Jack Ramza – a senior studying accounting and advertising in the Martin J. Whitman School of Management and S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications – has been selected as the Syracuse University Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar for the 2021 – 2022 academic year.
Inspired by Syracuse University’s Remembrance Scholar program, of which Ramza is a part of, the role is funded by the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund to honor the life of Hunter Brooks Watson – a Syracuse University student majoring in Information Management and Technology in the iSchool who died tragically in 2016 in a distracted driving car accident.
In addition to raising awareness on the dangers of distracted driving among young people across the country, Hunter’s Fund provides grants each year to young people interested in areas related to Hunter’s passions – the performing arts, music, computer science, and entrepreneurship.
The LaunchPad coordinates the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar program and the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards for Syracuse University.
In the fall of 2018, Ramza was first introduced to the LaunchPad and entrepreneurship through the Hult Prize – a global competition challenging students to tackle social issues through entrepreneurship. Along with three team members, Ramza was invited to the regional competition in San Francisco where he pitched an idea of right-sized markets supplied by urban farming systems to combat high obesity rates and food deserts.
It was through this opportunity where Ramza became interested in community engagement and entrepreneurship. “In a world where resources have become increasingly more inaccessible, cultivating an attitude of entrepreneurship can connect peoples’ motivation to make money with improving the lives of those within their local communities.”
Ramza’s experiences with community engagement and social impact continued through his involvement with OrangeSeeds – a first-year leadership empowerment program dedicated to service, leadership, and professional development.
In 2019, he served on the Executive Board as the Community Relations Chair in which he planned weekly service projects that concluded with meaningful group reflections. This role eventually led him to serving as the Co-Director last year.
In January of 2020, Ramza received the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Unsung Hero Award for his work with OrangeSeeds. The largest celebration of its kind on a college campus, this award is given annually to five community members, students, or faculty and staff who have carried on the spirit of Dr. King by making an impact on others but have not received significant recognition.
Additionally, Ramza was recently asked to join the Civic and Global Responsibility community of practice. Assembled by the Senate Ad Hoc Committee on Shared Competencies, this group has been charged with the task of developing an implementation plan for the Civic and Global Responsibility competency. In collaboration with fellow students, faculty and staff, and community partners, Ramza is helping to formulate the best ways to both communicate the importance of this competency to the learning experiences of students and to integrate it into the teaching practices of the faculty and staff.
As the Syracuse University Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar, Ramza will be helping to organize the Hunter Brooks Watson Spirit of Entrepreneurship Awards at Syracuse University, an annual spring competition that is part of the Raymond von Dran iPrize competition.
Made possible through the generous support of the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund, four awards of $2,500 each are presented to Syracuse University students who best demonstrate: passion and spirit; intrinsic drive; level of cooperation and candor between the team members; innovative idea; clear plan as to the continuation of the venture; proficiency and personality that exemplifies charisma and competence.
Along with the competition, Ramza will be working with the LaunchPad to mentor and assist fellow students who are in the process of developing their own ideas for ventures or preparing for awards programs and competitions.
Ramza is humbled to be this year’s Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar and is excited to get to work. “I am honored to be carrying on Hunter’s passionate and entrepreneurial spirit by working with other inspiring and curious go-getters to make a positive societal impact.”