LaunchPad Student Teams Sweep Award Competitions, Winning Nearly $80,000 in Fall 2019

Numerous student startup teams from the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library (LaunchPad) have won business competitions and prizes totaling $79,500 this past fall 2019. The LaunchPad is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global net­work that provides support for aspiring innovators, entrepreneurs, inventors, and creators. “The LaunchPad remains a library service supporting all aspects of entrepreneurship, innovation, and invention, but it has also evolved into a community of innovators who have found their campus home in the SU Libraries,” said David Seaman, Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, and interim Dean of the School of Information Studies (iSchool).  “It has been a delight to watch teams of students learn a range of skills as they develop business ideas and support each other in their endeavors, even when they are competing.”

A recap of the fall 2019 competitions and top winners included:

  • Techstars LaunchPad Startup Weekend (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in September):
    • Qingkun Zhu G’20 (iSchool) and Gokul Beed ’21 (VPA) from HAUS won 1st place ($750) for their Internet of Things smart humidifier de­vice;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($250) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings.
  • ’Cuse Tank (sponsored by the LaunchPad and SU Libraries in October):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 1st place ($7,000), for their clean water filtration system;
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 2nd place ($3,000) for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Patrick Prioletti ’21 (iSchool) of Thinc-Hub, a platform to connect startup ventures with innovations ecosystems, and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)  and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, each won $500 in a wild card round.
  • Orange Tank (sponsored by Whitman School of Manage­ment in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won the grand prize ($25,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands;
    • Other top cash prizes went to Matt Shumer ’22 (Whitman) from Visos, 1st place ($4,000) for their enterprise virtual reality system;
    • Nicholas Barba ’20 (Whitman) and David Fox ’22 (College of Law) from Modern Systems won 2nd place ($2,500) for their smart home network. 
    • Top alumni cash prizes went to LaunchPad alumni Jose Javier Garcia Rovira ’19 (Whitman) and Quentin Rosso ’18 (Whitman), who won 1st prize ($4,000) for Gamercraft, their performance training ecosystem for collegiate and professional eSports;
    • Alumni Daniel Fridliand ’18 (Whitman) and Dylan Sen from Awning won 2nd place ($2,500) for their app that uses biometric data to administer stress relief through the form of guided meditation and breathing exercises.
  • Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards (held in Buffalo, NY in November):
    • Quinn King ’20 (VPA) from MedUX won 1st place ($7,500) with their innovative medical products through user-centered design. Quinn King will be advancing to the national competition for Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in the Silicon Valley February 10-12, 2020.
    • Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences) from PAANI won 2nd place ($2,000) for their clean water filtration systems.
  • Impact Prize Pitch Competition (sponsored by Syracuse University Libraries in November):
    • Brianna Howard ’20 (Falk College) and Nikita Chatterjee ’20 (Arts & Sciences), co-founders of PAANI, won 1st place ($5,000) for their clean water filtration system;
    • Caleb Obiagwu ’20 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Zachariah Reid ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) from AttendPro, a device that improves maintenance work-flow, won 2nd place ($2,500);
    • Daniel Green ’21(Information Studies) from DreamConnect, a platform that optimizes the college experience for underrepresented students of color by facilitating culture, collaboration, and connectivity for student organizations across campuses; and Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science)   and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source, a portable device to produce electricity, tied for 3rd place, each winning $1,250.
  • Hult Prize (sponsored by the LaunchPad and Syracuse University Libraries in November): 
    • Justin Diaz ’23 (Engineering and Computer Science) from EcoBamboo Living won 1st place and a trip to the global regionals for their energy-efficient, sustainable bamboo buildings;
    • Clinton Garrahan ’21 (Engineering and Computer Science) and Davis Mutware (Engineering and Computer Science – Science and Technology Entrance Program STEP) from FreeSwing Power Source won 2nd place and an alternate trip to the global regionals for their portable device to produce electricity.
  • Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL (global competition held in New York City in November):
    • Kelsey Davis ’19 (Newhouse) G’20 (Whitman) and Brendan O’Keeffe ’21 (iSchool) from CLLCTVE won 2nd place ($10,000) for their digital platform connect­ing college creatives and brands.
Caucasian male in shirt and jacket and African male in embroidered shirt next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Clinton Garrahan and Davis Mutware of FreeSwing Power Source, 2nd place winners
Latinx male student in shirt and jacket next to sign that reads "Hult Prize"
Justin Diaz of EcoBamboo Living, 1st place winner
three students wearing white t-shirts with word PAANI next to Dean Seaman, standing in front of sandwich board sign that says "The Impact Prize"
PAANI team members Nikita Chatterjee, Jacob Sardino (SUNY ESF), and Brianna Howard with David Seaman, Dean of the SU Libraries
Caucasian male and Indian female students both holding giant checks
Quinn King of MedUX and Nikita Chatterjee of PAANI, winners of the Regional Qualifier for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards held in Buffalo, NY
African American female and Caucasian male students both wearing navy blue t-shirts with word CLLCTVE in orange letter. Students are holding giant check for $10,000
Kelsey Davis and Brendan O’Keefe of CLLCTVE at Blackstone LaunchPad Techstars PROPEL global competition in New York City

Graduate Student Event Series Spring 2020

Syracuse University Libraries, with funding from the Graduate Student Organization, is hosting a series of events for graduate students in the spring 2020 semester at Bird Library. Registration is required for each workshop.

  • Speed Dating the Research Experts: Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Room 550

Meet with SU librarians and campus research experts who can help you navigate your graduate program, while mingling with fellow graduate students over free food and drinks. Come chat and network with a variety of research experts within the libraries and on campus, who specialize in library resources, research funding, copyright and author’s rights, data services, and more. Limited to the first 60 registrants. Register at: https://syr.libwizard.com/f/speeddate.

  • Finding Funding & Grant Opportunities: Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Room 004

Need money for your research? Grab dinner and join Christina Leigh Docteur (Director of Proposal Support Services in SU’s Office of Research), Simona Rosu (Associate Director, STEM Graduate Careers), and Emily Hart (Librarian for Science and Technology) to learn about SU’s resources for identifying funding opportunities. Bring your laptops and keywords in mind to describe your project needs (the who, what, why and how), and leave with navigation tips and potential opportunities. Limited to the first 40 registrants. Free food will be provided. Register at: https://syr.libwizard.com/f/graduateroundtable4.

  • Ready, Set, Publish!: Monday, April 6, 2020, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Room 114

Thinking about publishing your research? Join SU Librarians for a workshop to discuss topics including selecting high quality journals and identifying predatory journals, author rights, and copyright. Learn tips for responsible research conduct and maximizing your research impact. Limited to the first 40 registrants. Free food will be provided. Register at: https://syr.libwizard.com/f/readysetpublish


Donate Food to Reduce Your Libraries Fines

In the spirit of the holidays, Syracuse University Libraries will participate in “Food for Fines” between Monday, December 2 and Friday, December 13. Patrons with overdue circulation fines can reduce their fines by $1 for each healthy, nonperishable food item donated. Donations will be accepted at the circulation desks of participating libraries: Bird, Carnegie, Law, Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, and King + King Architecture. Contributions from people without current fines will also be accepted. All food items will be donated to the Hendricks Chapel Food Pantry. Fine reductions exclude Inter Library Loan and lost book fees. For more information about “Food for Fines,” please contact Laura Benjamin at lmnemitz@syr.edu.


King+King Architecture Library to Close During Winter Break

Syracuse University Libraries’ King+King Architecture Library, located on the 3rd floor of Slocum Hall, will be closing from December 14 through January 7 for the installation of new carpeting. New carpet will be installed throughout the Library, including the Scholarly Reading Room 304, the Reference/Reserve and Checkout Room 302, and the Seminar Room 301. The King+King Architecture Library serves the needs of the School of Architecture, the faculty, and its students and provides quick access to course reserves, current periodical titles, and reference works. Bird Library and Carnegie Library will be open Intersession Hours during that time.


A Message from Syracuse University Libraries

Syracuse University continues to experience incidents of racism, vandalism, and hate speech targeting Black, Asian, and Jewish communities. All of the Libraries staff are united in a shared sense of disgust, disappointment, distress and anger regarding these actions and comments. We strive to make our Libraries safe and welcoming places on campus every day, and we are committed to working with all members of the University community to ensure that we are the diverse, vibrant, and equitable community we aspire to be.

We are committed to listening and supporting our students, faculty, and staff. We stand solidly with demands to combat all forms of bigotry, racism and harassment on campus, and we commit to the necessary planning and actions to reach that goal.

In response to recent events, the Libraries has received increased security from the Department of Public Safety. We continue to provide services and resources to our students, faculty and staff. Librarians are available via phone at 315.443.4083, email or online chat.

Stopping hateful actions from happening in the future relies on people speaking out. We are committed to doing so and ask that you also report any hateful actions you witness to Department of Public Service, either directly or anonymously. The Stop Bias website also has resources to help address and push back against bias and hate in our community.


New Biblio Gallery Exhibit: Newhouse, iSchool Partner on Data-Driven Art Exhibit “Democracy in the Digital Age”

Syracuse University Libraries’ new Biblio Gallery Exhibit on the 4th Floor of Bird Library  was created by students from S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and the School of Information Studies and is titled “Democracy in the Digital Age: Does It Exist?” It is a data-driven art exhibit funded by a CUSE Grant. The exhibit, which is on display from now through January, provides insight into university students’ consumption of news and social media, specifically analyzing how both of those elements intersect to construct a political identity.

This exhibit is a continuation of last year’s three-part symposium series “Social Media and Democracy,” spearheaded by Professor Regina Luttrell, Professor Jon Glass and Professor Lu Xiao. This year, students in Luttrell’s Public Relations Campaign Planning and Execution course surveyed more than 200 students across U.S. college campuses to understand what democracy means in a social media-driven society. Newhouse and iSchool students then visually interpreted the survey results to create the exhibit, which encourages students to have a conversation about the important issue surrounding the influence of digital media.

Students Sophie Estep, Holly Jones, Jessica Zuk, Daniela Curi, and Lillee Bellia coordinated the project. Students Renée Deemer, Yiran Duan, Galen Hogan, Aaron Kassman and Isabel Munoz are the featured artists.

For more information about the Biblio Gallery, contact S. Ann Skiold, MFA, MLIS, librarian for Decorative & Applied Arts, Design, Art History, Film, Photography, and Spanish & Italian at Syracuse University Libraries or apply to submit an exhibit via Biblio Gallery website. 


SU Libraries’ Fine Forgiveness for Veterans and Military Members

In honor of Veteran’s Month, Syracuse University Libraries will forgive all veteran and active military service member Libraries’ fines up to $25 for the month of November. To participate, veterans and current members of the U.S. military must present their valid military identification to receive a one-time waiver of library fines.

Additional Veteran’s Month activities at the Libraries include:

  • A collection of Service Newspapers of World War II available for campus use, including papers from the British Library. Imperial War Museums, US Army Heritage and Education Center, US Army War College, Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, and Berlin State Library Prussian Cultural Heritage.
  • A feature display of military and veteran-related books in the Diana entryway display case of Carnegie Library.
  • Letter/card writing to a United State military service member from November 11 through 15. All students, faculty and staff are encouraged to stop by the first floor of Bird Library. The Library will supply materials and collect notes to send to service people and veterans via Operation Gratitude.

Todd B. Rubin ’04 to Kick-Off “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week

Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, is sponsoring Syracuse University’s 2019 celebration of “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week from November 11 – 15, 2019.  Through the Rubin Family Foundation, Todd B. Rubin established a grant for the 2019-2020 academic year for five Rubin Family Innovation Mentors at Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad), as well as funds for the Impact Prize Competition, and other campus events taking place that week.

As the sponsor of this year’s “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week, Rubin will kick-off the week with a keynote address on Monday, November 11 at noon at Bird Library in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114).  Light lunch refreshments and tea will be served. A series of activities that are free and open to the community are planned throughout the week to celebrate The Republic of Innovation Global Entrepreneurship Week.

Rubin serves as the Minister of Evolution (President) for The Republic of Tea. Dedicated to preserving a legacy that fosters The Republic of Tea’s “Sip by Sip Rather than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle, he strives to delight Citizens, Ministers, Embassies and Ambassadors with a focus on innovation, education and providing the finest premium teas and herbs.

Rubin joined The Republic of Tea in 2007 as the Minister of East Commerce and then transitioned to the Minister of Southeast Commerce in 2008. In 2011, he was appointed to Minister of Evolution (Vice President of Sales and Marketing), relocating to the company’s Larkspur, California office.  In that role, he successfully spearheaded new teas and new systems that led to significant growth, including: Beautifying Botanicals Teas, organic SuperAdapt Teas, organic SuperGreen Teas, HiCAF® Teas, Sonoma Teas, Biodynamic® Teas, Cuppa Cake® Teas, Downton Abbey™ Teas, organic SuperHerb® Teas, U-Matcha™ teas, The Crown® Teas and the organic Single Sips. Utilizing his degree in architecture, he oversaw the feng shui design of the company’s headquarters at The Exchange in Larkspur, California and the company’s production and shipping center in Nashville, Illinois. 

In 2016, Rubin was elected to the Specialty Food Association Board of Directors and was distinguished as one of San Francisco Business Times’ 40 Under 40. He was appointed to the Advisory Board for the Specialty Tea Institute and became a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization SF Bay Area Chapter in 2015. The year prior, Rubin was the recipient of Syracuse’s Generation Orange Award for philanthropy and was also honored as one of North Bay Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. Rubin was elected to the Board for the Ethical Tea Partnership, a nonprofit organization that convenes the tea industry, development partners, NGOs, and governments to improve the lives of tea workers, farmers, and the environment in which they live and work.

He starts his day with a cup of Lucky Irish Breakfast tea, sips Brain Boost SuperGreen tea in the afternoon and ends his evenings with Clarity and Calm herbal tea. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, traveling, photography, and reading.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) started in 2007 with 37 countries committing to support it; within a year it grew to over 77 countries and 3 million people participating in 25,022 events. Now it is a collection of thousands of events, activities and competitions around the world. At the LaunchPad, over 112 countries have been represented since its inception. This year’s competition at Syracuse is scheduled the week before “Global Entrepreneurship Week” being held by GEW November 18-24 to better accommodate the academic year schedule.

About The Republic of Tea:

The Republic of Tea enriches people’s lives through its great-tasting premium teas and herbs, education and innovation, as it emphasizes a “Sip by Sip Rather Than Gulp by Gulp” lifestyle. Founded in 1992, The Republic of Tea sparked a specialty tea revolution. Today the brand delivers an unequaled selection of the highest-quality teas, herbal blends, books and nature-inspired sipware. The Republic of Tea’s collections boast over 300 all-natural premium teas and diverse offerings which include, but are not limited to: organic SuperAdapt Teas, SuperDigest Teas, Beautifying Botanicals, SuperGreen Teas, Downton Abbey™ Teas, Biodynamic® Teas, organic Superfruit™ Teas, Be Active® Teas, organic SuperHerb® Teas, U-Matcha™, Single Sips ®, teaware and a collection of unsweetened, premium glass-bottled iced teas crafted exclusively for fine restaurants and hotels. Further, The Republic of Tea is mindful of how its actions impact the greater community and actively supports organizations like The Ethical Tea Partnership, Homeward Bound of Marin, and The Women of Tea: Sri Lanka, an initiative by The Republic of Tea focused on improving nutrition, hygiene and financial literacy for the women tea workers living in Sri Lanka. Certifications include Demeter USA Certified Biodynamic, Fair Trade certification, Gluten-Free certification, Non-GMO Project verification, OU Kosher certification, and USDA Organic certification.


“The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week Events

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries (LaunchPad) is celebrating “The Republic of Innovation” Global Entrepreneurship Week November 11 – 15, 2019.  Many of the week’s activities are being sponsored by Todd B. Rubin ’04 (School of Architecture), Minister of Evolution and President of The Republic of Tea, through the Rubin Family Foundation.

Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) started in 2007 with 37 countries committing to support it; within a year it grew to over 77 countries and 3 million people participating in 25,022 events. Now it is a collection of thousands of events, activities and competitions around the world. At the LaunchPad, over 112 countries have been represented since its inception. This year’s competition at Syracuse is scheduled the week before “Global Entrepreneurship Week” being held by GEW November 18-24 to better accommodate the academic year schedule.

All events are open to the community free of charge. This year’s activities include:

  • Monday, November 11, noon to 1 p.m.: Todd B. Rubin ’04 will kick-off the week with a keynote address in the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114) at Bird Library.  Light lunch refreshments and tea will be served.
  • Monday, November 11 and Tuesday, November 12 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.:  Impact Prize workshops in the LaunchPad on “wicked global problems” that lend themselves to global solutions.  The twenty-one Impact Prize final teams will have the opportunity to work with mentors to explore the social impact of their ventures and shape their solutions. 
  • Monday, November 11 from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.:  The Hult Power Hour, a workshop in the LaunchPad on sustainability and global climate change, in advance of the campus Hult Prize Competition for student impact entrepreneurship.  This year’s theme is “Build a Smarter Business for a Better Planet,” focusing on addressing climate change.  Deadline to apply is Friday, November 15.
  • Tuesday, November 12 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Global Design Studio, a three-part event in the LaunchPad:
    • 4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Vipul Jain, partner at Baaya Design and co-founder and president of Catalysts for Social Action, and serial entrepreneur.
    • 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Shibani Jain, founder and CEO of Baaya Design, founder of India’s frst e-commerce platform for craft products, and co-founder and trustee of Catalysts for Social Action.
    • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.: Women in Design Co-Work event
  • Wednesday, November 13 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.:  Building an immersive entrepreneurial experience with Julia Haber, Newhouse ’18, founder of WAYV.
  • Wednesday, November 13 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.:  Qualifier competition for Entrepreneurs’ Organization’s Global Student Entrepreneur Awards, the premier global competition for student entrepreneurs who run a business.  Two teams will represent Syracuse at the competition — PAANI, the recent first place winner of the ‘Cuse Tank competition at LaunchPad; and MedUX, a team that won last year’s Impact Prize Competition and is comprised of Rubin Family Innovation Mentors.   
  • Thursday, November 14 at 8 a.m. to Friday, November 15 at 8 p.m.: the MLB Challenge by the School of Information Studies (iSchool) at Hines Hall and Manley Field House.
  • Thursday, November 14 from noon to 2 p.m.: Innovation Village at the Tech Garden in downtown Syracuse, with a resource fair of regional innovation ecosystem partners.
  • Thursday, November 14 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Impact Prize Pitch Competition, coordinated by the LaunchPad, to support student entrepreneurs who are engaged in solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through innovation. The competition will be held at Syracuse University Libraries and is being funded through generous gifts from Dr. Gisela M. von Dran and Todd Rubin.
  • Thursday, November 14 at 7:30 p.m.: University Lecture Series at Hendricks Chapel featuring “Young Alumni Entrepreneurs: Breaking the Rules, Blazing New Paths, Not Waiting Their Turn” is being co-sponsored in part by Syracuse University Libraries and the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars. The event features alumni entrepreneurs who launched their businesses as students:  Moderator, Kelsey Davis ’19 G’20, founder of CLLCVTE; Josh Aviv ’15 G’17, founder of SparkCharge; Julia Haber ’18, founder of WAYV; Erin Miller ’16, founder of Out There Productions; and Danile Folkman ’12, VP of Business Development, goPuff.
  • Friday, November 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.: Popcycle fun popup shop of global student entrepreneurs, makers and creatives in the LaunchPad.
  • Friday, November 15 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m.: How to pitch your idea to a global entrepreneurial world, by LaunchPad executive director Linda Hartsock at the Maxwell Citizenship and Civic Engagement program.
  • Friday, November 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.: Globalists Live Musings in the LaunchPad, a panel by international students on How to Be a Change Agent in a Global World.

About the Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars at Syracuse University Libraries:

The Blackstone LaunchPad powered by Techstars in Bird Library is Syracuse University’s innovation hub, connecting the entire University’s resource-rich ecosystem with a global network that provides support for aspiring entrepreneurs, inventors and creators. The program serves faculty, staff, students, and alumni across disciplines who are interested in innovation, invention, entrepreneurship, venture creation, and taking ideas from concept to commercialization. The program supports a key pillar of Syracuse University’s Academic Strategic Plan to create an innovation ecosystem across the institution that prepares participants to be trailblazers in an entrepreneurial world.

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Petrina Jackson Featured as Keynote Speaker at Society of Georgia Archivists

Petrina Jackson, Director of Syracuse University Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center, gave the keynote address at the Society of Georgia Archivists (SGA) conference on October 17, 2019 in Augusta, GA. The conference theme was Strong Roots, Stronger Branches: SGA at 50.

In her keynote address, Jackson explored how her family’s stories have helped to shape her identity and perspective and how that shaping has impacted her approach to archives. Her family has roots in Georgia. She stated, “….my archival work has centered on advocacy, bringing stories relegated to the margins to the forefront, and guiding and empowering all staff to challenge their assumptions and lead from where they are to create an equitable and inclusive archives, workplace, and field.” She further stated that to accomplish her goal of an inclusive archives, she needs accomplices and allies to break out of the status quo and help bring strong, positive change.

Petrina joined Syracuse University Libraries in June 2019 from Iowa State University, where she was Head of Special Collections and University Archives since 2016, and before that was Head of Instruction and Outreach at the University of Virginia’s Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library, and Senior Assistant Archivist for the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.

Petrina holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, an MA in English from Iowa State University and a BA in English from the University of Toledo, and is well known nationally, being active in both the Society of American Archivists and the American Library Association’s Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.