College of Human Sciences students share innovations at College-by-College Pitch Off

By Allison Martyr

College by College Pitch Off winners were Grace Rigdon and Linda Tong for best new and existing ideas. Runners up were Dani Schon and Belange Mutunda for best new and existing ideas

Inventive students delivered 90-second pitches on their new and developing ideas — and vied for cash prizes and the chance to advance  — in the human sciences segment of the ISU College-by-College Pitch Off on Feb. 13, in the Student Innovation Center.

From the 18 innovative, inspiring, and creative ideas students brought to the table, judges chose four winners.

Grace RigdonGrace Rigdon, a senior in apparel, merchandising, and design, placed first in the new idea category for D-Ravel, an app she plans to develop. The app offers a way for travel and fashion to coexist, helping tourists feel more prepared for their travels. The idea sprouted from Rigdon’s personal experience and desire to help others prepare to travel to an unfamiliar place. Next, she plans to learn more about starting a business, continue her research, take advantage of resources, and get the app up and running.



Linda TongLinda Tong, a senior in event management, placed first in the existing idea category for a pitch about her active business, Linda Tong Planners. Her business provides handwritten planners, customized to each individual’s schedule. Her planners come in a variety of designs and layouts, including expense trackers, monthly goal sheets, fitness logs, and crosswords. Tong is scaling up to mass distribute the planners. She plans to include the most popular personalization choices of past customers and use social media polls to receive customer feedback. By reproducing her planners in print, she will be able to accommodate more customers and lifestyles. Her goal is to one day have her planners sold in retail stores. 


Belange MutundaBelange Mutunda, a senior in apparel, merchandising, and design, was named runner-up in the existing idea category. Belange pitched her clothing brand; Belange Handmade (BHM), that she launched six years ago. BHM is a sustainable brand, producing hand-crafted clothing, accessories, footwear, and home decor. Belange gains her inspiration from traditional African prints, and recycling and reusing products like water bottles and scrap fabrics. Mutunda also pitched her product, “Eve” reusable pads, developed to give women an affordable and environmentally-friendly feminine hygiene option. She plans on having “Eve” distributed in America and Africa, to orphanages, high schools, and women’s shelters. Half of the profit Mutunda makes, she donates back to a variety of charities. Her goal after graduation is to hire five interns and teach them how to run a business, and become fashion designers.


Dani SchonDani Schon, a senior in elementary education, was runner-up in the new idea category. Dani pitched an idea about an app she is looking to develop, Dani’s Book Club. The app allows individuals to input their interests (genre, age group, geographic location) and find book clubs in their area based on their interests. The app would provide users of many different interest groups to interact. Her inspiration sprung from her own personal experience, struggling to find book clubs that focus within her interest group. Her next step is to work with a friend who is a computer science major, who can help her create the app and get it up and running as a beta test.


Key contacts

Linda Niehm, professor/dean’s faculty fellow, 515-294-1930,
Grace Rigdon,
Linda Tong,
Belange Mutunda,
Dani Schon,

By Allison Martyr