Students, Industry Leaders Connect

by Steve Charles

February 14, 2015

Making connections is essential for young entrepreneurs, and three Wabash students did exactly that last week with alumni members of the College’s Center for Innovation, Business, and Entrepreneurship (CIBE) advisory committee.

Sky King ’15, Jacob Budler ’17, and Brendan King ’16 took center stage at the first meeting of the committee, held in the College’s new Will and Ginny Hays Center for Leadership and Community Development in downtown Crawfordsville. They presented their projects and answered questions about how the CIBE is putting their liberal arts education into action. Their attentive audience included industry leaders in technology and software, biosciences, commercial real estate and property development, as well as heads of non-profit and research and technology centers.

CIBE Director Roland Morin ’91 said the first session was as important for the committee and the Center—one of four “Liberal Arts Plus” initiatives at the College—as it was for the students.

“I can explain the work of the Center, but the students bring to the table the passion they have for their projects,” said Morin. “When a young innovative thinker or leader can stand up and deliver their message and passion first hand in the way that Sky, Jacob, and Brendan did, I am more than happy to yield the floor. 

“I think for the Advisory Committee was able for the first time to put a face to the programs and really see the work of the CIBE coming to life and how it is impacting the next generation of Wabash men.”

Morin also told the committee about six other projects initiated by Wabash student entrepreneurs. Those efforts include assisting the set-up and operation of a 3D printing lab, the creation of a Web site and app that provides news told from younger people’s perspective and integrates with Instagram and SnapChat profiles, and a social sports app. 

Freshman Jayvis Gonsalvas designed two projects: Study Buddy, an app that allows teachers, parents and students to communicate about schoolwork without using a computer; and a device that uses an inexpensive switch to turn a smartphone into a TV remote that works by voice recognition. A prototype of the device is already being used by a patient with Parkinson’s disease. 

Craig Brainard ’16 has created a Web site and app for those who journal. It uses analytics to suggest other writers they might follow or collaborate with.

The CIBE prepares Wabash students from all majors to develop business and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills while training them for success as innovative leaders. The program reaches 140 students each year. As Morin states on the CIBE Web site: “At Wabash you do not have to study business to be a success in business, to start your own business or to run a non-profit. Students from all majors develop their business and entrepreneurial knowledge and skills through the CIBE.”


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