Are you ready for a Challenge?

The Minerva Challenge is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your problem-solving skills. This six-week program will give you the opportunity to apply design thinking skills to a problem facing students around the world: how to reimagine education post-COVID-19. As students who have been dramatically impacted by the global pandemic, we know you have innovative ideas and solutions for how to ensure you and your classmates continue to have quality educational opportunities.

This is your chance to work within a small team and share your best ideas. After partnering with Minerva student mentors and refining your pitch, the Minerva Challenge winning team will be awarded a $1,000 USD prize and, if qualified, a $10,000 Minerva Scholarship.

The Challenge

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, education systems around the globe have shut down and effective learning has taken a backseat. Without a clear plan at national levels, each high school and university has had to design and implement its own alternative methods of continuing education.

As President of the Innovation Committee at your high school or university, the administration tasked you with creating a cohesive plan to restart educational opportunities for all students within the next six weeks. The new method must be accessible to all students previously served and ensure that the quality and effectiveness of the education is not compromised —ideally, it is enhanced. Due to the uncertainty as to when educational institutions will be able to re-open in person, it is imperative that the model be sustainable in nature.

Sign up for the Minerva Challenge

The Process

Welcoming participants from around the world, the Minerva Challenge will mostly happen asynchronously and rely heavily on collaboration with your team, consisting of you and up to two other individuals.

Dorotea Studying
Week One: Join the Challenge

As we launch the Challenge, we encourage you to think thoughtfully about whether you are prepared to join and dedicate yourself to creating a strong idea to solve the challenge. This is your time to think about your lived experience as a student during this time and what you wish had been done differently.

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Week 2: Creating Your Team

People are a key part to the design thinking process. Be sure to select teammates that have complimentary skills and you wish to collaborate with. The best ideas are often created from diverse viewpoints, so if possible try to welcome people to your team who have had different experiences.

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Week 3: Defining the Problem

Before diving into generating solutions, it is important to fully understand the problem with all of its complexities. In addition, being clear on the goals you are aiming to achieve is important before you get into solutions. These insights will help you brainstorm and select ideas that will be more effective.

Week 4: Designing Your Solution

Using the insights from examining the problem and solidifying the goal, you and your teammates will generate potential solutions. At this stage, it is okay to explore multiple ideas without concern for constraints. You should end this week with an idea you are planning to develop and polish to submit.

Week 5: Refining Your Presentation

With your solution selected, use this week to refine your idea and gather feedback from others outside of your team. This is your opportunity to continue to improve and iterate on your idea to ensure it will achieve your defined goal. Be sure to think through limitations and resources needed.

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Week 6: Submitting Your Innovative Idea

It is time to share your idea with our judges. This is your opportunity to pitch your solution and highlight your hard work. Remember to make sure your presentation is clear, organized, and concise. The judges are looking for ideas that are creative and show you have thought through how it improves on the current system.

Your Mentors

To support you in this journey, three current Minerva students will be available to provide advice and mentorship to the teams. From helping you hone your problem statement to sharing resources to bolster your submission, please feel free to reach out to them throughout the challenge.

Udodirim Iroaganachi

Hi! My name is Udodirim (Dodie) Iroaganachi. Originally from Nigeria, I joined the Class of 2023 at Minerva to pursue a well-rounded education and explore the world beyond my hometown of Lagos. I am currently studying in San Francisco, and majoring in Computational Sciences and Business. After Minerva, I aspire to become a product manager to help cross-functional teams build useful products that can solve real-world problems.

Daniel Kalu

Hello! My name is Daniel and I am a second-year student studying computer science at Minerva. I am passionate about clean technology and renewable energy. When I am not studying, you can find me having a discussion about new tech discoveries or watching, discussing, or playing soccer.

Nayyera Askar

Hello, my name is Nayyera and I'm from Cairo, Egypt. I am a sophomore at Minerva and majoring in Computational Sciences. I also work as an Outreach Intern for the Middle East & North Africa region. I am interested in creating videos for my YouTube channel, Nairytale, where I discuss different educational opportunities and personal development tips.

Mentor Sessions

Join one of the mentoring sessions to ask the team any questions you may have about the Challenge or their Minerva experience.


Who can participate?

This is open to students in their final years of high school or those who have completed high school within the last two years (graduated from high school in 2019 or later.) Most participants will be between the ages of 16-20. You can be located anywhere in the world as long as you have consistent access to the internet so you can engage with mentors and your teammates.

How do I join?

Please complete the signup form at the top of this page. At the time of registration, you will be asked to include a team name and the teams of others participating with you. We will follow up with additional information as the event progresses.

What are the evaluation criteria?

Submissions will be judged on the following aspects:

  • Concept
  • Creativity and innovation
  • Practicality and realistic capability
  • Individual contribution and team work
  • Overall presentation