A Place for UMBC Entrepreneurs

Achsah Joseph, ’12, Interdisciplinary Studies and Media & Communication Studies, is a Communications Specialist with UMBC’s Office of Institutional Advancement

Achsah JosephIn my sophomore year at UMBC, I took POLI 205: Civic Engagement and Social Entrepreneurship. Through the class, I worked with a group of students to find out a way to promote civic engagement and human rights issues at UMBC. As we put together a proposal, we struggled to find a place to meet in order to discuss and improve our ideas. The Commons was too noisy, the library was too crowded and classrooms were always in use. We needed a place that would allow us to work on our project but also let us interact with like-minded people with whom we could share ideas, receive feedback and refine our plans.

That space didn’t exist then, but it does now. In February, the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship opened the Entre-space, a place for students across all disciplines to gather and work in an entrepreneurial environment. At the grand opening, students shared their stories, projects and vision for the space. There was even an announcement on a white board—a student already utilizing the room to ask for help with his project. Located in the Academic Services Building (old Theater), Room 139, Entre-space plans to host workshops on topics such as starting a business and pitching stories to the media. Members of the entrepreneurship faculty and business community will also use the space to hold office hours, offering mentoring and guidance to students.

George Karbatis, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Director of UMBC's Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor, speaks at the Entre-space opening.

George Karbatis, Associate Professor of Information Systems and Director of UMBC’s Entrepreneurship & Innovation Minor, speaks at the Entre-space opening.

At the opening, I spoke to Vivian Armor, director of the Alex. Brown Center, who said, “Entre-space will help create a sense of community among students interested in entrepreneurship on campus.  It will be a place where they can network, learn and develop their business ideas.  It’s exciting to think about what might result from having this space available to students on campus!”

For as long as I have been here, UMBC has encouraged students to take ownership in their campus, sponsoring classes like POLI 205 and contests like Prove It! and the Idea Competition. That’s one of the many reasons I was excited to come back to UMBC as a staff member after spending a year abroad following graduation. The Entre-space supports this spirit of ownership by offering a meeting place and resources for students to work on their ideas and in doing so, better our campus and community.

Contact the author, Achsah Joseph, at achsah1@umbc.edu.

Research for Social Change at URCAD

Janet McGlynn is director of communication and outreach in UMBC’s Office of Undergraduate Education.

mcglynn_cropEach year I have the pleasure of organizing a unique forum for sharing students’ extraordinary research, creative projects and scholarly contributions to the common good. Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievement Day (URCAD) 2013 (Wednesday, April 24th) will feature more than 200 presentations by UMBC students on projects spanning (and sometimes blending) the disciplines.

Some of the projects aimed at contributing in creative ways to positive social change include:

  • 3D Modeling for Older Adults, by Uvonne Andoh, Farnaz Feizian and Joshua Dutterer (Mentor: Amy Hurst, Information Systems). This project explores the use of three-dimensional printing technology to help older adults gain autonomy and enhance their quality of life. 12:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m., Poster Presentation, UC Ballroom.
  • Promoting Social Change through Service Learning, by Kathleen Algire-Fedarcyk (Mentor: Jessica Guzman-Rea, Social Work). This research examines the impact of a BreakingGround grant-funded semester-long Social Work course, in [Read more…]

Social Entrepreneurship @ UMBC

Vivian Armor is Director of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship at UMBC. Amy Froide is associate professor of History at UMBC and a faculty fellow of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurship has been a key component of our entrepreneurial initiatives since the founding of the Alex. Brown Center for Entrepreneurship in 2000. Social entrepreneurs are pioneers of innovation that benefit humanity.  A social entrepreneur is someone who recognizes a social problem and uses entrepreneurial principles to create and implement social change.

We are very excited that last year the university established a new minor in Entrepreneurship & Innovation. The minor is for students in all fields and disciplines, including the arts, social justice work, policy, and activism. Students enrolling in the minor must take two core courses, one of which can be  POLI/AMST/SOCI 205, “Civic Agency and Social Entrepreneurship.” This course has been co-taught by Delana Gregg and David Hoffman for the last four years and is always filled to capacity.

Students can go on to study social entrepreneurship in other courses as well. For example, Professor Amy Froide regularly teaches a seminar on “Entrepreneurs in 18th-century London, England.” In this course, History students research and write papers using original historical documents. One of the students in the course, [Read more…]