Summer Entrepreneurial Experiences

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Week 1 (Late Much?)

Thursday, June 5, 2014 5:49 pm

Early this spring semester, I enrolled in a class needing to fill a couple of more hours. It was an odd decision I made looking back on it because the class was on Tuesdays from 5-8pm and I’ve never been a fan of evening classes. But I was taking it with a good friend of mine, so we thought we’d be able to stick it out. The class was in the Office of Personal & Career Development, in a glass room called the Innovation Station. I came into class on the first day needing a POI & thought, “There’s no way this class can be that hard. I’m not gonna mind relaxing here for a couple hours on a Tuesday. ” Then our professor, Evelyn Williams, walked in and we went straight into it. Before I knew it, we were packing up and discussing meeting times with group members before next Tuesday. It was unbelievable how much we had accomplished in those three hours. I wasn’t sure if I had that energy to bring every Tuesday or even wanted the POI anymore. I decided to enroll in the class both intrigued and exhausted while watching Professor fill out that slip of paper to officially enroll me into Design Thinking. We found out a little later that the class was basically constructed around a crash course in the high pace environment of the “consulting world” as Professor Williams often put it. We completed our first project for the OPCD, giving them some ways to become more visible and impactful around Wake’s campus. Our second project was for Wake Forest’s IT department which was basically figuring out ways in which they will be able to utilize the ever-advancing technology of today and near future to successfully support, but not dominate, the Wake Forest brand of education and overall community. Within that second project, my group developed a solution that digitizes and cheapens textbooks. During the research on similar technologies to our idea, we came across it at our own school. Dr. Dan Jonhson’s BioBook was a captivating piece of technology, and helped us to develop and prototype our own idea a bit further. Our final product was a hit when we presented our ideas to Wake IT faculty, professors, and even an Apple executive. I presented the e-textbook solution, mentioning Dr. Johnson’s BioBook as one of our inspirations for the idea. After our project ended, I somehow figured out there was an opportunity to work with Dr. Johnson and knew I couldn’t let this opportunity to work with someone who unknowingly assisted in my Design Thinking group’s great success. I applied, interviewed with Dr. Johnson, and before I knew it had the position sitting and waiting in my Wake Forest Gmail inbox. Enrolling in that high paced, engaging course initiated a completely unintended but well enjoyed chain of events that brings me to the position in which I am now. But this entire process has really opened my eyes to the opportunities at the fingertips of students attending Wake Forest University.

This summer I have gotten the distinct opportunity to become major contributor to the BioBook as an entrepreneurial fellow with Dr. Dan Johnson and his team. I am slated to team up with Dr. Johnson on his innovative BioBook project, which stems from a larger umbrella project known as the Adapa Project (http://www.adapaproject.org ). The project has branched off into other areas with the advent of the ChemBook, Writing for the Sciences, and Cancer Biology to name a few. My main responsibilities are a bit chronological in nature: first I will be identifying and addressing ways in which the use of the BioBook technology will be resisted. When these are identified, I will be faced with designing ways in which we can eliminate these barriers in order to maximize the BioBook’s usefulness, ease of use, and overall experience for our users. This will be achieved by informational interviews with current staff and faculty of the Wake Forest community as well as those from institutions in a 7 state region in the southeastern United States. From there, an effective marketing strategy will need to be developed to increase the attention to our project while educating potential users on all of the ways in which the BioBook can be an effective tool in their model of education. An implementation aspect will be created as well to make the transition to the BioBook platform as seamless as possible.

That is the extremely condensed version. The job description looked like senior thesis when I first got it. But anyway, I am excited to get into the thick of it and explore where working on this project will take me going forward. I feel this project has the potential to revolutionize scientific education in our country, a topic that I have personal ties to as I have grown up with a specific interest in sciences. Eventually, I feel it can be extremely beneficial not to just science education but the educational system of our country as whole. By the end I’d like to be able to say I had a hand in making some of the changes that could help anyone and everyone.I just started officially on May 30th, so there’s still A LOT ahead for me. Let’s see where this goes.

 

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