Northrop Grumman Fall 2023 Student Challenge


a share of up to $5,000 in prizes! This will include a $2,500 first-place award, $1,500 second-place award, and a $1,000 third-place award. The challenge is open to teams of up to 4 undergraduate students.  Individuals are welcome to register and will be grouped with other individual applicants.


about Innovation Hacks through Object Identification and Classification and solve a challenge relevant to many businesses and industries. 


concepts using free and open-source tools to create an application or program using Python or MATLAB


valuable insight from Northrop Grumman engineers, who will serve as mentors throughout the challenge.


with Northrop Grumman staff, who will attend all info sessions, as well as the final exposition meeting!




The theme for this semester’s student challenge is Innovation Hacks.  Students will select between two challenges: 

  • Drone Detection Challenge: create/retrain an image recognition neural network to detect and classify small UAVs (drones) within an image


  • Quality Control Challenge: create/retrain an image recognition model to detect and classify defective parts observed during the manufacturing process

Students will design a conceptual model or system architecture diagram to describe how their application functions and submit an 8-10-minute PowerPoint presentation describing the application, its function and how it was produced.

Challenge Overview

  • The challenge is open to all undergraduate UMD students
  • Teams of up to 4 participants may apply.  Individual applicants will be randomly paired together.
  • No prior experience is required to enter the challenge!

Presentations will be reviewed by a panel of UMD professors and senior Northrop Grumman employees.
To learn more, attend the Information Session on October 9th:

Meeting Link:

Apply to Challenge

Challenge Dates

For online events, links to attend will be sent to registrants.

Monday, October 9, 2023 - 5:00 p.m.: Online Information Session via Zoom 

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 (11:59 p.m.): Applications are due. Please submit only one application per team. Teams of 2-4 can apply. For single applicants, Northrop Grumman will do their best to pair you with other students that do not have a team. APPLY ONLINE!

Monday, October 23, 2023: In-person Kick-off Event (Iribe Building, Room 1116)

October 23, 2023 to November 2, 2023: Teams work on proposals

Expo/Showcase Day:  November 3, 2023 (Virtual)

*Please note this schedule is tentative and some of the dates/rooms may change.