Students Compete in Shark Tank-Style Competition

BLOOMSBURG -- It was a Shark Tank-style battle at Bloomsburg University in Columbia County. College and high school students from across the state competed for cash prizes and for the chance to turn their ideas into careers.

The university's Zeigler College of Business hosted the first ever Husky Dog Pound Tuesday. It was a  competition based off the hit ABC show "Shark Tank." The judges were Bloomsburg University alumni and presidents and CEOs of companies. The financial gurus believe students need to start thinking about these kinds of issues now.

"The ability to make good decisions. How you spend your money, how you invest that money," said Terry Zeigler, whom the business college is named after and a judge in Tuesday's competition.

Bloomsburg University students from all colleges, departments, and majors and students from about 50 high schools across Pennsylvania took part in Tuesday's competition, all competing for up to $50,000 in cash prizes.

"We believe that if we can help students at a very young age understand these issues, then they'll be better prepared later on to take jobs that meet higher standards of living," said Dean Jeffrey Krug, of the Ziegler College of Business.

Anna McElroy and Bridget Casey are softball players at Bloomsburg University. They presented their sports-related idea to the panel of judges with the hopes to make some money off of it.

"It was very nerve-wracking at first. I went in there and I spoke first. I was nervous talking to these people who are potential investors. Once they got into it, they started asking us questions. We did very well," said McElroy. "We were very comfortable," Casey added.

Their idea is not trademarked yet, so they could not share it with Newswatch 16, but they hope the competition will be what they need to turn their idea into their future careers after they graduate from Bloomsburg University.

"We know what we want to do. We know our product. We just have to believe in it so other people can believe in it as well," McElroy said.

McElroy and Casey placed second overall in the college division.

High school students got to experience life on a college campus and learn what it takes to turn ideas into reality.

"We all love engineering. We are all very mathematical and analytical, so when we saw something like this in a very good application in society, we had to run with it," said Richard Massimino, a senior at Clearfield Area Junior-Senior High School.

Massimino and his team, Dolphin Enterprises, placed first in the high school division. Doug Howell, Seth Miller and Zach Owens are the other members of the winning team.