Blackstone LaunchPad invites applications to become a Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar

Hunter Brooks Watson in a winter scene

The Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University Libraries seeks applicants for the role of a Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar.

The role is funded through a generous gift to Syracuse University Libraries from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund.  It is a paid student position reporting to the Executive Director of the Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University.

Selection of the Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar is made by a steering committee managed by Syracuse University Libraries with input from the  Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund and the Blackstone LaunchPad.

The appointment is for an academic year and shonor the life, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson, a Syracuse student at the iSchool who tragically lost his life as a passenger in an automobile accident in 2016. Hunter demonstrated a strong gift and enthusiasm in music, computer technology, performance art and entrepreneurship.

Blackstone LaunchPad overview: 

The Blackstone LaunchPad, part of SU Libraries, is a campus-based experiential entrepreneurship program open to students, alumni, staff and faculty, offering ideation, coaching and venture creation support. Funded through the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and Syracuse University, it is located in the “glass cube” on the main level of Bird Library.  The Blackstone LaunchPad collaborates with Syracuse University’s rich array of entrepreneurship initiatives and resource providers, and connects them to a national network providing support for aspiring entrepreneurs.

The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will be part of the Blackstone LaunchPad program, which features:

  • Campus-wide accessibility, open to all students, regardless of major, that enhances the university’s robust ecosystem of entrepreneurial resources, programs and activities;
  • One-on-one mentoring that cultivates entrepreneurial thinking and problem solving across many disciplines, assisting all stages, from startup to acceleration. The program supports for-profit and non-profit/social enterprise venture development;
  • Interdisciplinary team-building that fosters an innovative team approach to ideation, and fosters the development of collaborative creative communities;
  • Connections to university resources, venture leaders and successful entrepreneurs to expand networks, and find partners;
  • Campus challenge events that provide opportunities for students from across the network to connect and innovate, and win seed funding for their ideas.

Description and duties:

The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar is inspired by, Syracuse University’s Remembrance Scholar program to honor the spirit and lives of those lost in the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster.  Syracuse University Libraries is a key partner in implementing that program, housing archives that include photographs, recordings, and personal memorabilia of the 35 students who were lost in that tragedy.  From that program has sprung a beautiful relationship that has changed lives in many ways.  Beyond being a way to honor the spirit and memory of an exceptional student, it “ennobles risk takers and leaders, to go forward to futures of limitless possibility, just as those we lost would have done had they the chance.”  The scholarship is “in memory and in hope to those who were and those who will be.”

  • The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will work with the LaunchPad and its academic partners across campus to develop a pipeline of student applicants for the annual HBW Foundation Awards.
  • The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will help peer mentor student teams who are applying for HBW Foundation Awards.
  • The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will work with the LaunchPad and its academic partners across campus to help implement the HBW Spirit of Entrepreneurship Award program, an annual competition held in conjunction with the RvD iPrize.
  • The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will develop a student committee to help with the awards programs, help implement the award competition, and provide follow-on peer mentoring to students who are HBW award recipients at Syracuse University.
  • The Hunter Brooks Watson Scholar will help produce one annual short video that profiles Syracuse University HBW Foundation Award winners and HBW Spirt of Entrepreneurship Awards. The scholar will also write a news story recap of both programs, profiling Syracuse University award recipients.  The scholar may also assist with promotional writing, photography and videography to profile students engaged in entrepreneurship across campus, and produce digital content.


Applicants must be passionate about innovation and entrepreneurship, and venture development.  Successful candidates will be self-starters and team oriented, enthusiastic, and have experience building highly engaged communities. Applicants must have compelling organizational skills, and very strong written and verbal communications skills.  Experience in program development, and building communication networks and team structures is highly desirable. Applicants must have a keen interest in learning what it means to be an entrepreneur in the modern world, and helping others on their entrepreneurial journey. Successful candidates will also possess a strong sense of cultural literacy and exposure to global trends and markets, given the large number of international students that are part of the program.  Candidates will be attuned to inclusive entrepreneurship, and be able to work across disciplines as well as across cultures.

Hours Per Week:

The ideal candidate will be available to work 10 hours per week.  Hours are flexible and can be tailored to fit the successful applicant.

To Apply:

Send a CV and cover letter by September 20 explaining both your interest in the position and how it aligns with your educational, personal and career goals to:


Linda Dickerson Hartsock, Executive Director, Blackstone LaunchPad at Syracuse University,