Converging on Success

Tandon’s Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute Launches its first NYU I-Corps Summer Program

Chandrika Tandon (center), Chair of the Tandon School of Engineering’s Board of Overseers and Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees, offered words of advice and support to the first cohort of the NYU I-Corps Summer Program.

“NYU is committed to the success of each and every one of you, and we consider you part of the DNA of the school,” Chandrika Tandon, Chair of the Tandon School of Engineering’s Board of Overseers and Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees, said. “Throughout this initial four-week program and over the coming years, we’ll be with you every step of the way as you use technology to build a better society.”

Her audience was comprised of faculty members of NYU’s Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) Institute, students of the first cohort of the NYU I-Corps Summer Program funded by a NSF I-Corps Site grant “Enhancing Diversity in STEM Entrepreneurship,” and mentors who will guide them as they embark on an ambitious attempt to brainstorm and develop marketable technologies to address real-world needs.

Proposed projects range from a method of generating power from food waste to an interactive video-sharing app for the education market that will employ machine learning techniques.

“I’d be very excited to mentor any one of these teams,” alum Robert V. Jones, who often participates in Tandon initiatives, asserted. “They are all seeking to do big things, and I’m looking forward to helping them apply an engineering and entrepreneurial mindset to overcoming any obstacles they might face on the way to turning their ideas into reality.”

The NYU I-Corps Site Summer Program, which will engage its participants in Lean Launchpad methodology, was made possible thanks to a five-year $500,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant aimed at nurturing student entrepreneurs — particularly women and those from other groups underrepresented in STEM. (The grant is just one part of the NSF I-Corps National Innovation Sites Program, which aims to build a national innovation ecosystem that moves scientific discoveries from the lab to the marketplace.)

Associate Dean for Undergraduate & Graduate Academics Peter Voltz, Chair of Tandon's Board of Overseers and Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees Chandrika Tandon, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, and Vice Dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Kurt Becker celebrate the Convergence of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute's first NYU I-Corps summer program.

Associate Dean for Undergraduate & Graduate Academics Peter Voltz, Chair of Tandon's Board of Overseers and Vice Chair of the NYU Board of Trustees Chandrika Tandon, Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, and Vice Dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Kurt Becker

More than 50 percent of the student teams in the first cohort will be led by women — a vision long held by Associate Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Jin Kim Montclare, who directs the new Institute. “My hope is that you will all lean on one another, encourage one another, and help one another,” Montclare told the students, who will be eligible to apply for funding to prototype and refine their products at the end of the four weeks.

Also on-hand at the kick-off celebration, held on July 5 in Tandon’s MakerSpace, were Vice Dean for Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Kurt H. Becker and Associate Dean for Undergraduate and Graduate Academics Peter Voltz. Becker detailed the history of Tandon’s seminal involvement with the NSF I-Corps program, and Voltz explained that this summer’s programming was a natural extension of what the School of Engineering tries to do from the minute freshmen step foot on the MetroTech Plaza. “We’re proud of our focus on entrepreneurship and our record of educating women in the STEM fields,” Votlz told attendees. “We’ll be even prouder to see what you accomplish once you’ve taken part in this.”