Success Stories

Keona Marie Gomes ‘25 Takes First Place in both the Connecticut Elevator Pitch Olympics and UHart Business Pitch Competitions

May 06, 2022
Keona Marie Gomes ‘25
Keona Marie Gomes ‘25

Keona Marie Gomes ‘25, a criminal justice major in the College of Arts and Sciences, was recently awarded first place in both the Connecticut Elevator Pitch Olympics and UHart’s Business Pitch Competition that is sponsored annually by the Barney School of Business. Her pitch for the Med-Buddy, a touch-screen daily pill dispenser and alert system, won the statewide $2,500 prize, and a $800 award from the UHart competition. The winner of the Connecticut competition is also provided with access to legal counsel and an engineering team to help the idea become a reality.

Barney’s Business Pitch Competition gives students from across the campus a chance to pitch their business ideas, no matter what majors they are in. Students are asked to deliver a one-minute pitch of their innovative business idea and receive valuable feedback from the judges. 

Keona says there are many factors that contributed to her idea. “From me observing how complicated and tiny the compartments my late grandmother used to store her medication—to an incident in which I was tasked with giving a set of triplets their ADHD medication and subsequently failing due to them mixing up their pills to avoid taking them—it was always clear that something like this was needed,” she says.    

To prepare for the statewide competition, Keona says she received plenty of extremely helpful tips from UHart faculty, who encouraged her as she went on to the next round. “As for preparing, I noticed that absolutely no one in either bracket had prepared notecards! Such a small preparatory tool kept me from rambling or drawing a blank and really kept my presentation neat and tidy.”

Though Keona’s original plan is to attend law school, she says she really sees the world as her oyster and is open to anything. “From acting to art, being a flight attendant, or even just attending law school as planned, in any case, I think my invention is far too important to fall to the wayside. So whichever way I go, the Med-Buddy is coming to fruition!”