Guest post by Tyler Bryson, general manager Southwest District 

This year's Imagine Cup student technology competition is heating up! More than 70,000 students in the U.S. created innovative, tech-based solutions to solve global problems while learning valuable skills to prepare them as future IT leaders. We have such tremendously talented young competitors located right here in our own Southern California backyard; here are a few examples of local students who are enabling the next wave of world innovation:

Team LifeLens is a team built on nationwide partnerships, consisting of students from University of California Los Angeles Anderson School of Management, Harvard School of Business, University of California Davis and University of Central Florida. These dynamic young individuals have created an innovative point-of-care smartphone application to address child mortality rates caused by the lack of detection and availability of treatment for malaria. This software design aims to deliver an accurate diagnosis of malaria in the field.

Team Inspiration, made up of University of California Riverside students was inspired to create a game design based on the ocean environment and increase in worldwide pollution. Team Inspiration took the word "inspiration" to heart by developing a project focused on environmental sustainability, where the player must prevent trash from entering the ocean to protect fish. The team hopes to bring about awareness of recycling initiatives while having fun and using their knowledge of technology tools like Windows Mobile.

These teams have a chance to win the U.S. Finals and go on to the Worldwide Imagine Cup Finals, held in New York in July. I am truly inspired by all of the imaginative projects that the teams have created and wish them the best of luck in the next round!

Read more about these teams and the rest of the U.S. Finalists on Facebook. Remember to vote for your favorite team in the People's Choice Awards - voting closes tomorrow, April 9, and every vote counts!