A man and a woman pose back-to-back outside among UA campus buildings.

With Regional Win, Team Set for National Business Pitch Contest

Working with technology being developed at The University of Alabama, two students will compete in a national collegiate business pitch competition after winning the regional competition.

The UA team, called Battery Doctor, is one of 23 teams left out 184 student teams representing 124 schools competing in EnergyTech University Prize 2023 sponsored by the United State Department of Energy. The UA students came out on top in in the regional contest, earlier in March and plan to travel to Austin, Texas, to compete at the national level on April 3.

“This is a big experience for us because it allows us to touch something out of our zone,” said Mohammad Alsmadi, team member and a doctoral student in electrical engineering.

As a research assistant Alsmadi works on the technology developed in the lab of Dr. Jaber Abu Qahouq, professor of electrical and computer engineering. Alsmadi teamed with Anastasia Ramig, a junior in physics and math and in the STEM Path to the MBA program in the Culverhouse College of Business.

The competition is providing each with new experiences. While Alsmadi is learning the business side of tech innovation, Ramig, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, has experience in entrepreneurship through the STEM Path program, having competed in student business pitch competitions before and even starting a company.

Since joining Battery Doctor, Ramig joined the research lab performing data analysis.

“Being from the business development side, this competition is a good chance to get my feet wet and understand this industry and its expectations,” she said. “This is an opportunity to be a more well-rounded student and, later, a more well-rounded employee.”

This is the second year of the EnergyTech UP contest sponsored by the Office of Technology Transitions within the energy department. It was designed to increase awareness about national lab-developed and other promising energy technologies, then equip students with the resources they need to strategize new and transformative ways to make these technologies marketable.

The teams taking part in the regional contests came from 44 states, the District of Columbia and two U.S. territories. UA’s team competed in the regional for Florida and Alabama, winning $3,000 for their innovative business solution for bringing cutting-edge energy tech to market.

Battery Doctor is part of research funded by the National Science Foundation to develop battery health monitoring technology and a prototype system that detects performance deterioration and possible battery failures more quickly and accurately than current technologies. It aims to improve a range of applications including electric vehicles and battery backup systems as well as provide fast and accurate state-of-health degradation evaluation technology for repurposing batteries.

The research grant, part of NSF’s Partnerships for Innovation program, is to Abu Qahouq and Dr. Rob Morgan, professor of marketing and the director of the STEM Path in Culverhouse.

After industry judges selected Battery Doctor for the National Pitch Event at Zpryme’s Energy Thought Summit, Alsmadi and Ramig transitioned to refining their pitch. After the pitches conclude, up to three winners will share a $100,000 prize pool.


Adam Jones, UA communications, 205-348-4328, adam.jones@ua.edu