Beloiters win Make48 challenge, head to national competition
The Rock River Dinners team of Eric Seo’25, Sydney Felhofer’24, Joshua Laue’25, and Aleksander Mytko’25 won first place in the Make48 Beloit challenge for their prototype X-Barrage.
Make48 challenge at Lincoln Academy last November had Beloit College connections. Half of the teams of the local
Today, one of the college’s three student teams took home the $2,000 top prize and advanced to the program’s national competition in Kansas City in March.
The Rock River Dinners team of Eric Seo’25, Sydney Felhofer’24, Joshua Laue’25, and Aleksander Mytko’25 won first place for their prototype X-Barrage, a fast-paced snowball target game they hope to bring to market.
“Make48 has been an amazing opportunity for all of us,” Felhofer says. “We feel so honored to have won here in Beloit, especially knowing how amazing and inventive our competitors are. We learned a lot about challenging and trusting each other.”
A group of Kansas City inventors and entrepreneurs started Make48 in 2015 to challenge teams to create a new design on a deadline. They wanted everyday people with great ideas to have access to machines, tools, and tool technicians to create a prototype.
Beloit-area competitors had 48 hours to create a winter outdoor game for two or more players, ages 8 and older, all at a $29.95 price tag. The Make48 teams brainstormed a concept, met with patent attorneys, designed a CAD drawing, and worked with tool techs to prototype a product. Teams then presented a drawing, video, sell sheet, and invention prototype to the judges.
Brian Morello, Beloit College economics and business professor who also leads the college’s entrepreneurship center, CELEB, mentored the students with a design conceptualization seminar that put them in the customer’s brain. He says the Rock River Dinners’ winning prototype checked all the boxes for market success.
”It was quick and easy to understand and had that playfulness — the childlike delight of having a snowball fight — that everyone can appreciate. That is what captivated the judges,” Morello says.
Two other Beloit student teams also took on the Beloit Make48 challenge. The Macho Quatro team included Ishan Bhasin’26, Miles O’Bryan’26, Prabal Khare’26, and Jalen Ponder’24 and the 404 team featured Shoumika Anannyo’25, Abhishek Shekhar’24, Hamna Zulfiqar’25, and Abhey Singh Guram’24.
Beloit College family and friends even put together Team SAT, with Todd Anderbyrne, formerly of Communications & Marketing, and Professor of Economics Diep Phan’s husband, Amrish, and son, Shaan.
All the Make48 Beloiters are high-achieving students eager to take on challenges. Morello says their experience with CELEB, the college’s Maker Lab, and Career Channels, which helps students interact with professionals in fields they want to learn more about, set students up to handle the Make48 challenge.
“Having this many students respond, try out, and succeed in the competition is emblematic of the ‘Swiss Army knife’ quality of Beloit College’s liberal arts education,” Morello says. “It lets them rise to the occasion when given an ambiguous situation and challenges them to make something that is powerful and exciting.”
The Rock River Dinners can’t hold back their excitement of another challenge in a bigger arena and the chance to compete on a larger stage in Kansas City.
“Every one of us in this group has a unique talent, experience, and viewpoint,” Felhofer says. “Learning to incorporate all of that and working together helped us win at regionals, and that’s something we plan to take forward to nationals.”
The college partnered with the city of Beloit, businesses, and local entrepreneurs to bring the Make48 competition to Beloit.
Visit Make48.com for more competition information.