The University of New Mexico’s Innovation Academy has partnered with Dion’s to kick off the “Keep It Cool” Challenge. The challenge will provide possible ways to ship Dion’s ranch across the country — it starts Sept. 20 at 3 p.m. in the Lobo Rainforest Collaboration Space.

According to a press release Dion’s sent to the Daily Lobo, the challenge invites students to develop a safe, dependable and cost efficient method that will allow Dion’s to ship its ranch dressing anywhere in the continental U.S.

Laura Rasmussen, content specialist for Dion’s, said the company hopes the challenge will provide them with the technology needed to meet customer demand.

“Everyday, customers ask to have Dion’s dressing shipped to them,” Rasmussen said. “Unfortunately, we have not been able to meet the demand because we have not found a reasonable or cost-effective way to ship it. In our experiments, the dressing has arrived frozen or warm and has cost upwards of $90 to ship.”

This event will give students an overview of the challenge, as well as access to the materials they will need to create their prototypes. Students who choose to participate will be required to submit their research by Oct. 2, and will then present their prototypes in the Student Union Building on Oct. 11.

Students can participate in the challenge individually or in teams, and will receive mentorship from NanoPore, a local company that has created technology to ship vaccines internationally.

The winner of the challenge will receive a $1,000 cash prize and Dion’s for a year. Finalists will receive a $100 Dion’s gift card.

Mikhaela Smith is a news reporter at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @MikhaelaSmith18.