2021 Next Generation Innovator of the Year Finalists

mkubacki General Information

The Next Generation Innovator of the Year award is open to postdocs along with undergraduate and graduate students. The award recognizes innovation and entrepreneurship that has contributed to the development or commercialization of a new technology. It may also recognize a trainee-initiated start-up company whose success is a result of entrepreneurial talent, creativity and energy. Join us in congratulating the 2021 Next Generation Innovator of the Year finalists.

image of Jenny BarkerJenny Barker, MD, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Center for Regenerative Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital
Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Jenny Barker is a graduate of MIT and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Scientist Training Program. She is presently pursuing clinical training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at Ohio State University and postdoctoral research in tissue engineering in the Center for Regenerative Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Barker’s long-term research goals center around the development of technologies at the bench that will ultimately benefit plastic and reconstructive surgery patients in the operating room, particularly by modulating the interface between host and biomaterials to improve patient outcomes. For her postdoctoral work, Barker is a prior recipient of the Ohio State University President’s Postdoctoral Scholar award, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital 2020 Postdoc of the Year award, and NIH T32AI106704 and NIH F32HL144120 training awards.

image of Caroline KarbowskiCaroline Karbowski

Undergraduate student
College of Arts and Sciences

Caroline Karbowski is a third year undergraduate student pursuing a BS in biology and minors in chemistry and American Sign Language. Karbowski’s career goal is to make science accessible for people with disabilities. After receiving a fourth award in Plant Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, she realized more needed to be done to make science accessible for people with disabilities. She created See3D, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit which has organized the printing and distribution of over 1,400 3D printed models for people who are blind. She has given a TEDx talk, published in the Journal of Science Education for Students with Disabilities, been featured in numerous podcasts, radio shows, and conferences, and is training to be a Literary Braille Transcriber. Karbowski is the President of The Deaf-Hearing Club at Ohio State and is a member of DanceSport and Women’s Glee Club.


image of Mathew TrottaMatthew Trotta

Undergraduate Student
Fisher College of Business

Matthew Trotta is a fourth-year undergraduate student at the Ohio State University studying marketing with minors in Entrepreneurship and Computer and Information Science. His research is focused on developing a peer-to-peer support platform for college students geared towards mental health, a project that took first place in the 2020 Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation Challenge. A matching algorithm and monitoring system allows students to have anonymous, on-demand conversations with peers who share similar backgrounds and experiences in a safe way through a mobile application. Trotta hopes to significantly decrease the barriers and social stigmas that stop a large majority of college students dealing with mental health struggles from reaching out for help through early intervention and social connection. Through a passion for social entrepreneurship and innovation, Trotta is also working on developing a fully sustainable child-carrying backpack for mothers in developing countries.