For the latest news, events and announcements about UA, please visit

The new UA News Center features news channels specifically for students, faculty and staff, media and research. The UA News Center uses video, photography and narrative to tell the UA story to our various audiences. It also serves as a hub for finding information on campus resources and calendars. will remain in place temporarily as an archive, but will no longer be updated.

The University of Alabama

UA Event Sparks Business Ideas For the Backyard, Websites, Breast Cancer Detection

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Bamboo Charcoal, a breast cancer indication system and a personalized website tracking system are among the winning ideas of The University of Alabama and Culverhouse College of Commerce’s second annual Startup Weekend.

Some 50 teams from UA and the Tuscaloosa community participated in the recent event held on UA’s campus. All winners, except one, are UA students.

“I am excited about the entrepreneurial spirit that comes out of these competitions, and I can’t wait to see how the winning ideas from Startup Weekend move closer to becoming real businesses,” said Dr. J. Michael Hardin, dean of UA’s Culverhouse College of Commerce.

The winning ideas and teams are as follows:

First Place – Buzr: a notification service that tracks updates on websites that matter to you. It’s built right into browsers and tracking new content is as easy as point and click. Team: Cody Rasnick, Benjamin Romano, Chris Caruso.

Team Buzr (L-R) Cody Rasnick, Chris Caruso, Benjamin Romano

Team Buzr
(L-R) Cody Rasnick, Chris Caruso, Benjamin Romano









Second Place – Carsino Sensor: a household breast cancer indication system seeking to supplement breast self exams in between mammograms. Using bioelectrical impedance analysis, it detects a change in density within the breast tissue and alerts the user to any abnormalities through an app. Team: Amanda Boornazian, Kyle Costabile, Kaylee O’Connor and Kayla Uplinger.

Team Carsino Sensor (L-R) Kayla Uplinger, Kyle Costabile, Amanda Boornazian (not pictured- Kaylee O'Connor)

Team Carsino Sensor
(L-R) Kayla Uplinger, Kyle Costabile, Amanda Boornazian (not pictured- Kaylee O’Connor)









Third Place – Backyard Bamboo Charcoal: clean burning charcoal made from backyard bamboo that can be used for barbecuing or activated for use in filters. Team: Jamie Cicatiello, a Tuscaloosa resident and non-UA student, Aveyron Gooch, William Baird, Jonathan Norris.

Team Backyard Bamboo (L-R) Jonathan Norris, Jamie Cicatiello, Aveyron Gooch, William Baird

Team Backyard Bamboo
(L-R) Jonathan Norris, Jamie Cicatiello, Aveyron Gooch, William Baird









Spirit Award – Clean Feet: preventive mat buffer for contact buffer to reduce infections in athletes. Team: DeAnthony Smith, Alec Justice, Bryan Jacoway

The three winning teams each receive services that are targeted toward helping their businesses move forward and become a working business. This includes co-working space at The Edge for 3 months, legal and accounting business consulting, venture capital and startup consulting, and free admission to the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Conference organized by the Alabama Launchpad in Birmingham.

The 54-hour event brought together those with technical backgrounds and business backgrounds to spur entrepreneurship. Teams gave an initial pitch and final presentation to a panel of judges with the three winners selected at the end of the event.

Pam Hill with the STEM Path to the MBA program worked with students and staff to initiate the Startup Weekend last year and continues to spearhead the event.

The winner of last year’s Startup Weekend, Brewery Buddy, has seen enormous growth since September 2014 including its success in the 2015 Alabama Launchpad competition. From forming the LLC to working with businesses in the state, the company is growing each day following their appearance at Startup Weekend.

Startup Weekend was made possible with the support of local sponsors Alabama Power, JamisonMoneyFarmer and Randall Reilly.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.