Season Chowdhury ’23 worked into the early morning for five days during his sophomore year of high school to finish a website he was building for a mock client. The site was for a made-up juice company and Chowdhury wanted it to be the best in a competition run by America on Tech, a technology career pathway company founded by two Syracuse University alumni.
“In my mind it’s like a mission,” said Chowdhury, now a sophomore Engineering and Computer Science major. “It was the first time I really found my interest in computer science.”
He ended up winning third place in that competition. Four year later, he is bringing his skills to the Blackstone LaunchPad and Techstars at Syracuse University as an Orange Ambassador. This academic year he will work to support outreach and engagement with entrepreneurial students across campus. Eleven Orange Ambassador positions were funded for the 2020 – 2021 year through a generous contribution to SU Libraries by Todd R. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea.
Chowdbury was first introduced to the LaunchPad through a LinkedIn post. This March, he and a few friends had an idea about a tech startup focused on sports recruiting so they reached out to an advisor in the College of Engineering and Computer Science in July. The advisor put out a post looking for resources on LinkedIn, where someone recommended the LaunchPad. After a pitch to Linda Hartsock at the LaunchPad, the team was filled with energy.
“She really liked our idea,” said Chowdhury. “That gave us a big confidence boost.” Since then, Chowdhury and his team have been busy working to develop their application, recruit a team, perform research, and even learn new coding languages.
They have accessed the pool of talent and expertise in the LaunchPad by reaching out to other students who have founded their own companies like Patrick Prioletti, a Rubin Family Innovation Mentor. These mentors serve as peer advisors to a portfolio of student startups, coaching them on strategy and venture development. Chowdhury said that Prioletti helped them with databases and provided new contacts. With each meeting, Chowdhury says his support system gets bigger and bigger.
“I feel like it’s the most powerful thing in the world, networking,” he said.
He hopes to continue that process of getting to know people and improving his database skills in his role as an Orange Ambassador this academic year.
When he thinks back to that first project for the juice company, Chowdhury remembers it as his favorite project. But, if he could go back, he says he would have worked to use the resources available to him in his network. Chowdhury said that one of his early mentors and co-founder of American on Tech, Evin Robinson, used to say, “Your network is your net worth.”
Chowdhury said he only recently realized how true that is.
Story by Patrick Linehan ‘21, LaunchPad Global Fellow; photo supplied by Season Chowdhury.