Will you be at SXSW EDU next week? Nathan Elequin, G’18 (School of Education) will be. He was selected as one of four national winners of the Blackstone Entrepreneurship Initiative (@BlackstoneEI) #WeAreEntrepreneurs campus challenge, joining Blackstone Launch Pad – Techstars at SXSW EDU, from March 5 – 7 in Austin, Texas.
Elequin is completing a master’s degree in the field of instructional design, development, and evaluation (IDD&E), and is a graduate research assistant for Syracuse University Project Advance. He is also a student entrepreneur — the founder of Starfruit, a EdTech startup that makes learning more enjoyable teachers and learners. He is working with the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University’s Bird Library to help launch his venture, and is competing in several business plan competitions this semester.
The opportunity to attend SXSW EDU is a perfect alignment of the stars for Elequin, who is exploring the intersection between software engineering and pedagogy within higher education. “My dream is to use these skills to generate software, offer consulting services, and develop workshops that will help teachers do incredible work motivating and inspiring their students.”
“Through my study and research in behavioral economics and interdisciplinary education, I have discovered that one of the greatest pathways for shifting the culture of education lies in the work of game designers and the field of gamification.” Using gamification and technology tools like Google Classroom, his goal is “to use software engineering and the art of entrepreneurial development to manifest those discoveries in ways that can scale and sustain the growth of a more dynamic and innovative future in education.”
He plans to launch Starfruit in Austin after graduation, so he sees this as the perfect opportunity to network with educational leaders who could be potential strategic partners.
SXSW EDU begins Monday, March 5. It’s one of the most forward-thinking, compelling conferences on education anywhere in the world. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation is one of the event sponsors this year for four days of sessions, mentorship opportunities, workshops, screenings, discussions, and exhibitions.
Elequin will be part of BlackstoneEI sponsored activities at SXSW EDU that will include:
- Alisha Slye, Global Director of Blackstone LaunchPad, will be hosting a discussion with John Hill, the VP of Network at Techstars. The session, From Dorm Room to Board Room, will focus on best practices for supporting and scaling experiential education programs to help students create their own opportunities, build strong networks, and create impact that benefits their home institution and the wider community.
- The Blackstone Charitable Foundation will have a booth set up at the Innovation Hub in the Hilton for the second and third days of SXSW EDU. In addition to some exciting opportunities for student entrepreneurs, there will be a #WeAreEntrepreneurs photo booth.
- The Blackstone LaunchPad Entrepreneurial Initiative will be hosting a reception to celebrate Blackstone LaunchPad and student entrepreneurship in Texas.
SXSW EDU will also be an opportunity for the Blackstone LaunchPad global network to meet the #WeAreEntrepreneurs contest winners — student entrepreneurs from around the country who were invited to join the Blackstone-Techstars team in Austin next week.
Over the last several weeks, @BlackstoneEI asked students to share their entrepreneurship stories. The student stories were all outstanding, but Blackstone was only able to select four winning submissions.
The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University is thrilled that Nathan Elequin is one of them. Here is Nathan’s winning tweet below.
Nathan Elequin, Syracuse