College of Engineering launches second year of summer program to support entrepreneurial mindset

In collaboration with the Horn Program in Entrepreneurship, the University of Delaware College of Engineering (CoE) is running a program called CoE Fellows in parallel with the Summer Founders program offered by Horn.

Directed by Dustyn Roberts, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the program was launched last summer with the support of David Welch, an alumnus of UD’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Vince DiFelice, who runs the Summer Founders program, is co-directing the CoE Fellows program with Roberts. He refers to the program as one part startup and one part summer job — providing mentorship resources to promote startup success and allowing students to work full time over the summer on their business concepts unencumbered by the demands of the academic year.

In turn, Roberts, who also leads a team in Horn’s summer cohort of the NSF I-Corps Sites program, is acting as a technical adviser for several of the Summer Founders program teams.

“All CoE Fellows will go through the same training and have access to the same mentors, with slightly different expectations given that they are at different stages in their ventures and are working on more technical skill development at the same time,” says Roberts.

While the CoE Fellows program in summer 2016 started with just four students on two teams, it has expanded to 12 students on four teams this summer:

• Alt De-Ice: Founders Jarrett Bender, Ricky Evans and Jonathan Rego are working on innovating how municipalities deice their roads in the wintertime. They will work with employees at the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT) as well as companies that offer various deicing solutions to accomplish this.

• APIS Technologies: Founders Jennifer Medhaug and Michael Schwartz are using drone technologies to assist the pollination process and increase crop yields. Their focus is on supplementing pollination already completed via the honey bee, with the aim of taking the pressure off the struggling species and allowing for regeneration of the population.

• GuitarBot: Founders Liz Strobel, Thomas Mascitelli and Joseph Koch are using the technology they have developed to introduce K-12 students to engineering experiences.

• Ticket: Founders Tom Wagner, Lukas Wieder, Alec Francello and AJ Schaeffer are working on creating a convenient and interactive application that allows users to better track and receive notifications about the UD bus system.