and Penn GSE Graduate Dr. Wallace E. Boston. “They train students in professional laboratory research and the problem solving, collaboration, communication, and networking skills required for career success.”
In addition to the second-place APUS prize, eCLOSE also won the $15,000 Audience Choice Prize and $5,000 in Amazon Web Services promotional credits. Previous APUS Prize awardees include Byndr, Citelighter, GraphLock, Lumen Labs, Mentor Pro, Osmosis, Persistence Plus and Tassl, all of which have gone on to grow their ventures, attract investors and positively impact education.
Now in its tenth year, EBPC stimulates cutting-edge ideas that serve the world’s educational needs. Launched in 2010 by the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education in partnership with the Milken Family Foundation, EBPC is the nation’s first-ever funded education business plan competition and has awarded more than $1 million in total prizes.