Office Hours with Business Librarian Steph McReynolds in the LaunchPad

Interested in business research databases for your business idea, project, or paper? Starting September 13, 2023, drop by the LaunchPad in Bird Library on Wednesdays from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm to meet with Librarian for Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship, Steph McReynolds. Students, staff, and faculty are welcome to stop by and ask questions or just say “Hello!” Drop-in office hours will be held September 8 throughout Spring 2024.

Karla Lellis offers data privacy office hours in the LaunchPad

The Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad is pleased to welcome Karla Lellis ’25, Doctor of Judicial Science (S.J.D) at the College of Law, as an Innovator-in-Residence. Karla will offer seven office hours on Fridays starting September 8 through December 1, 2023 at 1 p.m. in the LaunchPad in Bird Library.

Data Privacy Office Hours Schedule

  • September 8, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • September 22, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • October 6, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • October 20, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • October 27, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • November 17, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  • December 1, 2023, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm

Karla has been an active member of the LaunchPad. Her office hours will provide startups with a foundational understanding of data protection principles, regulations, and best practices for small and medium-sized companies (SBS). in New York.

Karla Lellis is a Brazilian lawyer and professor specializing in Compliance, Data Privacy, and Cybersecurity, with a strong passion for technology. She is dedicated to assisting companies and individuals in implementing effective data protection measures to safeguard their privacy. Her Compliance and Technology Law expertise has guided organizations in meeting regulatory requirements and ensuring ethical practices. As a Data Privacy Advocate, she offers risk management advice on cybersecurity implications.

Her professional philosophy revolves around empowering individuals and organizations to embrace data protection as a fundamental right. As Innovator-in-Residence, she has developed the “DataSafe for Startups” workshop series to bridge the gap between data privacy regulations and emerging businesses, which is focused on equipping startups with the necessary tools to implement comprehensive privacy strategies. Learn more.

“DataSafe for Startups” Schedule

  • Data Protection Policies for Startups on September 25, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. Register here
  • Responding to Data Incidents in Small Business on October 2, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. Register here
  • Data Protection Policies for Startups on October 23, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. Register here
  • Responding to Data Incidents in Small Business on October 30, 2023, from 2:00 p.m. Register here

All students, staff, and faculty are welcome to stop by and ask questions or just say “Hello!”

Applications are now open for Ideas Fest

Do you have a business idea somewhere in your notebook? Have you plotted out a great idea with a friend, but find yourself stuck on what to do next? Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Ideas Fest on Friday, September 15th at 12:00 p.m. in Bird Library could give you a chance to win up to $500 and support you in turning that idea into something bigger. Go to this link to apply before September 13, 2023.

The event will be a 60-second fast pitch fest designed for students who are just testing out first ideas and aren’t yet ready for prime-time business plan competitions.  You don’t need a business plan, or a pitch deck, or a polished pitch.  But you have to be “in it to win it.” 

The format is simple:  What is the problem or opportunity you are working on, and what is your idea?  Refreshments will be served, and fun prizes will be awarded for best idea and audience choice. Each entrant will win a free personal consultation on their idea with the Blackstone LaunchPad in Bird Library. 


  • Applicants must be current students (undergraduate or graduate-level) in the earliest stage of their entrepreneurial journey.
  • Applicants must be the founder or co-founder (i.e., the person with the original idea), and may apply individually or in teams of two.

With a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion, the IdeasFest especially encourages students from underrepresented and under-resourced communities, from all majors offered on campus, and students who represent multiple genders and ethnicities.

The event is being organized by Innovation Mentor, Andrew Kim ’24 (Whitman).  For more info, e-mail:

Fall opportunities at the LaunchPad

four people standing together

We are looking forward to welcoming new and returning members to Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad, located on the first floor of Bird Library, this coming 2023 – 2024 academic year! This fall features a series of events with amazing guest speakers.

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad offers collaborative space, mentorship, programing, and more, all of which is open to all Syracuse University students, alumni, and staff, with more details below.

Collaborative Space
Flexible and accessible space at Bird Library for ideation activities, co-working, team meetings, workshops, classes, training sessions and more.

Personalized coaching from an expansive and diverse network of peers, alumni and subject matter experts who can help you build personal and professional development skills, as well as shape your path to venture creation.

Technical assistance workshops, guest speakers, professional service providers, demonstration days, talent recruitment fairs, networking events, innovation challenges with leading companies, idea festivals, pitch competitions, innovation grant programs and more. View events calendar

Personnel Changes
Welcome Traci Geisler ’90, MBA/JD, the LaunchPad’s new director, who joined in March 2023. Traci has 25+ years of business and legal experience with expertise in assisting start-ups and entrepreneurs with venture development.

About Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad

The Blackstone LaunchPad connects Syracuse University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network. We provide technical assistance, programming and personalized mentoring within a supportive community for aspiring creators, inventors and entrepreneurs. The LaunchPad serves faculty, staff, students and recent alumni from every academic discipline interested in research and discovery, building innovation career pathways and learning principles of venture creation. The multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural program inspires and empowers future global innovation leaders who want to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.

Take your innovation from the lab to the marketplace at NSF I-Corps Course

Registration is now open for the National Science Foundation I-Corps Innovation Course hosted by Syracuse University. Apply here

Join this free virtual course from September 18 through October 18, 2023, for STEM researchers and early-stage startups to learn how to commercialize research and develop entrepreneurial skills.

Three reasons to participate!

· Benefit from this no-cost virtual course taught by NSF certified instructors that combines self-directed activities, class meetings and personalized assistance that will help develop your roadmap.

· Learn tools and techniques to refine your market fit, validate the best path forward, and help you better understand your commercialization value through customer discovery.

· Position yourself for competitive government research grants, other commercialization funding programs and private investment by building a more compelling case for support.

Presented by Syracuse University as a partner in the Interior Northeast I-Corps Hub program funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Innovation Network. Co-led by Syracuse University Libraries and CASE, with campus partners.

Open to faculty, postdoctoral, graduate and graduate students, as well as tech startups from the regional innovation ecosystem. Apply as a team of one to three with scientific research or a prototype.

Syracuse student students who have gone through similar programs include:

Shawn Gaetano ’20 , co-founder of Solace Vision working in NEXIS lab

Shawn Gaetano ’20 , co-founder of Solace Vision, developed research on extended reality software and hardware as an undergraduate student through the NEXIS Student Technology Lab and SOURCE. He then worked with the LaunchPad to help launch a venture that creates 3D technologies powered by AI and natural language. He went on to graduate from Techstars and is now growing his company in Tulsa, Oklahoma where he is passionate about helping underserved communities.  He continues to be a LaunchPad mentor.

Apply here for the National Science Foundation I-Corps Innovation Course hosted by Syracuse University.

FuzeHub now accepting applications for its 2023 Commercialization Competition

Applications are now open and closes August 10, 2023 (at 4 p.m. EST).  Apply on-line here:

As part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund, FuzeHub will hold a New York State Commercialization Competition on October 16 and 17, 2023 in Saratoga Springs, NY, with an opportunity to win up to $150,000. This competition is intended to help small-to-medium size manufacturing and technology companies strengthen their “go-to-market” strategies as they move from new product/production method to marketplace.

FuzeHub is entering its seventh year hosting the Commercialization Competition, part of the Jeff Lawrence Innovation Fund. The $450,000 Commercialization Competition will feature a pitch competition showcasing innovative early-stage companies, panel discussions and networking opportunities.

Last fall, LaunchPad teams Farm to Flame Energy, Inc., and Envision Biopolymers, LLC, took home top prizes in the 2022 FuzeHub Commercialization Competition with our assistance. SparkCharge and other LaunchPad companies have also won these grants in the previous competitions.

(SparkCharge Founder Josh Aviv ’15, G’17 pictured above, far left).

FuzeHub’s Commercialization Competition was developed to support pre-revenue businesses and to target to a specific phase in a company’s product development. Funds must be used to produce, or improve upon, a working prototype or beta phase to enable the applicant to pursue additional investment and customers, leading to the commercialization of their product concept.

The Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, consisting of $1 million annually for five years, supports a set of activities designed to promote technology development and commercialization across New York State, including Manufacturing Innovation Grants, a Commercialization Competition, challenges, strategic memberships, training programs, and other resources serving small and medium sized manufacturers and companies.

FuzeHub is administering this fund as part of its role as the Empire State Development (ESD)-designated statewide Manufacturing Extension Partnership center. For more information about the Jeff Lawrence Manufacturing Innovation Fund, visit

About Jeff Lawrence

During his more than 20 years at the Center for Economic Growth, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) affiliate in the Capital Region where he served as executive vice president, and MEP Center Director, Jeff Lawrence directed programs of direct assistance to manufacturers and technology companies to increase their competitiveness. He is remembered for being an invaluable and generous mentor to many in the area’s business community and a tireless advocate for manufacturing innovation throughout New York.

Join Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp with the LaunchPad at the University of Texas at Austin, applications due by Friday, May 26

Join the Launchpad at the University of Texas at Austin for an Entrepreneurial Mindset Bootcamp (EMB). It’s a four-week virtual bootcamp (meets once a week) to help undergraduate and advanced students to learn an entrepreneurial approach to work and life.

This bootcamp is for both students wanting to start their own businesses and those wanting to cultivate entrepreneurial skills for the modern workforce. Check out this 3-min video to learn more!

This event is FREE and open to all undergraduate and advanced students at any school in the Blackstone LaunchPad network.


  • Develop your confidence as an entrepreneurial leader
  • Learn tangible skills such as how to approach solving a business problem, pitching, prototyping, etc.
  • Find a community of like-minded students across the United States


  • Undergraduate or advanced student at any university within the Blackstone LaunchPad Network
  • Any major and background
  • Curious and open to learning about entrepreneurship skills
  • Open to collaborating with peers and participating in workshop exercises – this is not a lecture-based experience! 


  • Deadline to Apply: Friday, May 26th, 2023 at 11:55 PM ET
  • Program Dates (Thursdays): July 6, July 13, July 20, July 27
  • Program Time: 3:00 – 4:30 PM ET 
  • Program Location: Virtual 

Learn more here.

Photo credit: LaunchPad at UT Facebook

Motolani Oladitan ‘24 named 2023-2024 Syracuse University Remembrance Scholar

Congratulations to Motolani Oladitan ’24 on being named one of 35 students selected as 2023-24 Syracuse University Remembrance Scholars.  The scholarships, now in their 34th year, were founded as a tribute to—and means of remembering—the students studying in London and Florence through Syracuse University who were killed in the Dec. 21, 1988, bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Those students were among the 270 people who perished in the bombing. The scholarships are a philanthropic gift through an endowment supported by gifts from alumni, friends, parents and corporations.

Significant support for the Remembrance Scholarships has been provided by Jean Thompson ’66 and Syracuse University Life Trustee Richard L. Thompson G’67 in memory of Jean Taylor Phelan Terry ’43 and John F. Phelan, Jean Thompson’s parents; by Board of Trustees Chairman Emeritus Steven Barnes ’82 and Deborah Barnes; by The Syracuse Association of Zeta Psi in memory of Alexander Lowenstein; and by the Fred L. Emerson Foundation.

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Oladitan is an incoming senior majoring in psychology at the College of Arts and Sciences. She recently engaged the LaunchPad for her venture, Ta, a virtual marketplace connecting African beauty and wellness brands with the diaspora, making it easier for consumers to discover and purchase high-quality, authentic African products.

Oladitan first won the Afropreneurship Challenge, then Raymond von Dran iPrize, Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship award, and second place at the campus wide Panasci Business Plan Competition all this year as an undergraduate.

The original story appears here.

Congratulations to Alesandra Temerte ’23 on being named Syracuse University Scholar

Alesandra Temerte ’23 (College of Arts and Sciences) and Chancellor Kent Syverud at the University Scholar Reception on May, 10, 2023

Congratulations to Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow, Alesandra “Sasha” Temerte ’23 on being named one of 12 seniors selected as 2023 Syracuse University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor that the University bestows.  The distinction honors academic achievement, independent research and creative work, intellectual growth and innovation.

Temerte is a double major in economics and writing and rhetoric studies, with minors in Spanish and strategic management. She is a Coronat Scholar, a 2022-23 Remembrance Scholar. 2022-23 Luise and Morton Kaish Fellow, Syracuse Abroad Global Ambassador, member of the Renée Crown Honors Program, and member several university honor societies.

She has been a compassionate and expert student peer mentor throughout her tenure at Syracuse University, working with other students on social impact enterprises. Her work as a peer mentor has been truly exceptional. She put her passion for creating good to work in the LaunchPad as the campus director for the Hult Prize, a global competition that is regarded as the Nobel Prize for student impact entrepreneurship.

In addition to this, Temerte is also an entrepreneur herself. She co-founded Pathway Prep alongside Mauricio Luna ’24. Pathway Prep empowers high school students from foreign countries and immigrant families to apply to U.S. universities through standardized test prep, English tutoring, essay advising, and college matching services.

She has been a powerful voice for multicultural and intersectional issues, as well as for environmental sustainability and social responsibility. She has an incredible passion for impact entrepreneurship as well as important issues around diversity, inclusion, and equity, as well as cultural literacy and competence.

“Sasha is multi-talented, with a maturity that enables her to work at a very advanced professional level. She is an excellent strategic thinker, capable of handling complex challenges that require multi-faceted critical thinking. She inspires, motivates, and teaches, while all the while also maintaining sense of humor and common sense. She excels at all she does, as evidenced by balancing her classroom work, her own entrepreneurial social enterprise, and a commitment to scholarship and service on campus and in the community,” says Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Founder of Syracuse Blackstone LaunchPad and Strategic Advisor at SU Libraries. “She is so deserving of this highest honor, and I look forward to how she will continue to make Syracuse proud as a successful alum and future leader who will be an innovator and change-maker wherever her life journey takes her.”

The other 2023 Syracuse University Scholars are: Chelsea Brown, Dara Drake, Kiersten Edwards, Grace Haas, Adam Klinger, Julianna Mercado, Ruchatneet Printup, Maggie Sardino, Savannah Stocker, Amreeta Verma, and Michaela Walsh. Read the full article here

Congratulations to all!

33 SU graduates join Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad Founders Circle

Founders Circle 2023 members Natasha Brao ’22, G’23 (Whitman) and Kelly Davis ’23 (Whitman)

Syracuse University Blackstone LaunchPad welcomed 33 graduates as new members of the Founders Circle.  They were selected in recognition of launching or leading ventures at Syracuse University while students, as well as significantly contributing to building the Blackstone LaunchPad since it opened in April 2016.  Founders Circle members serve as alumni role models and mentors for future student entrepreneurs who also exemplify a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship.

The Founders Circle Class of 2023 and their ventures include:

  • Jack Adler, 23′ Whitman, Founder of Out2Win
  • Sai Krishna Bolla ’23 School, Founder of Cognition X
  • Raul Chakraborty, ’23 iSchool, Co-Founder of Athletify
  • Season Chowdhury, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, Co-Founder of Athetify
  • Alexandria Cianfarani, ’23 iSchool, Founder of Clubmatch
  • Bailey Davis, ’23 Newhouse and Maxwell, Founder of Zeal
  • Kelly Davis, ’23 Whitman and Newhouse, Founder of Womanly
  • Benjamin Delmarsh, ’22 VPA, Founder of Afterlife AR
  • Adore Amore Ellis, ’23 VPA, Founder of MadebyAdore
  • Benjamin Ford, ’23 iSchool, Founder of FundWurx
  • Justin Gluska, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, Founder of BusPoint and the ChatGPT Promptbook
  • Nicholas Graham, ’23 Law and Whitman, LaunchPad Venture Associate
  • Robert Goldblatt, ’23 Whitman, Founder of Tree-Spun
  • Sydnee Grosso, ’23 Falk and Maxwell, LaunchPad Global Fellow
  • Samuel Holland, ’23 Whitman and Newhouse, Innovator in Residence
  • Claire Howard, ’23 Maxwell, LaunchPad Global Fellow
  • Murray Lebovitz, ’23 Whitman, Founder of Keep Coffee Casual
  • Carlos Magdaleno ’23 Newhouse
  • Zebedayo Masongo, ’23 Law, Founder of Grnwood
  • Jordan Pierre, ’23 Newhouse, Founder of Voice
  • Gabriel Ruoff, ’23 Engineering and Computer Science, CTO of Zorse Cyber, Inc.
  • Alexandra Santangelo, ’23 VPA, Launch Star
  • Maya Tsimmer ’23 Newhouse and Whitman, Founder of Bethel Sweet Honey
  • Zachary Stahl ’23 College of Engineering and Computer Science
  • Connor Tarpey, ’23 iSchool, Founder of Immersive Media
  • Alesandra Temerte, ’23 A&S, Co-Founder of Pathway Prep

Founders Circle Class of 2023 members who stayed on at Syracuse University this past year to pursue graduate degrees include:

  • Natasha Brao ’22 VPA, G’23 Whitman, Founder of Holy Egg and Natasha Lauren Design
  • Noah Mechnig-Giordano ’22, G’23 Whitman and ECS, Founder of Happy Loose-Leaf Tea
  • Vanessa Lora ’18, G’23 Newhouse, Founder of Vanessa Lora Music
  • Aidan Mickleburgh ’22, G’23 Whitman and ECS, Founder of Intervea
  • Kai Patricio ’23 VPA, Founder of Farm Loop, Co-Founder of Remend and Intellegence++
  • Jack Ramza ’22, G’23 Whitman, Rubin Family Innovation Mentor
  • Rabia Razza ’23 VPA, Founder of Remend

The group was inducted by LaunchPad Founder Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Director Traci Geisler, along with Dean of the SU Libraries David Seaman. Syracuse University Libraries honored our 2022-2023 LaunchPad Senior Staff as part of the SU Libraries Family with additional cords to highlight the important work they do.

“Syracuse University has every right to be proud of these innovative, industrious, and successful young women and men as they go out into the world,” said Dean David Seaman.  “The library has provided them a space in which to work, staff expertise, and a rigorous set of programming to help develop their ideas, and they have created a community of innovation that continues to grow.  We look forward to having them come back to campus as young alumni and staying in touch with us – and each other – through the Founders Circle.”

Dean of SU Libraries David Seaman (left) and Alexandra Cianfarani ’23 iSchool, Founder of Clubmatch (right)

During the program, LaunchPad Global Fellow Claire Howard ’23 (Maxwell) introduced the inaugural Innovator for Change Award in honor of Linda Dickerson Hartsock to recognize one student who have embodied fearlessness and tenacious in their pursuit of change, disruption, or innovation for the greater good. Nominated by peers, join us in congratulating Justin Gulska ’23 (ECS).

“The Class of 2023 Founders Circle joins an elite group of student innovators who have created startup ventures, experiential initiatives, or student organizations. Most have also achieved distinction as academic researchers and scholars.  We are so proud of them and their contributions to building the community that is at the heart of the LaunchPad at SU Libraries and its standing as one of the top performing student innovation hubs in the country.  They have exemplified leadership in every sense of the word and have been equally focused on creating meaningful impact. They are truly global citizens and will continue to be change makers in an entrepreneurial world. They exemplify our value system, and we know that they will continue to pay it forward as mentors to those who follow, inspiring them with their intellect and wisdom, kindness and continued accomplishments,” said Linda Dickerson Hartsock.

Justin Gulska ’23 (left) awarded the inaugural 2023 Innovator for Change Award presented by Claire Howard ’23 (right)

“The LaunchPad during my college years has been a catalyst for creativity, intellectual challenge, and mutually supportive community in my life. Every day I spent in the LaunchPad was a day where I exchanged ideas with brilliant individuals and came away with a sense of fascination for the world around me,” said Claire Howard. “Post-graduation, I’ll be moving to Washington D.C. and working as a Research Analyst for the Department of the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Stability Oversight Council.”

Learn more about the Blackstone LaunchPad and Founders Circle here.