Media exec and Newhouse alum Mindy Stockfield joins Sean Branagan, Thursday, April 9 at 4 p.m. for a digital media tech talk

headshot of media executive

Newhouse alum Mindy Stockfield will join Sean Branagan for this week’s “Digital Tech Talk” as part of his LaunchPad office hour, Thursday, April 9 at 4 p.m. via Google Hangouts Meet.  Stockfield is a senior executive and educator with expertise in digital media, branding, business strategy and marketing, specializing in media, television, book publishing and children’s products.  A member of the Newhouse School of Public Communications Advisory Council, she was most recently Senior Vice President, Marketing, Creative, & Digital for Scholastic, as well as Senior Vice President, MTV Networks, Viacom, Vice President, Marketing and Digital for HYPERION/Disney-ABC Television Group, and Senior Director of Marketing for CARTOON NETWORK / Turner Entertainment WarnerMedia.

She was awarded an Emmy for Outstanding Interactive Media Programming for Disney Channel Games as a result of utilizing new video technologies for the web. She created media models based on data-analytics to impact awareness and viewership for MTV, developed and orchestrated the inaugural digital launches for top brands including Disney Channel’s video platform online, Disney’s preschool website, Disney’s first online subscription site, , and Scholastic’s first online reading community.

In her senior positions in entertainment and media, she has had a focus on youth media, leading critical launches on both a product side and franchise side for a number of new and culture-defining initiatives.

These A-list brands include:

  • Harry Potter, Dog Man, The Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, Wings of Fire, Clifford, and Magic School Bus
  • MTV’s VMAs
  • Disney’s High School Musical, Hannah Montana, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse
  • Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans, and Star Wars Clone Wars
  • Top authors and talent including Mitch Albom, Caroline Kennedy, Maria Shriver, Michael J. Fox, and Jamie Oliver

Link for the videoconference:

Meeting URL:

Innovation in challenging times: Wednesday, April 8 at 3 p.m.

photo of a man smiling

Many case studies have been written about iconic companies that started during a downtown.  That’s because difficulty necessitates ingenuity.  Companies like 3M, Adobe Systems, Apple, CNN, Disney, FedEx, General Electric, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, Lotus Software, Microsoft, and Southwest Airlines all started in down times – as well as more recent examples such as Aibnb, Slack, Square, Uber, Urban Outfitters, Venmo, WhatsApp and Whole Foods.  Grit, tenacity and focus are more likely to lead to success then just passion.  Entrepreneurs are made, not born, and hard times is often what forges them.  They are people who target a problem and leverage resources to solve it.  They are good at generating ideas and strategically executing on them.  They observe trends, recognize economic and social forces, foresee technological advances, and scan the horizon to find both gaps and opportunities. 

The next speaker in our “Tea Talk” series, in partnership with the Republic of Tea, will be discussing the wave of innovation he expects to see unleashed over the next decade, driven in part by the collective experience of COVID-19 and its profound disruption to every aspect of our life. Founder, tech entrepreneur and investor  Corey Lieblein ’93 will join us Wednesday April 8 at 3 p.m. via Zoom for a virtual fireside chat about the way this unprecedented period may fundamentally change what we think about home, work, lifestyle, social networks, technology, health and well-being, life and career.  His perspective is that this alignment of profound change across every sector is creating disruption that will produce innovation as significant as the era when the Internet and smart phones fundamentally changed our lives.  His optimism is compelling.  Join us.

Link to the Zoom conversation is in this story:

Photo: Corey Lieblein ’93

COVD-19 Resource Center for startups and small businesses

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It takes a good partner to get through challenges together.  If you’re looking for advice on accessing business assistance through the COVID-19 crisis, visit the COVID-19 Resource Center developed by Pursuit, (formerly the New York Business Development Corporation and affiliates The 504 Company and Excelsior Growth Fund).  One of the largest SBA lenders in the country, Pursuit works with partner banks across the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania region to provide alternative financing for startups and small businesses, ranging from $10,000 to more than $5,500,000.  It is leading the effort to mobilize resources and information around the CARES Act/Paycheck Protection Program, SBA Disaster Funding and other funding options.

Disaster funding options

Loan and grant programs have started to become available for businesses impacted by COVID-19 in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More information on these programs is becoming available on a daily basis.  Please check the COVID-19 Resource Center page frequently for information, as it is being updated daily in real time. Here are the programs that are currently available or in progress:

National disaster funding programs

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) – Businesses in New Jersey, New York, and PA can access loans of up to $2 million at 3.75%. The SBA is now directly accepting applications.

Please note that communications from the SBA on this program will always come from a .gov mail address. The online application for this program is only available here:

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act provides loans, grants and debt relief to businesses.  

Pursuit loan programs:  Pursuit will offer the Paycheck Protection Program. Sign up to be alerted when the program launches.

View a list of Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 Resources

Stephanie McReynolds available for business and entrepreneurship research; new resources available

Picture of Stephanie McReynolds

Stephanie McReynolds, Librarian for Business, Management, and Entrepreneurship at SU Libraries, is available for video or phone consultations about business and entrepreneurship research resources.  She has resumed LaunchPad and Whitman Office Hours virtually, with appointments available on her on-line scheduler.

Good sources of on-line research include the Business Information Guide and the Databases A-Z list for Business & Entrepreneurship. Additionally, SU Libraries has recently added two new resources to its online collections that may be of wide interest across departments/schools/colleges on campus — the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Previously, SU Libraries provided online access to all articles that were first published in the print version of these publications, but were not able to provide access to the online content available exclusively via subscriptions to the publishers’ websites.

See below for more information about accessing these new resources:

Wall Street JournalWall Street Journal Guide (includes registration information)

In addition, provides information about resources for faculty and students in order for you to take full advantage of the access provided by Syracuse University.

Note, if you already have an individual subscription to the digital version of the Wall Street Journal, you can cancel your subscription and sign up with your email address to the access now provided by Syracuse University Libraries. To register, follow the steps outlined on the Wall Street Journal Guide (above).

New York Times Digital EditionDigital New York Times Guide (includes registration information)

Note, if you already have an individual subscription to the digital version of the New York Times, you can cancel your subscription and sign up with your email address to the access now provided by Syracuse University Libraries. For registration, follow the steps outlined on the Digital New York Times Guide (above). FYI— New York Times Digital Edition access provided by Syracuse University Libraries does not include crossword puzzles or recipes.

Many publishers and database vendors are offering temporary free access to online collections, either directly to users or via established relationships with certain libraries. SU Libraries has gathered information about the newly available temporarily free resources on the Free or Expanded Online Resources Guide. This guide is continually updated, so check back to see whether new resources have been added. The guide includes pages on eBooks and eJournals, Textbooks, Course Materials, and Streaming Video.

As a reminder, the above resources are in addition to the many online resources SU Libraries continues to offer the Syracuse University community, which are best summarized on the continually updated page:  While Our Doors are Closed, We’re Still Open for Business.

Submitted by Stephanie McReynolds,

Syracuse University student team responds to COVID-19 Challenge

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During these unprecedented times, it is easy to feel discouraged and helpless due to the uncertainty surrounding the global Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic. Remarkably, a group of six Syracuse University friends who met during their freshman years, were able to align their engineering backgrounds to make a difference for people who test positive for COVID-19. Emily Fuchs, ’20, Victoria Bialczak, ’20, Owen Clyne, ’21, Aleks Džodić, ’21, Kathryn Lindgren, ’21 and Seth Reed, ’21, joined forces last Friday to register for the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Design Challenge. The challenge was a global competition and the SU team competed against 231 other teams from more than 20 countries.

It takes an insurmountable amount of maturity, drive and passion to be able to comprehend that although you want to help everyone through this tumultuous time, especially those who have contracted COVID-19, it is impossible to effectively do that.

Džodić explained that while it was disappointing to realize this, “design pathway became clearer because it forced us to be more realistic about our concept,” he said.

In under a week, the super six undergraduate SU School of Engineering and Computer Science students were able to attend virtual lectures led by professionals affiliated with Johns Hopkins, decide on a need statement, based off the existing challenge concepts, come up with an idea, iterate their idea based on feedback from mentors, doctors and people who tested positive for COVID-19 and submit their proposal to the competition. 

Specifically, the group’s idea focuses on the community transmission concept. Adam Goodwin, a mentor to the team assigned by the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Design Challenge Team, guided them to focus on a specific point in the patient pathway. After choosing to focus on post diagnostic care, the team was able to connect with medical personnel from Upstate University Hospital through the Blackstone LaunchPad, and learned that there is no system to record and guide patients on how to take care of themselves after testing positive for COVID-19. Reed describes how their database, COVID-ST, caters to “patients who are at home who have COVID-19.”

“The system regularly records symptoms, creating trends, that empower patients to make informed decisions about when and if they need hospitalization. A lot of people are feeling stressed and anxious because they do not know what to do after they have been tested and there is a lot of confusion on how and what symptoms to track.”       

COVID-ST aims to streamline that process and make their system available for anyone at any point to use Clyne said. The group explained that “hospitals will also benefit from this data by analyzing potential patient admissions. With enough data, hospitals can understand the trends of COVID-19 patients who end up needing hospital care.”

Lindgren is proud of the group’s work. “Many big tech companies have come out with similar systems that focus on pre diagnosis and if patients should go to medical centers to get tested for COVID- 19,” she says.  “COVID-ST focuses on guiding patients how to take note of symptoms after the patient has the understanding that they do not need hospital care yet.”

The team is aware of the impending pressure and importance surrounding COVID-19 research and patient care. Despite the continuous influx of real-time data surrounding the virus, Fuchs, Bialczak, Clyne, Džodić, Lindgren and Reed are committed to doing what they can by willingly adapting and iterating COVID-ST for the needs of medical professionals, starting with the Central New York Community.

The group is thankful to the professors, advisors, friends and medical personnel who have been integral in guiding them through this challenging and vital process of creating COVID-ST.

If you would like to get involved, the team is looking for a web designer and would love to meet you. Reach out to the LaunchPad team at for more information or join the team as it continues to work on COVID-ST.

Story by Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow Emma Tyler Rothman Photo submitted by Seth Reed

Mohammed Ali bridges the coding gap with Urban Coders

young man outside

The importance of coding in today’s tech-based world cannot be denied. We live in an era where business, information, communication and data storage are utterly reliant on systems of software created by lines of code. If we had not realized it before, the COVID-19 epidemic where our work and social contact have continued only because of technical and virtual world we have built has opened our eyes to the importance and power. Coding is a skill that many argue is now as important as reading and writing.

However, not everyone has access to coding education and the ability to gain this valuable skill for themselves.  Although it seems as if the campaigns to get students interested in coding are innumerable; it’s simply not the case that everyone is able to learn coding. In many communities, such as communities of color within cities, there is a reality of a ‘coding gap’ where computer science is not taught and students have no opportunity to learn it.

Mohammed Ali, a sophomore studying information technology, hopes to change that unfortunate reality. “Coding is an essential skill that everyone should know. Learning to code isn’t accessible for individuals in urban communities.”

In order to bridge these coding gaps, an issue that Ali believes is of utmost importance, he started an organization in 2017 called Urban Coders, which is a computer science education platform for students in elementary and middle schools.  In the past, Ali used his free time to volunteer teaching students in classroom coding; and the inequalities he discovered within coding education inspired him to create an organization to increase access. 

Ali taught New York City middle school students after their classes were over and helped them learn how to code. It’s these students he was teaching, Ali said, that are often left without education of important skills such as coding. He understands the value of coding because when he learned to code at a younger age knowing that skill helped him grow professionally and pave the way for his future career.

Urban Coders hopes to reach and educate these students through hosting coding camps in cities. This past winter, the organization partnered with a nonprofit to host a computer science camp in South Bronx over students’ winter break.  This summer, they’re partnering with two nonprofits focused on empowering students of color to host a series of coding camps in New York City.

As he teaches these coding camps, Ali is also planning to expand Urban Coders. For the camps this summer, he’s created an original curriculum to teach from. He’s also looking to expand his team—in the past he has planned and taught all camps but now he’s working to add more teachers to his team so he can focus on outreach and managing his organization.  He’s passionate about his mission of increasing computer science education and helping students. Not only has Urban Coders contributed social change and positively impacted students’ lives, but it has also grown immensely. Originally it started out as Ali’s idea for a way to help students’ lives, but due to his hard work it has since grown into a successful company that Is part of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at SU Libraries.

Especially now that we are, even temporarily, living lifestyles that are have almost wholly turned virtual; the necessity of educating our future generation to understand, maintain, and help create these technologies is paramount. Coding is the language our world today is built upon, and students should have access to learning that language. Organizations such as Ali’s Urban Coders are playing an essential role in educating the next generation and creating a progress-oriented world.

Story by Claire Howard, Blackstone LaunchPad Global Media Fellow Photo supplied

How to hack your network to hire and get hired

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When you’re working remotely, you still need to build a team. Maybe you want to form one. Maybe you want to join one. In either case, the trick is to hack your network to find hidden talent or to be discovered. Our friends at Techstars have some useful tips on everything from recruiting and hiring, to finding hidden talent, structuring compensation, advice for non-tech founders on how to find tech team members, setting up employees for success, and building great people operations. Whether you’re looking to hire, or be hired, you can’t go wrong checking out this People and Culture Toolkit to make a great match.

Free tools to get you through

study materials on a laptop

The LaunchPad team has crowdsourced a number of free resources to get you through this stay at home – work at home – study at home stretch. Many of these are completely free, while others are a freemium model that only kicks in when you scale and hit significant volume. You’ll find tools that can help you with finance and accounting, cloud storage, communications and conferencing, design, e-commerce, digital marketing and sales, project management, funding and more. Discover them at

Here’s a round-up:

Free tools for startups

Compilation of COVID-19 resources

Getting started on your startup

Reading list of great books

Resource guide of campus, local, state and national resources for Syracuse University startups also recently posted an article with 110 tools to get your through the Coronavirus: It’s a simple, organized list of free product and service offerings from all types of companies. Access to these powerful tools can help organizations, teams and families.

You’re welcome!

Looking for a job? Build a career in the startup world.

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Getting ready for graduation?  Actively looking for a career, but don’t want to give up the startup life?  Here’s a great solution.  More than 1,750 Techstars ventures currently have over 3,000 job openings at amazing, dynamic companies you’ll love to work for.  These are all businesses that have gone through acclaimed Techstars accelerator programs around the world, and are now hiring and scaling.  They are looking for varied skills, as well as a startup mindset.  That could be you.  Leverage your personal experience as part of the Syracuse University innovation ecosystem with the power of the Techstars network to build a career by exploring:  To get started, simply share your professional and personal aspirations to get discovered by any company in the network, with opportunities relevant to your career goals.  Here is the link to get discovered:

Techstars also has career openings so check out job openings at Techstars, as well as openings with portfolio companies.  Be part of a team of dreamers and doers.

The Techstars culture is that work is more than just a job. It’s a chance to share your passions with like-minded collaborators around the world.  Techstars team members give first, while creatively solving the world’s biggest problems.

Does that sound like you?  Start exploring now.

Two LaunchPad students named University Scholars

Nick Barba, Whitman
Serena Omo Lamai, Engineering and Computer Science

We are so proud that two LaunchPad entrepreneurs are among the 12 seniors who have been named as the 2020 Syracuse University Scholars, the highest undergraduate honor the University bestows. They were selected by a campus wide faculty committee based on standards that included academic achievement, independent research and creative work, intellectual growth, innovation in their dsciplinary field, a personal statement, and recommendations.

Nicholas Barba, Whitman, and Serena Omo-Lamai, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Renée Crown University Honors Program, were among the 12 students named Syracuse University Scholars this year.

Barba has been a Blackstone LaunchPad Global Fellow for several years, and is founder of Satellite as well as co-founder of Smarta — two student startups. Satellite is a hyper-local mobile and web application that empowers people to develop stronger and healthier relationships with their core group of family, friends and colleagues. Smarta is a home appliance company that manufactures devices based on automations, privacy and security. He has coached and mentored many Syracuse student innovators, and leads the LaunchPad’s outreach and communications programming, including the design and publication of the weekly e-newsletter, which he also contributes to through blog posts and web updates. He is the creator of a highly innovative LaunchPad badge system that tracks the progress of ventures and individual student entrepreneurs. Over the past several years he has been instrumental to the development of LaunchPad programming and has greatly contributed to its success across campus.

Omo Lamai was the co-founder of FibreFree, initially created through Invent@SU and then developed further with the LaunchPad. She and co-founder Charles Keppler won several campus business plan competitions including the Impact Prize and iPrize, and went on to the New York Business Plan Competition where they also won honors in the energy and environment category for their invention which captures microfibers in the laundry cycle and reduces discharge into aquifers, oceans and the atmosphere. Along with Keppler, she was a global finalist in the Dyson Innovation competition.

The 2020 Syracuse University Scholars are:

  • Alexander Aguirre, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Nicholas Barba, Whitman School;
  • Adam Bayer, School of Information Studies, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Margaret Garber, College of Arts and Sciences;
  • Lara Hicks, College of Arts and Sciences, Maxwell School, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Natasha Liston-Beck, School of Architecture, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Bethany Murphy, College of Engineering and Computer Science;
  • Serena Omo-Lamai, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Natalia Rice, College of Arts and Sciences, Maxwell School, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Nicole Stallings-Blanche, College of Visual and Performing Arts, Renée Crown University Honors Program;
  • Morgan Trau, Newhouse School; and
  • Tyler Youngman, School of Information Studies, Renée Crown University Honors Program.

Congratulations to all on this honor.