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NMSU to welcome TV star and hundreds of students to Innoventure competition

When you are only four feet tall, you often feel like you live in a world that wasn't made for you. That is what Matt Roloff says at the beginning of every episode of "Little People, Big World," a TV show about him and his family on TLC (The Learning Channel). High school and middle school students from around New Mexico will have a chance to meet Roloff and show him their ideas for products to help little people during this year's Innoventure competition sponsored by New Mexico State University and New Mexico MESA, Inc.



Matt Roloff, star of TLC's "Little People, Big World," will visit with middle school and high school students at New Mexico State University on Feb. 20. (Courtesy photo)

The competition will be held at NMSU on Feb. 20. Judging begins at 1 p.m. at the Corbett Center Ball Rooms with an awards dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets are limited and required to hear Roloff speak at 6:30 p.m. Student projects will be available for the public to view between 4:30 and 5:45 p.m.

Innoventure encourages students to use science, engineering and business skills to solve problems. This year's theme is adaptive products, devices and other things used by little people to better adapt to a big world. Each student team will present projects and will be judged on various components, including general idea, feasibility and presentation. Previous themes have included alternative energy sources and toys for use in outer space.

"The student response to this year's competition has been incredible," said Marie Borchert, an education specialist for NMSU's Arrowhead Center, which promotes entrepreneurship in New Mexico.

"They are all being very creative in working to solve the problems of everyday difficulties met by little people. The number of teams in this year's competition is double that of last year," she said.

This year, approximately 200 students from around New Mexico will compete. High schools in this year's competition include Carlsbad, Cobre, Chaparral, Deming, Onate, Ruidoso, Santa Rosa, Socorro, Valencia and West Las Vegas. Middle schools competing this year are from Anton Chico, Cobre, Carlsbad, Deming, Ruidoso and Santa Rosa. Some schools are sending as many as six individual teams.

Borchert said the event helps students understand the process of developing technological products from the idea phase to production. It also gives them a foundation of understanding business concepts as they relate to developing a product and marketing it. The competition develops practical skills of problem solving, business writing, teamwork, meeting deadlines and communication.

For more information on the competition or to purchase tickets to hear Roloff, contact Borchert at (575) 646-7839 or mhaaland@nmsu.edu or Sara Pirayesh Sanders at (575) 646-7036 or npirayes@nmsu.edu.

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Photo is available at
http://ucommphoto.nmsu.edu/newsphoto/roloff_matt.jpg
CUTLINE: Matt Roloff, star of TLC's "Little People, Big World," will visit with middle school and high school students at New Mexico State University on Feb. 20. (Courtesy photo)

Justin Bannister
Feb. 6, 2009