A Tale of Transformation

By Mike Kijewski LPS’10/WG’12, Founder of Gamma Basics

After undergrad, I was teaching AP chemistry and physics to suburban Philadelphia seniors.  My young, undergraduate vision included inspiring them to look at the world in an inquisitive and analytical way and to strive for personal evolution.  After three years of trying to help them discover their own dreams, I understood that I was failing at my own teaching.  While I loved my experiences inside the classroom, I realized that I wanted a career that was more entrepreneurial while still helping to improve the lives of those around me.

Mike used WVA funds to attend the 2011 American Association of Physicists in Medicine converence in Vancouver. At that show, they met their second largest customer.
Mike used WVA funds to attend the 2011 American Association of Physicists in Medicine converence in Vancouver. At that show, they met their second largest customer.

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Somewhere above Europe

By Jon Cooper WG’09/CAS’03, Founder of Life.io

Here’s where I am right now: somewhere above Europe, en-route from Dubai, a screen reads 10h 24m until touchdown in JFK. Here’s what’s going through my head:

Won’t be home until midnight. Must be fresh and ready to go to by 6 am. Duty free had a great toy selection. Thank God. It’s my son’s birthday. He will be 4. What? He’ll be 4!? Wow. Time is flying. This also means Life.io will be 4 soon. When did this all happen? Crazy.

This is my tenth JFK/Dubai leg in under a year, and my mind is racing. There are so many things to prep, deliver, adjust (no, enhance. Enhance sounds better…). With the stress, jet lag and three hours sleep, it feels like I’m caught somewhere between a good dream and an anxiety dream.

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Prevent Plagiarism, Teach Political Correctness, Be a Boss in Business

By Matt McGuire WG’16

Editor’s note: Lucy Peng and Lucy Zhang received a Wharton Innovation Fund award and won a Wharton Venture Award for 2015, and spent the summer in China, working on their company. Read about their experience here

It’s really pretty tragic when you think about it. Imagine: You spend your entire life in a hyper-competitive system fighting for a spot in a prestigious university. You get to school at 6:30 am for an hour of intense pre-class reading. After classes get out at 5:30pm, you dine with your classmates for an hour then go back school and study until 10pm. Then you go home and study for at least another hour. And that’s Monday through Saturday—and then also Sunday, Lucy Peng (WG’16) tells me. Peng then proceeds to quote one of her teachers when she was a student in China: “You are free every Sunday afternoon to take a shower.”

That’s what school is like in China.

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A Walk and Talk with Prof. Kartik Hosanagar

Wharton Professor Kartik Hosanagar invites students to join him for his walk home from work. Katlyn Grasso W’16, founder of GenHERation, Venture Initiation Program member, Wharton Venture Award winner, walked with him one night, and they talked about her interest in social entrepreneurship.

Talks like this between professors and students are what make the Wharton experience truly exceptional—and turn aspiring entrepreneurs in to founders. Click here for their Walk and Talk.

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Wharton Venture Award: A Judge’s Perspective

By Carol Curley WG’81

This year was my second opportunity to serve as a judge for the Wharton Venture Awards.  In addition to working with a great team of fellow judges to select the award recipients, I also have the opportunity to continue to follow the progress of the students. After last year’s program, I was able to act as a mentor to one of the recipients, Katlyn Grasso, CEO and Founder of GenHERation. The progress she has made on GenHeration is amazing and I was thrilled to learn that Katlyn had recently been awarded the University’s “President’s Engagement Prize” which not only validates her business proposal but also provides funding to help her actually build her business. As an active angel investor, supporting young entrepreneurs and celebrating their successes is one of the most rewarding aspects of being involved in the early-stage ecosystem.

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GenHERation: Wharton Venture Award 2014

By Katlyn Grasso W’15, Founder of GenHERation

At 4:03 AM in the morning, my team met at the entrance of the Philadelphia airport with eight suitcases, four banners, and optimistic smiles. As part of the first GenHERation Summer Leadership Series, we were scheduled to visit five cities in the next seven days to hold workshops for more than 500 girls across the United States. GenHERation is a female empowerment network for millennial girls. We provide girls the opportunity to work with national corporations and nonprofit organizations to develop their own advocacy campaigns to address community issues. After receiving the 2014 Wharton Venture Award, I dedicated my summer to the national expansion of GenHERation.

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GenHERation in Los Angeles

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