First UA ‘Game-Changer’ awarded

By Samantha Hickey, News Editor

Last week, UA introduced the first of eight recipients of The University of Akron Game-Changer Award.

The award is presented to UA students who embody the “I-won’t-take-no-for-an-answer, roll-up-my-sleeves-and-make-it-happen approach,” according to the University Digest.

All eight Game-Changers will be recognized at select UA football and basketball games throughout their seasons. Recipients will be rewarded with a $1,000 prize at the basketball game versus Kent State University on March 4, 2016.

Reed Jacobsen, a junior honors student pursuing a double-major in computer engineering and applied mathematics, was selected as the first game-changer recipient.

Heidi Cressman, the director of Women in Engineering, nominated Jacobsen for the award.

Jacobsen said he was surprised he received the award. “I hadn’t heard I had been selected for the award until after I had won it, so it kind of came out of nowhere,” Jacobsen said.

According to Jacobsen, he became interested in both programming and circuit design during high school thanks to the Project Lead the Way courses. Project Lead the Way is a series of engineering preparatory courses that select schools throughout Ohio offer.

Jacobsen is also highly involved with the University’s NASA Robotic Mining Competition team and also lends a hand with other robotic clubs on campus.

Along with school and robotics, Jacobsen dedicates a large amount of his time as the co-founder and chief technology officer at Smart Gun Systems. Smart Gun Systems is a start-up company inspired by recent school shootings, such as Chardon High School in 2012. Jacobsen and Smart Gun Systems are currently working on the Smart Motion Tag, which is a bundle with a tag and base unit.

“The tag can then be attached to any gun, and as long as it remains within distance of the base unit, when the gun is moved the owner is alerted by text or an app notification,” Jacobsen said.

Smart Gun Systems is marketing their product towards gun owning families, since many gun related deaths are due to accidental shootings when children unknowingly gain access to family guns.

Jacobsen said the start-up currently has a prototype and is working towards making a consumer-ready model.