‘Celebration of Entrepreneurship’ Attracts Michigan Students From Across the U-M Campus and Beyond

Shannon Beeman
October 2, 2015

At the kickoff of this year’s Entrepalooza, Stewart Thornhill, executive director of the Zell Lurie Institute, described the annual event as “a celebration of entrepreneurship across campus.” Nearly 350 students from a variety of academic disciplines gathered for the Sept. 25 symposium at the Michigan League, which featured an insightful talk about the “confidence gap” among women by BBC broadcast journalist Katty Kay; personal insights from seven successful entrepreneurs, including Aaron Dworkin, who is now dean at the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance; and an “unconference.” Entrepalooza also attracted students from other universities, as well as representatives from co-sponsors, such as Ann Arbor SPARK.

Here are a few comments from this year’s attendees:

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem at U-M is very strong, and I want to be part of the innovation and new thinking on campus. I’m very interested in entrepreneurship and might want to start my own company after I finish college. The skills you learn as an entrepreneur can be applied to industry, as well.” – Joe Saginaw, BS ’19

“This is my first time at Entrepalooza, and I came to hear keynote speaker Katty Kay talk about the reasons why women lack confidence to project their ideas. I’m interested in health policy, and I want to be an innovator inside a large organization.” – Kristen Maurer, MPH ’16

“I liked the TED talk about GameStart, a company that is teaching computer programming to children. It prompted me to think about the way we interact with technology.” – Andrea Kopitz, LSA ’18

“I’m here to accept a Sam Zell Scholarship, which is awarded to students with a demonstrated interest in entrepreneurship. I was involved in starting Network Finance, a crowd-sourcing student loan company, and I’m on the student-led Social Venture Fund. I’m interested in combining an environmental impact with a social impact through renewable energy, and will probably go to work for a Clean Tech start-up after graduation.” – John Serron, MBA/MS ’16

“I have an interest in entrepreneurship and hope to be involved in the venture capital community. I’ve applied for a fellowship at Learn Capital, a California-based venture investment firm.” – Adam Levin, MBA ’17

“I’m a Zell Lurie Scholar and director of investments for the Social Venture Fund. Through the Dare to Dream grant program, I worked on the launch of Local Seeds, an online platform for community investing. I also assisted female entrepreneurs in Tanzania through the Innovations in Gender Equality initiative, a project of USAID, Land O’ Lakes International Development and the U-M’s William Davidson Institute. I came to Entrepalooza to learn more about the Zell Lurie Institute and various clubs on campus.” – Diana Callaghan, MBA ’16

“I like TED-style talks where entrepreneurs share their stories and provide encouragement and tips for success. I’m also excited to connect with classmates outside the Ross School of Business. I’m interested in social impact consulting. After graduation, I will return to PricewaterhouseCoopers, where previously I was a senior associate doing public sector consulting at the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.” – Matt Townsend, MBA ’16

“I started this journey 35 years ago and returned to school after raising and home-schooling my seven children. I found information about Entrepalooza online and decided to come.” – Jacqueline Schmidt, Eastern Michigan University student

“I like the idea of an unconference. It’s fun and can produce some good ideas. It’s also an efficient way to connect across campus, share goals, talk to people and do some networking. At many conferences, people spend much of their time in silence.”- Jonathan Kuuskoski, assistant director of entrepreneurship and career services, U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance