Meet the 2021-2022 LaunchPad student team

group of students in front of the LaunchPad in Bird Library
Some of this year’s new LaunchPad student team gather in front of the LaunchPad. This year’s team is bigger than ever, thanks to generous support by donors to SU Libraries. They are subject matter experts, mentors and outreach and engagement specialists.

Welcome to an exciting year of innovation brought to you by a dynamic new Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University team.  Thanks to generous donor gifts to SU Libraries, this year’s student team has been expanded to 28 paid roles as mentors, subject matter experts, outreach and engagement specialists, and ambassadors for diversity and inclusion.  Meet the new 2021 – 2022 student team here.

This year’s team includes Global Fellows, Blackstone LaunchPad Community Managers, Rubin Family Innovation Mentors, Launchstars, Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars, a Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar, a Hult Prize Campus Ambassador, an Innovator in Residence, and Zaccai Foundation Fellows.

LaunchPad Global Fellows are subject matter experts in various disciplines such as engineering, software and data management, industrial and interaction design and product development, graphic design, web design, UX-UI, all forms of digital media and content development, as well as marketing, sales and finance. 

2021 – 2022 LaunchPad Global Fellows include:

  • Alesandra (Sasha) Temerte ’23, Maxwell, economics and Arts and Sciences, writing and rhetoric
  • Jack Lyons ’22, Whitman, marketing management and Newhouse, advertising
  • Matt Keenan ’22, Whitman, marketing management
  • Claire Howard ’23, Maxwell, economics and international relations
  • Selim Dangoor ’23, Engineering and Computer Science, computer science

Blackstone LaunchPad Community Managers work on outreach and engagement through new technology platform initiatives coming soon, such as Startup Tree. 

2021 – 2022 Blackstone LaunchPad Community Managers include:

  • Kelly Davis ’21; Whitman; entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises and Newhouse; television, radio and film
  • Claire Howard ’23, Maxwell, economics and international relations
  • Justin Gluska ’23, Engineering and Computer Science, computer science
  • Michael Young ’22, Whitman double major in finance and real estate

Rubin Family Innovation Mentors serve as peer advisors to a portfolio of student startups, coaching them on strategy and venture development.  They are funded through a generous gift from the Rubin Family Foundation.

2021 – 2022 Rubin Family Innovation Mentors include:

  • Bruno Gonzalez Hauger G ’22, Whitman, entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises, and ’21, Whitman entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises and Newhouse, advertising
  • Kelly Davis ‘21; Whitman; entrepreneurship and emerging enterprises and Newhouse; television, radio and film
  • Ben Ford ’23, Whitman, marketing management and iSchool, data analytics
  • Jackson Ensley ‘22, Whitman, marketing management
  • James LePage ’22, Whitman, real estate and entrepreneurship

Launchstars are multi-talented subject matter experts who will provide “Startup Studio” assistance to student ventures and also help with mentoring

2021 – 2022 Launchstars include:

  • Brandon Henry ’24, Maxwell, economics
  • Diego Luna ’22, Arts and Sciences, biotechnology
  • Fardin Nasir ’23, Whitman, marketing management
  • Andrew Kim, ’24, Whitman, marketing management and finance
  • Alexandra Santangelo, ’23, VPA, industrial and interaction design
  • Josh Alter, ’22, Whitman, finance

Todd B. Rubin Diversity and Inclusion Scholars, also funded through a generous gift from Todd B. Rubin ’04, Architecture, work to broaden diversity and inclusion outreach and programming, expand participation in entrepreneurship by underrepresented groups and support the University’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

2021 – 2022 Todd R. Rubin Innovation and Diversity Scholars include:

  • Ze Zing ’22, Whitman, finance and business analytics
  • Natalie Lui ’22, Visual and Performing Arts, fashion design and history

Hunter Brooks Watson Scholars are supported through a generous gift from the Hunter Watson Memorial Fund.  It is Inspired by Syracuse University’s Remembrance Scholar program, and was established as a way to honor the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson, a Syracuse University student who passed away after injuries suffered in a tragic 2016 distracted driving car accident. The Syracuse University Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar peer mentors students and builds the pipeline of innovative students who exemplify the “spirit of entrepreneurship.”

The 2021 – 2022 Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar is:

  • John Ramza ’23, Whitman, business analytics

The Syracuse University Hult Prize Campus Ambassador helps organize the campus Hult Prize competition at Syracuse University.  It is part of a global competition that is often referred to as the “Nobel Prize” of student impact entrepreneurship.

The 2020 – 2021 Syracuse University Hult Prize Campus Ambassador is:

  • Claire Howard ’23, Maxwell, economics and international relations

Innovator in Residence is a talented visiting entrepreneur who is incubating in the LaunchPad while providing technical assistance and mentoring to LaunchPad student ventures.

The 2021 – 2022 Innovator in Residence is:

  • Paul Hultgren, serial entrepreneur co-founder and lead software developer of Popcycle, ModoSuite and Patchwork

Zaccai Foundation Fellows are interdisciplinary subject matter experts and peer mentors supporting the Intelligence ++ inclusive design and entrepreneurship program in partnership with InclusiveU and the VPA School of Design

2021 – 2022 Zaccai Foundation Fellows include:

  • Season Chowdhury ’23, Engineering and Computer Science, computer science
  • Sydney Grosso ’23, Falk, public health and Maxwell, policy studies
  • Carlos Magdaleno ’23, Newhouse, advertising
  • Samba Soumare ’24, Maxwell, international relations
  • Songyn Shi, G’22, architecture

Together, the LaunchPad team provides multi-disciplinary skill sets and expansive services to help all members of the Syracuse University community explore innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship, and build professional and personal skill sets to succeed.

“The Libraries is grateful to Todd for his continued support for Syracuse University’s innovation hub and encouraging diversity and inclusion,” said David Seaman, Dean of Syracuse University Libraries and University Librarian.  “The LaunchPad is an incubation environment for students from 116 countries around the world to grow and flourish. It provides experiential opportunities for innovative students to interact with a variety of people from different backgrounds, with different interests, from all the academic disciplines across campus. This type of learning significantly compliments what they learn in a classroom, helping them understand how to become thoughtful and engaged citizens and change-makers.”

Story by Sasha Temerte ’23; photo by LaunchPad staff