One of the reasons The Sweet Potato Challenge is called a challenge is because it will not be easy.  You are being asked to generate ideas that can benefit an entire industry or that may allow you to create a new business.  Please read the About (link) page to get an overview of The Challenge.

A service-learning class offers a number of benefits which typical lecture-based or lab-based courses may not. In these classes, you work on real-world projects, which benefits real clients. These experiences allow you to learn about yourself, for example, to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, or to define your future professional preferences. Working with community partners to solve actual problems can be very empowering, and shows just how much of a difference your involvement in the community can make.

While exciting and immensely gratifying, the idea of working with community partners can be intimidating or confusing. The Succeed in Service-Learning page on CASLE’s website offers suggestions for making the most out of the experience.

During the process, you will be asked to take some surveys or questionnaires.  These instruments will allow The Sweet Potato Challenge to assess important aspects of learning.  They will not take much time and your participation is critical to the success of the Challenge.  

Intellectual Property & Key Decision Points
One of the goals of The Challenge is to place you in an environment to generate new ideas.  Some of these ideas could be quite valuable.  Student inventors retain their intellectual property rights developed from the in-class (Phase 1) portion of The Challenge.  The conclusion of the course marks the first key decision point for student inventors.  The decision is to continue to Phase 2 of The Challenge or to not continue with The Challenge.  The Sweet Potato Challenge provides funds to further development of the initial concept.  Before moving to Phase 2, you will be asked to file an invention disclosure which will assign intellectual property rights to the university in exchange for royalties.  All student team members must support the decision to move to Phase 2.  The Challenge can provide someone to discuss this decision with you in detail. Students can continue to develop their concepts after assigning intellectual rights through the Mississippi State University Entrepreneurship Center.

We want your ideas to be wildly successful for you and the sweet potato industry even if your team does not decided to continue with The Challenge.   

Research Notebooks
Research notebooks provide the foundation for protecting your ideas and making them valuable.  You will be expected to keep and maintain a notebook in which your concepts are detailed.  The notebooks also make a great place to keep a record of your reflections from the service-learning course.  Below are a list of recommended notebooks and practices.

Scientific Notebook Company

Maintaining a Laboratory Notebook
Do’s and Don’ts of Keeping a Lab Notebook (PPT)
Laboratory Notebook Guidelines

The Sweet Potato Challenge understands the importance of responsible and ethical conduct of research and expects that participating students uphold ethical conduct essential to ensure the public’s trust. Participants are expected to act with integrity regarding authorship, inventorship, plagiarism, copyright/patent law, data acquisition and security, conflict of interest, human subject research (if applicable), use of animals in research (if applicable), reporting, and repercussions of academic and research misconduct.  Participants in the Sweet Potato Challenge are subject to the Mississippi State University Honor Code. 

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