Archive for college

Blair Files

http://blairfls.wixsite.com/illustrations/about

When we were little – 4 or 5 years old – my cousin Blair and I liked sitting on the rocky coast of Maine with paper and crayons, drawing what we imagined to be grand scenes of the mighty ocean; to anyone else, those pictures looked like a bunch of scribbles. As the years past, my pictures were still just scribbles – I have roughly the same degree of artistic talent as an elephant holding a paint brush in its trunk; Blair was a different story: it quickly became apparent that she had real talent as an illustrator. She loved to draw and she was good at it. Over the years she also picked up talent with paint and sculpture.

Jump forward to when we were a pair of 18-year-olds trying to make one of the biggest choices of our lives: COLLEGE. I was bound for the liberal arts, Blair for the fines arts; we both got our first choice: for me, Grove City College, for Blair, the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. We were all so proud of her: despite the fact that no one in the recorded history of our family had ever done anything as impractical as going to art school, we were blown away by her talent and thrilled that she had been accepted to what is arguably one of the greatest art schools in the world.

So, we both packed our bags and shipped off for school. But while I immediately felt that I had made the right choice, Blair was plagued by doubts: not doubts about her choice to be an artist, but with questions about whether she was ready for this. She decided she wasn’t. After two weeks on campus she realized that she had a lot of personal growing to do and that RISD was not the place to do it – not yet, anyway. Of course, it was all a bit more complicated than that, but for the sake of brevity I won’t go into more detail.

Thus, Blair found herself taking a spontaneous gap year. In all honesty, she had always wanted to take a year off before college, but now that she was doing so, she didn’t have a plan. But these things always seem to work out in the end: she was offered the chance to go to Scotland to work for six months – something else she had always wanted to do. The only problem: travel is expensive!!!

But, undaunted as ever, Blair came up with a solution: she was an artist, and she was going to support herself as such! She had already created a large and impressive portfolio of original pieces, so she launched a website to sell prints of her work to support her trip abroad. She also started working for commission. 

Anyway, skipping ahead a little bit: Blair made it to Scotland where she had the incredible opportunity to work for YoungLife Ministries. In her work, she saw the incredible darkness that comes with a life without Jesus Christ: she saw kids who desperately needed Christ, and new that she was called to share Him with them. But it was very well to do so for six months in a youth camp, but what about back in America? She was going to be an artist, not a minister.

Well, like I said, Blair knew that she had a lot of growing to do: and grow she did. While she was in Scotland she had the chance to explore what it meant to use one’s talents for God; she learned that our gifts are not our own, but are to be used in service to the Lord. What did that mean for a 19-year-old who wanted to draw, but who also wanted to do more than illustrate children’s Bibles?

Eventually she found the answer: she decided not to go back to RISD but instead to enroll in the University of Delaware which had a program in Visual Communication – there, she would not only get a degree in fine art, but also in communications and visual media, learning the skills she would need to communicate truth through her art. She recognized that art isn’t just about creating beauty: it’s about creating the kind of beauty that points the viewer to the author of all things beautiful.

Today, Blair is a Junior at University of Delaware, still working to complete her degree. She is also still selling work through her website to help support her studies. Her story as an entrepreneur is still in it’s early chapters: much of it is still unwritten. Thus far, she has had enough success to allow her to fund the studies that we are confident will one day allow her to share the message that we are all called to spread. We don’t know what she will draw, who she will draw for, or what she will say through her art. But we know that she as chosen a profession that is, above all, about communication, and that she has the greatest story of all to communicate. Through her website and commissioned work she has already been able to start reaching people – now all that’s left is to watch her grow!

I like Blair’s story because it serves an in important reminder of the fact that entrepreneurship doesn’t have to mean something huge: sometimes its something as small as selling art to fund travel. Its also important to remember that as Christians we have a higher calling in whatever we do: to serve the Lord. Blair became an entrepreneur because she was a broke almost-college-student who needed to get to Scotland. Once there, she discovered that her true calling really was art, not business. Now, she’s learning what she wants to say with her art and how she wants to say it. Will she one day go into business for herself as an artist/entrepreneur? Who can say: I personally think that art is a form of entrepreneurship…. The important thing is that we serve the Lord in all we do – be it painting scenes of the cross or painting scenes of nature; running a “Christian Business” or running a “Secular business” that operates on Christian principles. I believe that finding ways to serve the Lord in all that we do is the highest calling of any entrepreneur and that turning our work into a way of serving God is in itself an entrepreneurial act.

Blair also reminds us that we don’t necessarily have to “paint the cross” to serve the Lord. I look at the things she creates and see the Master’s hand: whether she is painting the portrait of a child of God or something silly that just popped into her head, I see the kind of true beauty that is precious not because of who created it or what they created, but because it came from the hand of a woman who loves God and who knows who her talent is from and what it is for.

Koofers

In the 21st century, more than ever before, a college education is the single most important step young Americans can take towards securing a prosperous and stable future. Unfortunately, the cost of higher education is going nowhere but up: while many Americans have been saving for their education since birth, very few of us will be able to come up with the nearly $100,000 check needed to see us across the stage. And even if we are able to make up the difference through loans, scholarships, and grants, there is very little aid available to help cover the costs needed for success: many of us may find ourselves working several jobs just to cover the cost of textbooks, study materials, and practice exams, putting us even further away from paying off our debts and cashing in on the security our education promises.

That’s where Koofers comes into play: in 2008, Glynn LoPresti, Patrick Gartlan, and Dan Donahoe – three young professionals with background in Computer Science and Finance – decided enough was enough and set out to find a way to lighten the financial burden of College education. But while others before them had looked at the problem through the lens of tuition and enrollment fees, the founders of Koofers saw an unmet although equally daunting need: the miscellaneous cost of success. It’s all well and good to provide the financial support necessary to get students into college, but what about their needs once they are there? We’re all students, so none of us need to be told about the stress of trying to find the necessary funds to keep ourselves in books and school supplies. It’s really hard to be successful in school if you are working 60 hours a week just to pay for the tools you need to keep you in school!

Koofers provides students with FREE access to those tools. It is a consumer internet platform that provides access to testbanks, practice exams, professor rating data, flashcards, and scheduling software at absolutely no cost to the students who use it. It is funded through textbook sales and commissions from employers looking to hire students so that those who already struggle to make ends meet to cover tuition won’t find themselves struggling to keep their grades up because they can’t afford study tools. It is a free one-stop-shop that offers students the needed resources to not only get them into school, but also to see them through to graduation.

The site also offers an “enterprise Campus Recruiting solution” that connects employers and recruiting firms with students looking for internships and full-time work opportunities. By charging prospective employers for the use of this system, Koofers is able to offer a wide variety of services to students free of charge! The recruiting program also ensures that the students working so hard to put themselves through school don’t see all that effort go to waste: through Koofers, students are not only supported through their schools years, but are also given access to a community of professionals and employers eager to help them put their education to work!

Founded and run by recent college grads, Koofers understands that college acceptance and tuition is just the first step in the uphill financial battle that so many Americans face in trying to procure and education. If tuition is the canoe, then school supplies are the paddle: without one, the other is useless. While federal grant programs, trusts, and loan programs get students on board, only Koofers provides them with the tools they need to navigate their way towards a brighter future!

From College Thoughts, To a Whole New World.

Mark Zuckerberg is the inventor of Facebook. Facebook is a social media platform used by over a billion people each day. People use the site to post statuses, pictures, links, and anything else they want. It can also be used for instant messaging other users, playing different games that are on the site, and for shopping. People make group pages where others can post items they want to sell, and now there is even a tab called “The Marketplace” where people post items for sale. Users shop the Marketplace, and the items that are shown are based on a certain mile radius from the shopper’s location. It makes buying and selling easier than sites like eBay because the items are close and easier to access. Mark Zuckerberg never dreamed Facebook would turn into what it has today. He originally started the idea for the website at Harvard University with his college roommates. It was intended to be a site for the university so people could search others who go to their school, find out who are in their major or classes, and, of course, make friends. After it took off at Harvard, it was opened up for use at other Ivy League schools. It continued to flourish until it expanded throughout the country and, eventually, the world. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook, and all of its ability has made a huge impact on the world. It gave people an entirely new way to communicate. People can communicate with people across the world, which was hard to do before because international calling and texting was difficult and expensive. It is available in about one hundred languages, which also helped to connect the world. People can connect and share pictures with all of their friends and family at once rather than having to send it to each individual person. It makes disclosing news faster and easier. Facebook definitely impacted the world and makes it feel a lot smaller since it is so easy to connect with others. Another trait that makes Facebook so influential is that it is constantly changing and being made better. The Facebook massages now have the capability to make phone and video calls to others on the site. Everything the user needs is accessible all within one site rather than having to use multiple apps and websites to send texts, make phone calls, and make video calls. Mark Zuckerberg is still heavily involved in his company and continues to strive to make it better. He is a true entrepreneur who is invested in, and is passionate about what he created and intended it to be.

Garrett Gee: Lucky Hunch

Just before the Ipad 2 came out, a young university student named Garrett Gee had the hunch that there would be blog posts all over the web listing the top 10 apps for the new device. Garrett then came up with the idea that there should be much easier QR code software and apps to use with the new device. Because Garrett felt that he was on to something, he go to work immediately.Had to act quickly to be the first to implement his idea. After quickly getting an Ipad 2 into the hands of his ios developer, Garrett spent two sleepless nights developing his service before it was completed. He named his app Scan and recruited two fellow classmates to help develop the service further and it was finally launched in February of 2011. In the first year, Scan earned over 10 million downloads and made over 1.5 million dollars from venture capitalists such as Google Ventures.

In class we have talked about how many ideas originally stem from a lucky hunch like Garrett’s. When a hunch is taken seriously, it can lead to big ideas and successful accomplishments like the scan application. Hunches are able to develop by clashing with other people’s ideas and hunches. After getting the input of his two fellow classmates, Garrett’s hunch was improved and transformed into the extremely successful idea of Scan.

Convenient Store At Your Door

Yakir Gola and Rafael Ilishayev launched goPuff when they were only sophomores at Drexel University in 2013. GoPuff is your convenient store on wheels, bringing over 3,000 items ranging from snacks and drinks to necessities and electronics – straight to your front door in 30 minutes or less. The idea came to them as car-less freshmen roommates constantly asking for rides to get basic necessities or cigarettes. There were apps for full-blown grocery shopping or gourmet food, but what about just a plain old convenient store run? – and goPuff was born.

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Before they had even fully launched, they were already getting orders from fellow college students and residents of Philadelphia. At first, the roommates worked 17-18 hour shifts with their (new) cars to deliver the snacks and goodies, but with time came employees and they now have dozens of drivers in twelve different cities across the US.Image result for gopuff

Gola and Ilishayev don’t see other food delivery services as their competitors – they see the brick and mortar convenient stores as their primary competition. Competition is a loose term however – in 2014, they already had 25,000 customers in Philadelphia alone just a year after launch.

While it’s unfortunate that their services don’t extend to Grove City, they are constantly expanding and setting up camp in more major cities across America. So the next time you’re in a big city with a hankering for Ben & Jerry’s, goPuff’s got your back.

Airbnb

Once upon a time, on a cool October night in San Francisco a pair of roommates by the names of Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia were just too broke to pay rent on their apartment. They had to get money and get it fast so what did they do? Three air mattresses later and they had an Airbed and Breakfast for people who were attending a conference nearby and didn’t have a hotel room because all of the hotels were full. The pair were then able to get paid by renting said air mattresses and thus were able to pay rent. The end…or maybe not. Why not use this ingenious idea on a bigger scale? That’s exactly what Chesky thought. A few months later Airbnb was started. Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace in which people can rent out their spaces to travelers for both a cheaper price and a more authentic experience. This clever business gives college students and younger families the ability to travel cheaper and better and also allows homeowners to make extra money even while they are away from their homes. Airbnb now connects people to over 34,000 cities, 191 countries, and even 1,400 different castles. So how about we take a trip? Maybe to a castle?

Did Someone Say Scholarships?

In the big bad world of college searching and funding every student will ask the question “how much?” This question almost always refers to both how much it actually is to go to a school and how much scholarship said school will allot them. However, most students do not know about outside-of-school funding, whether it be state or private funding. The reason being is because of the hassle of the applications for said other scholarships and thus students leave a great asset and well of wealth to the wayside. But now there is a brilliant App/Website designed by a student to help students with their funding needs. Scholly is the brilliant and much needed brainchild of Christopher Gray. Being a low-income student himself, Gray searched for months during his latter years of high school applying for various scholarships until he had racked up enough cash to cover all college fees and then some. The process he went through however, was not an easy one nor a quick one. Thus, Scholly was born. Designed to easily connect students to private scholarships, Gray and his co-founders Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alief came up with an 8 parameter algorithm for easy scholarship connections. Even though it is practically a brand new company, Scholly has helped give out over $20,000,000 to 600,000 users since early 2015. From Chris Gray and me to my fellow broke classmates who are required to write comments; you’re welcome.

Life is Good

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The Life is Good Company was founded in 1994 by Bert and John Jacobs. They started by designing and selling t-shirts out of their van in the streets of Boston.

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Jake, the iconic stick figure, was created in the same year the company started. Jake was the beginning of Life is Good. The two brothers printed shirts of Jake and found that they were selling like a wildfire.

Their mission is to “spread the power of optimism”

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Their story: https://www.lifeisgood.com/our-story.html

College Hunks Hauling Junk

College Hunks Hauling Junk is the genius brainchild of Nick Friedman, an American Entrepreneur, dedicated to helping both people that need a hunk and hunks that need people. With his childhood friend Omar Soliman, Friedman built the company from the ground up. They first started with one van and a few strong buddies to make some extra cash in the summers between semesters. A few years after their college years they decided it was time to go all out and make College Hunks Moving Co. a legit thing. Freidman and Soliman put countless hours, nights, and weekends into organizing licensing regulations, figuring costs, and finding the necessities such as vans, uniforms, logo brandings, and most importantly; hunks. They first started hiring several college buddies and then hired buddies of buddies and finally branched out to all kinds of hunks. Football players, basketball players, trackletes, swimmers, and even mechies all started finding this awesome summer job geared towards college kids to help not only them out with their financial situation, but to also help their community with heavy lifting that would be more difficult for both the older and younger generations. The company itself has grossed billions in the past decade and has made Friedman famous in the Entrepreneurial world. Friedman has been featured in the Top 30 Entrepreneurs under 30 by INC Magazine along with iconic figures like Mark Zuckerberg. Today the company continues to grow across the nation; spreading to smaller towns and larger cities to get junk out and get good into the community by uniting its youth to needs.

 

Feeling just Fine

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In 2012, as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, Daniel Fine started selling foldable sunglasses out of his dorm room. After gaining interested investors, “Glass-U” grew into a remarkable product that launched at the 2013 Rose Bowl and was the official sunglasses provider for the FIFA World Cup. The design of fully foldable sunglasses attracted huge interest, and Daniel Fine’s company rebranded as “NEU” with their expansion.

Daniel Fine

NEU is only one of Daniel Fine’s success stories. Daniel Fine has started four companies – Team Brotherly Love, which funds research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes; Match Tutors, which matches tutors with students in Boston; Dosed, a new way to accurately track insulin; and Glass-U, now NEU.

Daniel Fine has been named one of the top 5 young entrepreneurs by Entrepreneurs Organization, was on Forbes’ 2016 30 under 30 list, and was one of TIME Magazine’s Top 25 International Leaders of Tomorrow. He has received numerous awards from both the Bush administration and the Obama administration, and in 2014 was nominated as one of the top 30 student entrepreneurs in the world.

He has a heart for diabetes research because of his diabetic brother, and is very philanthropic in that area, including the creation of a research foundation. Daniel Fine graduated just last year, but shows no signs of stopping his innovation. Read more about him here.