Celebrate Women’s History Month with distinguished SU alumna and author, Dr. Kimberly Townsend

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars is celebrating Women’s History Month with a dynamic, speaker, Dr. Kimberly Townsend, who will share her story, along with lessons from her new book, Lifecircle Leadership: How Exceptional People Make Every Day Extraordinary, on Friday, March 22 at noon in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, Bird Library.

The event is free and open to the entire campus community.

Dr. Townsend is an exceptional SU alumna, with four degrees — a BS in accounting and MBA from the Whitman School of Management, an executive masters of public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, and a JD from the Syracuse University College of Law.  She also holds a EdD from St. John Fisher College.

A prolific speaker and writer whose work has been published in industry journals and business publications, her book was released by Advantage Media Group in Fall, 2018.  In it, she explores how to increase the bottom line, and succeed personally and professionally, while making lives better for the people around us. Lifecircle Leadership is more than a leadership style, according to Dr. Townsend.  It is a philosophy based on how pragmatic altruism can make profound change.

Dr. Townsend worked her way from being a 35-year-old single mother with a high school diploma to President and CEO of a multi-million-dollar company.  She is a role model for anyone who wants to make positive change in the world. Like many women, she juggles the demands of family and the pressures of a full-time job as President & CEO of Loretto, while still finding time to volunteer and better the community.

Her personal story is inspiring.  Growing up in Windham, NH, near Boston, Dr. Townsend went to Boston University for two years before leaving school to marry and have a family. After several years as a stay-at-home mom, she decided it was time to act on her dream. Dr. Townsend went back to school in her early 30s. Her passion for learning led her to earn five degrees. She worked throughout her schooling, supporting her children, sometimes as a single mother. She has since remarried and is now a mother of six and grandmother of three.

Before joining Loretto, Dr. Townsend spent 13 years at Welch Allyn, a medical devices and software company, working her way from Attorney to Associate General Counsel to Senior Director of Government Affairs. Previous work includes positions at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Ernst & Young LLP.  In addition to being an attorney admitted to the New York, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C. Bars, Dr. Townsend is a Certified Public Accountant and is SHRM-certified in Global Professional Human Resources. She was Adjunct Professor at Syracuse University from 2001-2011, and was the recipient of the 2010 President’s Award-Customer First at Welch Allyn, Inc.

Dr. Townsend is passionate about living a purposeful, connected life. She is driven by a deep desire to improve herself personally, her company, and her community, through her philosophy of Lifecircle Leadership and pragmatic altruism. She invites others to reconsider their approach to business and life, and hopes they discover, as she did, that being and doing good is good for business.

Refreshments will be served, and reservations are requested by e-mailing LaunchPad@syr.edu

VPA School of Design Students win Syracuse University ACC InVenture Prize

A group of prominent judges, including investors, technologists, funders, and successful entrepreneurs, selected College of Visual and Performing Arts School of Design students Quinn King (left) and Alec Gillinder (right) as winners of the prestigious ACC InVenture Prize at Syracuse University.  The senior industrial and interaction design students won the award for an invention developed by MedUX, a medical product design and research firm they founded to create innovative solutions for inpatient, at home, and mobile care. Their first invention, a lightweight, wearable, portable IV system will allow patients to receive intravenous treatment quickly and efficiently while still keeping them mobile.  It is very useful in hospital settings, stand-alone infusion centers, and home palliative care where a patient might need intravenous delivery and wants to be mobile.

They initially conceived the concept and first prototype in Invent@SU, where they won first place in summer 2018.  Over this academic year, they further developed the product and business model working with the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries, along with mentors and industry experts.  After being selected “SU’s top innovators” in the campus competition, they will now be competing against student teams from other ACC member institutions, “Shark Tank,” style in the finals of the 4th annual ACC Inventure Prize Competition April 16-17 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

“Medical products are often only designed for function and lack the consideration for the users’ needs,” says King. “The medical field is always evolving, and there is a need for better designed and considered products. Our company is flipping the approach of how to consider medical healthcare design.”

“Healthcare needs to consider patients as customers,” adds Gillinder. “Patients want mobility, more personal control, and health care providers want more innovative solutions.”

The team hopes to put their UX perspective as design students to work designing develop a line of products that are considerate of the user, ergonomics, and effective function.  “We will be delivering products to our target market that help solve user needs,” says King. “Our company will accomplish this through extensive customer discovery with medical staff and patients to understand the problem and devise optimal solutions.”

The team is pursuing milestones that include completing patent work, and seeking strategic partners.  They are already working with top experts and inventors in the medical device field on piloting their concept.  They are also being mentored by other experts, including VPA alumnus Gianfranco Zaccai, co-founder of Continuum, who is a design pioneer who is known for championing a holistic and highly integrated approach to innovation research, design, and development.

The ACC InVenture Prize is coordinated at Syracuse University by the Blackstone LaunchPad.  Last week’s campus competition featured top Syracuse University inventors, including (in alphabetical order):  Alec Gillinder and Quinn King, MedUX; Angelica O’Hare, Prioritage; Brianna Howard and Nikita Chatterjee, Paani; Caleb Obiagwu, SYRE Tech LLC; Daniel McMurray, SWIP; Emma Sargent, C29; Jaclyn Hingre, Halo; Jianqiu Jiang, Watson FitPet; Josh Jackson, Promptous; Matt Shumer, OptechVR; Michael Yacubov, Compress-Aid; Patrick Riolo, Artemis Wand; Peter Mignacca, TowelVAC; and Teodoro Delellis, GiraTech.

Judges included:  Dan Rickman, U.S. Small Business Administration; Danielle Taana Smith, Renee Crown Honors Program; James Capparelli, Gardner and Capparelli CPAs; John Sangardten, M&T Bank; John Spatola, Lake Effect Applications; Lisa Spatola, Lake Effect Applications; Matt Gardner, Gardner and Capparelli CPAs; Ryan York, Pinnacle Investments; Scott Henry, Motion Leap; and Somak Chattopadhyay , Armory Square Ventures.

Prioritage was selected by the judges as the 2019 Syracuse University first alternate.

The MedUX team will be traveling to the championship finals with its Syracuse University coach, Linda Dickerson Hartsock, executive director of the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars.  They will compete against teams from Boston College, Clemson University, Duke University, Georgia Institute of Technology, North Carolina State University, the University of Louisville, the University of Miami, the University of North Carolina, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Virginia, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and Wake Forest University.

During the two rounds of the competition at NC State, judges will evaluate each team on their quality of idea, business model, entrepreneurship and probability of success. The final round will be broadcast live by PBS affiliates along the East Coast. While in Raleigh, student participants will engage in a variety of innovation and startup activities and will present their work following the final competition to audience members, the public and potential investors.

To learn more about the ACC InVenture Prize, visit accinventureprize.com/.

Game Jam coming to Bird Library January 25 – 27, 2019

Do you love games?  Jammers who are interested in video games and streaming, web-based, or iOS / Android games, board games or card games, can compete for free in a worldwide challenge to design innovative game concepts over a food-fueled weekend.  Syracuse University’s Bird Library will host Global Game Jam® (#SUGGJ19), the world’s largest game jam/game creation event, over the weekend of January 25- 27, 2019. University and community members are invited to create and pitch new game ideas to the global community in a hackathon-style environment. Syracuse University is expected to join more than 700 locations in 95 countries.  The event launches Friday late afternoon in the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library, which will serve as the hospitality suite. The kick-off will include a short video keynote and the announcement of this year’s theme.

Game Jam open hours in the Blackstone LaunchPad at Bird Library will be:

  • Friday, January 25 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 26 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Sunday, January 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with final pitches that afternoon to game industry experts

Prototyping materials, software and other tools like 3D printing will be available, but participants are encouraged to bring their laptops. No coding or computer skills are required to participate, only an interest in making games.  Basic design and software skills can be helpful, but are not necessary.

Learn more about the #SUGGJ19 event at http://gamejam.syr.edu/

SU Libraries and two of its programs — the Digital Scholarship Space (DSS) and the Blackstone LaunchPad — are among the co-sponsors of the event.  It is also sponsored by Computer Art and Animation in the Department of Transmedia, the Department of English, and the Department of Writing Studies, Rhetoric, and Composition.

DSS is a project by Syracuse University ITS that provides students and faculty access to a variety of technologies for software design, gaming, data visualization, digital humanities projects, and digital mapping.  Located in Bird Library, DSS serves both students and scholars.  It features a computer lab to facilitate the development of interactive, immersive, and mobile applications, projects, and games on emerging technologies and systems including virtual, mixed, and augmented reality platforms. It is home of the Game Lab to support courses and research on digital and analog games, both for in-class usage and to be available during “open lab” hours for students, faculty, and staff. It is accessible and available to faculty, students, and staff from all departments, colleges, and schools across Syracuse University campus, and staffed by graduate students.

The Blackstone LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting creatives, inventors and entrepreneurs with campus resources and global network.  The LaunchPad offers one-stop connections, coaching and mentoring, along with specialized programs and tools to help take ideas from concept to creation.

More information about the global activities can be found at http://globalgamejam.org/

Global Entrepreneurship Week at SU Libraries, November 12-18

This year’s Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrates four themes— women, youth and inclusion in entrepreneurship, and connecting innovators and ecosystems from around the world.

One week each November, thousands of events in 170 countries inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and investors.

Syracuse University is joining the celebration, powered by the Kauffman Foundation, with a lineup of campus and community events coordinated by the Blackstone LaunchPad at SU Libraries.

GEW Syracuse will showcase the rich innovation ecosystem on campus, and help connect campus entrepreneurs with local and global resource partners.  The LaunchPad will use the four themes to highlight powerful voices and innovators who promote, encourage and support the development of entrepreneurs within each of these four spaces.

  • GEW Women celebrates female entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders, investors and other startup champions, while offering opportunities to expand their networks, identify resources and share knowledge with other women around the world.
  • GEW Youth inspires and shapes the next generation of innovators, stresses the importance of entrepreneurship education, helps blaze pathways of opportunity for business and civic leaders in an entrepreneurial world.
  • GEW Inclusion highlights the work startup champions are doing around the world to minimize barriers and obstacles for entrepreneurs by maximizing inclusion, valuing diversity and promoting access for all students to enhance equity and provide a platform for innovation and inclusion.
  • GEW Ecosystem Connect supports organizations around the world like the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars that facilitate collaboration and partnership between startup ecosystems.   Sharing knowledge and connecting local ecosystems with global resources, and bringing different cultural perspective together, is at the heart of building healthy and thriving entrepreneurial communities.

Here is a lineup of Syracuse events.  All are open to the community and free unless otherwise indicated.

Follow activities on social media:  Facebook:  LaunchPadSYR and Twitter:  @LaunchPadSYR, and read more about the events on the Blackstone LaunchPad news page: http://launchpad.syr.edu/news

Tag posts with the official Global Entrepreneurship Week hashtag — #GEW2018.

Help celebrate the spirit of innovation at SU next week!

Kayla Simon named LaunchPad Watson Scholar – Blackstone LaunchPad

Kayla Simon ‘19, an aerospace engineering major in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, will be the Blackstone LaunchPad Watson Scholar for the 2018-19 academic year.

Simon is an active and passionate entrepreneur on campus for the past year and a half, and is excited to be mentoring other students to develop ideas of their own.

In 2017, Simon became an innovator on campus, starting by winning first prize in the Invent@SU program with her co-inventor Elizabeth Tarangelo ’19 for their invention. In-Spire is a wearable aerosol inhaler perfect for on-the-go or emergency situations geared towards improving quality of life for asthma patients. It is a wristband with an asthma inhaler integrated inside of a stylish band that can carry smaller amounts of Albuterol, the medication that aids in keeping the airways of the throat open. Since the team developed and pitched their prototype at demo day of Invent@SU, the invention has received positive feedback, which led to Simon and Tarangelo pushing forward to make this invention a tangible product.

From there, Simon came to the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars, part of SU Libraries.  Working with the LaunchPad and a team of professional advisors, Simon and Tarangelo have gone on to create a New York State LLC — In-Spire Health – and have won business plans including first place in the Syracuse University Panasci Business Plan Competition, RvD iPrize, Impact Prize, and the campus ACC InVenture Prize.  They also represented Syracuse University at the New York State Business Plan Competition, capturing a Women’s Business Award. They were most recently accepted into the prestigious CNY Biotech Accelerator Medical Device Innovation Challenge.

Along with entrepreneurship, Simon is passionate about the space industry, and recently interned at startup Virgin Orbit in Mojave, California, where she met billionaire and serial entrepreneur Richard Branson.  She is equally passionate about music and photography.  Her energy and charisma makes her a standout, and she is a natural mentoring other creatives, inventors, dreamers and doers.

“Being an entrepreneur, I’ve been able to gain skills I couldn’t have dreamed of, yet I’m still learning every day,” she says. “From all the knowledge I’ve gained over the past year, I’d love to be able to pay that forward and help navigate this process for students who are just starting to develop their ideas.”

It is common to see Simon working in the LaunchPad with students on pitches for business plan competitions, or guiding them through the first steps of thinking about creative ideas. She brings zeal, imagination and intellect – along with incredible patience and empathy, and a great sense of humor.

When she is not doing that, she is working on her own startup, practicing pitches for competitions she is competing in, or meeting with mentors.  And, equally important, studying aerospace engineering, because at heart she is a rocket scientist who brings an incredible sense of curiosity and exploration to everything she does.

Through her time as an entrepreneur on campus and in the Upstate community, she knew she wanted to be able to help others make an impact in her community, which led to apply for the Watson Scholar position.

The LaunchPad Watson Scholar role is funded through a generous gift to Syracuse University Libraries from the Hunter Brooks Watson Memorial Fund with the intention for the Watson Scholar to honor the life, passion, and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson.

Inspired by Syracuse University’s Remembrance Scholar program to honor the spirit and lives of those lost in the Pan Am Flight 103 disaster, which sprung a beautiful relationship that has changed lives in many ways, the Watson Scholar is a way to honor the life and entrepreneurial spirit of Hunter Brooks Watson, a Syracuse University student who passed away after injuries suffered in a tragic 2016 car accident. He was a rising junior majoring in Information Management and Technology at the iSchool. A passionate entrepreneur, he was interested in music, (playing multiple instruments, performing, recording and producing music videos), sports, and technology. He was especially interested in the emerging field of big data and had been working on new ventures related to predictive data.

Simon will be working with the LaunchPad to help peer mentor students who are in the process of creating and developing their own ideas for ventures, along with helping with awards programs and competitions.

What drew Simon to the position was the meaning behind the position, along with a love of mentorship and impact within the world. In 2012, two of Simon’s friends passed away in a tragic car accident while on their way to a show for their band. “They were passionate about music, science, and leadership, and their love for what they did inspired us every day.” The passing of her friends gave Simon a new perspective on how she views life and friendship, along with opportunity. After her hometown created a memorial in their memory, where anyone can go and remember what they had meant to the community, Simon said, “Having their legacy still vibrant in the community they served and cared for so greatly has given us the ability to keep them alive in a small way.”

Simon is incredibly excited to get started working with students, and really cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit here at Syracuse University. “Innovation is innate in all of us,” she says, “We just sometimes need a push or a resource to access it.”