Students in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Program come from diverse fields including business, computer science and all parts of the engineering spectrum. They are paired in two-person teams by matching individuals with scientific experience and innovative technology concepts with those pursuing a master in business administration degree.  Projects addressed by program participants related to the biomedical and alternative energy sectors. Each team worked during the spring semester to evaluate the commercial viability of their team’s idea, prepared a business case in hopes to to ultimately create a new business or licensable technology.

The following individuals have graduated from the inaugural program:

Nathaniel J. Blasdel

Nate Blasdel is a first-year Master’s candidate in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from The University of Akron, specializing in Electrochemical Biomimetic sensor technologies.  He graduated from The University of Akron with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, where he also completed three full terms of technical cooperative work at ISP Fine Chemicals.  He has experience in process engineering, and as a research and development chemist.

Kathryn Burns

Katie Burns is a graduate of Case Western Reserve University with both an M.S. and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, and minors in Biology and Chemistry.  She has experience in drafting, FEA analysis, design, and manufacturing, and in various CAD programs including SolidWorks, Pro/E and AutoCAD.  Kathryn also has experience working for her family’s business, Fox Auto Salvage.

Bryan Dickens

Bryan Dickens is an MBA student at The University of Akron.  As an undergraduate he studied both Sociology and Psychology, and he has experience working in the medical sector.  He fulfilled an internship for a nursing facility, where he was responsible for managing cost analyses and financial decision-making.  He aspires to become an administrator within the medical sector.

Christine Flick

Christine Flick is a Senior Engineer at the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron. She holds a degree in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Akron. She has nine years of experience in cardiac, orthopedic, and colorectal devices, and while working at the Cleveland Clinic she primarily focused on procuring and testing the total artificial heart and left ventricular assist devices. Engineering skills include experience with CAD systems, rapid prototyping, SEM, mechanical design, mechanical testing, and data collection.

Courtney Gras

Courtney Gras is currently working toward her B.S. in Electrical Engineering, with a minor in Business for Engineering Majors from The University of Akron.  She holds an Associate’s degree in Science from The University of Akron, Wayne College, and completed post-secondary enrollment from The University of Akron, Hiram College and Cuyahoga Community College.  She completed an engineering co-op for the NASA Glenn Research Center where she served as an acting branch chief, supporting the systems engineering team working on the Radioisotope Power Systems Program and the Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator Project.  She is skilled in numerous software, including Fortran, MATLAB, and Visio.

Jessica Kemppainen

Jessica Kemppainen is a postdoctoral research associate in Akron, expanding on her background in bone and cartilage tissue engineering.  She holds a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from The University of Michigan, and a B.S. in Bioengineering from the University of Toledo.  She worked as a business strategy consultant for McKinsey and Company where she developed post-acquisition strategy for a major pharmaceutical company, developed and implemented segmentation strategies for management of distresses assets for a large US financial institution, and performed a retrospective case study on the launch of synthetic fibers into the apparel industry.

Karen Licona

Karen Licona is a Master’s candidate from The University of Akron, concentrated on Corporate Finance and Management of Technology and Innovation.  She received her B.S. in Computer Systems Engineering from the Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.  She received the Fulbright Scholarship in July 2009 from the U.S. Department of State.  Karen worked as a software developer for Inversiones La Paz Group in Honduras where she completed data analysis for managers, providing information to finance, credit and marketing departments; data mining, identifying trends in sales and credit history; and developed software using C++, Crystal Report and Sybase.  Her technical skills include knowledge of numerous programming languages, software design tools, database management systems and operating systems.

Dias Linton

Dias Linton is a research scholar in Dr. Judit Puskas’ research group at The University of Akron Department of Polymer Science.  She obtained her PhD in Chemistry with a specialization in Polymer Chemistry from the University of Tennessee in 2010, and her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Minnesota in 2005.  Her graduate work involved the understanding and development of multicomponent systems, focusing on the characterization of polymer nanocomposite’s homogeneity, and the extent of interaction between polymer matrix and nanofiller through the utilization of techniques such as small angle x-ray/neutron scattering, Raman spectroscopy, UV-vis spectroscopy, wide angle neutron diffraction and molecular modeling.  She successfully defended her dissertation: The importance of chain connectivity in the formation of noncovalent interaction between polymers and single-walled carbon nanotubes and its impact on dispersion in 2010. Her current research involves the in vivo and in vitro biosynthesis of natural rubber, produced from synthetic isoprene monomer in the presence of enzymatically active Hevea brasiliensis latex or washed rubber particles.

Kathy Liszka

Kathy Liszka is currently a professor in the Department of Computer Science at The University of Akron. She holds a PhD in Computer Science from Kent State University. Liszka has experience in the industrial sector as a software engineer, as well as eighteen years in the academic field and two years with the NASA Glenn Research Center. She is currently interested in the impact of social media, specifically microblogging.

Susan Lowry

Susan Lowry currently runs a consulting firm that provides strategic online visibility and strategic consulting services along with Web Site Design/Development to clients that integrate traditional interactive solutions with organic SEO and Social Media strategies. She obtained her BS in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and holds certifications as an e-Commerce and e-Marketing analyst. She is a current member of the CITE board at The University of Akron and serves on the Entrepreneur’s Idea Exchange Advisory Board (Akron).

Kelly Mackey

Kelly Mackey currently works as the LEA Program Manager with The Entrepreneurs EDGE, developing and branding their annual Leading EDGE Awards program. She obtained her MBA from The University of Akron in 2010, and BBA from The University of Toledo in 2008. In addition, she has worked as a Marketing Research Assistant for Sterling Jewelers, Inc. In the spring of 2010, she worked with a team of three MBA students and two PhD candidates to write a business plan for an improved kidney dialyzer membrane that was developed at the College of Polymer Engineering. The team was recognized as a semifinalist at the 2010 Launchtown competition.

Meredith May

Meredith May is a co-manager and member of the Student Venture Fund at The University of Akron (SVFUA). She is currently in the MBA program at The University of Akron, and is focusing on International Finance. As co-manager of SVFUA, she has gained experience in the workings of new start-up companies.

Vivek Narayan

Vivek Narayan is currently working towards his MBA in Health Care Administration at The University of Akron. He holds a M.Min.&Soc. in Psychoanalytic Theory from Monash University in Australia and an M.B.B.S. in Medicine, Surgery from Kempegowda Institute in Medical Sciences in India. He is currently working on a social networking and health intervention project that revolves around using social media to identify health trends in the community and to leverage health intervention points at the nexus of social media and the behaviors associated with ill health.

Stephanie Schreiber

Stephanie Schreiber is an MBA candidate at the University of Akron. She obtained her MA in Counseling at The Athenaeum of Ohio, and her BSBA in Marketing from The University of Akron. Her experience includes serving as a brand manager/product development manager for Blue Cross & Blue Shield, as a marketing and sales management/consultant for All Foils, and an account services supervisor for Teleperformance USA. Stephanie is specifically interested in the health care industry, and assisting in bringing viable and innovative solutions that translate to quality of life to market.

Lel Somogyi

Lel Somogyi is a project manager for Open World Solutions, a startup management, business attraction, and business technology solutions provider. Lel holds a MS in Management from the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University, and a BS in Computer Engineering from Case Western University. Lel has an extensive background in a variety of industries including biomedical and Life Sciences, an educational background in engineering and in business management, as well as an entrepreneurial skill set and the experiences of starting and running companies in the past.

Tom Vo

Tom Vo is a Master’s graduate student in the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department at The University of Akron.  As an undergraduate at UA, he fulfilled an internship through the NASA Academy, an internship program that provides an in-depth look at NASA and leadership training at the NASA Glenn Research Center.  During this internship, Tom acted as co-leader for a project called “Balloon-Assisted Rocket Launches” during which he completed and constructed electrical design for data acquisition for Rocket Launch Experiments and launching systems.  Most recently, Tom has worked for Dimension Engineering in Tallmadge, Ohio developing testing procedures for the new Motor Driver product line, and obtaining models to predict thermal transfer to heat sink at given power operating conditions.