Twenty-two students and alumni have been selected for SummerStart, the first ever summer accelerator program at the LaunchPad. The virtual program launches June 15 and culminates in an Innovation Showcase the week of July 27. Some of those accepted are at the idea stage, some are looking to join teams, some are looking for team members, and some are well advanced as ventures. The program is self-paced with mentors assigned to each student, regular one-on-one coaching sessions, and opportunities to hear from famous entrepreneurs, industry experts and investors.
Individuals selected for the program include: Alec O’del; Aley O’Mara; Amit Chandramouly; Anthony Obas; Calvin Atieku; Chizoba Anyaoha; Connor Johnson; Gabriela Holliman-Lopez; Hanna Seraji; Joshua Cohen; Justin Diaz; Manvi Upadhyay; Marin Grillo; Miles Feldstein; Nancy Wang; Nicolas Misita; Priyank Jethva; Shawn Gaetano; Sheldon Stoney; Sonia Hui Ting Wee; Timothy Tin You Li; and Zheng Xiong.
The diverse students represent a wide variety of perspectives. Four students are currently working in the LaunchPad on ventures, and 17 are students coming to the program with new ideas. They come from across campus, with representation from Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Computer Science, Information Studies (iSchool), Maxwell, Newhouse, Visual and Performing Arts (VPA) and Whitman. Two are PhD candidates and two are graduate students. Three are alumni.
“As many students lost opportunities for summer employment because of the pandemic, this is a great time to double down on building entrepreneurial skills and exploring innovation,” said LaunchPad executive director Linda Hartsock. “There is no better time than summer to do some blue-sky thinking, which is an approach to creativity without limits, to create innovative solutions. Working independently and together, we’ll be using a deep ocean ecosystem model – a community that shares a common habitat, but with great diversity. This summer is when the sky meets the ocean at the LaunchPad.”
To assist them, a team of LaunchPad Global Fellows and the Rubin Family Innovation Mentors have been working with LaunchPad alumni who are members of the Founders Circle to build a peer mentor network. The Founders Circle is a group of active, dedicated LaunchPad alumni who significantly contributed to the development of the program. They are trailblazers, role models, and thought leaders, and are looking forward to being mentors for our Summer Start entrepreneurs.