The 2018 Min Family Challenge

The Min Family Challenge is a most eloquent example of the power of engineering to solve problems with societal importance—what at the Viterbi School we call Engineering +. With focus on the natural catastrophes from hurricanes, this year, the student teams will provide sustainable solutions to problems of immediate importance and relevance. And in the process, they will increase their empathy, their entrepreneurship skills and their societal consciousness—all important competencies of the National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenges Scholars Program.
Dean Yannis C. Yortsos USC Viterbi
Our students are an incredible resource and possess an enormous amount of energy and talent. This year’s challenge will apply their intellect and skill towards helping people who have immediate needs. In addition to helping others, this challenge will provide an unforgettable learning experience in conceiving of real–world solutions to improve lives of others.
Andrea Belz, Vice Dean, Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurship at USC Viterbi


To apply you will be asked to provide:

  • Focused problem area and proposed solution.
  • Name, school, e-mail, graduation date, and one sentence bio for each team member. The maximum number of team members is 5.
  • All USC students are invited to participate, although each team must have at least one Viterbi student as member.

Need teammates? Post your idea and find other team members on Viterbi Innovation’s website.


The Min Family Challenge (MFC) was established by alumnus Bryan Min and his wife Julie Min to support student use of engineering and technology to develop sustainable and effective solutions for global problems, positively affecting the greater society. To date, the Min Family Challenge has nurtured concepts ranging from technologies for preventing infant blindness to digital solutions for the “underbanked.” This Challenge has extended the world of innovation to creating sustainable solutions to needy communities across the globe.

In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria and devastation from Mexico’s strongest earthquakes in a century, the 2018 Min Family Engineering Social Entrepreneurship Challenge will focus on developing sustainable ventures to enhance relief and recovery efforts for the victims and mitigate impact of future disasters. This initiative will allow teams of students to apply for subsidies to travel to the Houston area, a testbed, for field research, then develop technical solutions for a specific problem resulting from the hurricane’s aftermath.

Through the Min Challenge, following the on-site problem discovery, teams will have the chance to spend the subsequent months on campus developing prototypes for solutions and sustainable business models, guided with a series of entrepreneurship workshops, to support future disaster response efforts. We are delighted to partner with the Brittingham Social Enterprise Lab based at the USC Marshall School of Business. Successful teams will also be eligible for substantial prototyping awards. Final prototypes and business models will be presented at a showcase in the Spring 2018. Teams must have a USC Viterbi student or postdoc in a lead role but are ideally multi-disciplinary teams.

Admitted teams will be paired with mentors and are required to attend mandatory entrepreneurship education workshops.

About the Min Family

The Mins have a longstanding legacy of philanthropy to USC and beyond. Here at USC Viterbi, Julie and Bryan have generously supported student fellowships. In 2000, the Mins established the ESSential Foundation, which funds, among other things, military support organizations, caregivers of wounded warriors, international micro-finance, religious, educational organizations as well as community programs that support troubled youth.

The Mins are passionate Trojans through and through. Bryan, a distinguished alumnus with a Bachelor’s in Industrial and Systems Engineering, is a member of the USC Viterbi Board of Councilors as well as our ISE Epstein Department Advisory Board.  His wife Julie graduated from UCLA earning a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Business. Julie worked on Capitol Hill on the Senate Ethics Committee before raising their two wonderful children and currently serves on Boards of various non-profits, including the Armed Services and the YMCA. Their son Brandon graduated from USC with a major in Industrial and Systems Engineering. Daughter Brittany will be attending USC in the fall of 2016.

Key Dates

0Sep 2017
Info session
0Oct 2017
Disaster Relief Info Session
0Nov 2017
Application Deadline
0Nov 2017
Orientation Meeting
0- 15 Jan 2018
Field research trip in Houston, TX
0Apr 2018

Our Sponsors

For Innovators

Innovator Code of Conduct

For Mentors

Mentor Code of Conduct


Program Documents