Merging the best of nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and imagineering
During a two-week period in June 2011, 25 students from diverse backgrounds attended BizTech Academy at DCTC and discovered the commonalities between STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and the world of business while earning three college credits. BizTech Academy combined facets of nanotechnology, entrepreneurship and imagineering, giving students the chance to explore new interests and experience life on a college campus firsthand. Students also acquired the tools to establish their first micro-enterprise and register that business with the state of Minnesota.
“We’ve been amazed how engaged the students have been from the beginning,” said Lisa Bah, the college’s associate dean of business entrepreneurship instruction and customized training. “They brought a myriad of business concepts, from micro-enterprises to projects that would require significant investments. They haven’t been jaded by the business world—and in many ways, they’ve created some really innovative businesses.”
Christine Pigsley, an entrepreneurship/small business instructor could not have been more impressed by the caliber of students that took part in BizTech Academy. “Student ingenuity and quality of work blew my socks off,” Pigsley said. “I’m convinced now more than ever that getting students into college-level entrepreneurship training as early as possible is economic development at its finest.”
Praise from four participants…
Cassie Solis | DCTC Individualized Studies Major | Blue Knights Soccer Midfielder
Cassie Solis, 19, is a sophomore at DCTC majoring in Individualized Studies with an emphasis on business management and marketing. Cassie also covers the left midfielder position on the DCTC Blue Knights women’s soccer team, which made it to the championship game of the 2010 NJCAA Region XI Women’s Soccer Tournament and went 17–6 for the season. She graduated from Farmington High School in 2010, playing varsity soccer for the Tigers her junior and senior years. Currently working at Best Buy in Apple Valley, Minn., she looks forward to taking more business classes at Minnesota State University Mankato after graduating from DCTC. Cassie is making plans for a career in Best Buy corporate.
“BizTech is a great experience. I’ve enjoyed learning from other people and seeing how they work together. I’m used to working as part of team and I’ve had fun helping out during the various activities.”
Maui Kahiapo | Spring Lake Park High School Senior
Maui Kahiapo, 17, is exceptionally active as a senior at Spring Lake Park High School. Maui is a member of the tech crew that builds sets and manages sound and lights for school plays. Tech crew also handles various renovation projects around the school. He sings in choir and plays tight end and defensive end for the Panthers varsity football team. With the guidance of his sister Haunani, 28, and his brother Nuuanu, 32, both active in Amway Global, he has learned the nuts and bolts of entrepreneurship. His career goals are focused on working as a business analyst in his own company after attending either the University of Minnesota or the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
“BizTech gave me the opportunity to take on a leadership role during team-building activities. I met a lot of great new people while learning how to build a business.”
Ana Alonso | Jefferson High School Sophomore
Ana Alonso, 15, participated in the Nanoscience Technology track during BizTech. Ana hails from four generations of entrepreneurs. A sophomore at Jefferson High School in Bloomington, Minn., she plays the cello, teaches swimming, volunteers at an area hospital, competes on both her school’s speech and math teams, and practices Middle Eastern dancing. Her long-term interests are centered on graduating from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. From there, she wants to run her own business based on developing superhydrophobic nanomaterials. She is drawn to science, but really loves the idea of starting her own business in the family tradition.
“BizTech is totally awesome. We worked with amazing equipment in the nanoscience lab at DCTC, including atomic force and scanning electron microscopes. We also visited the clean room at the Nanofabrication Center at the University of Minnesota.”
David Roland | Apple Valley High School Senior
David Roland, 17, attends the School of Environmental Studies, or SES, next to the Minnesota Zoo. David is a senior at his home high school—Apple Valley High School—where he is captain of the speech team. At AVHS, he is also active in choir and theater, the latter as an actor in productions such as Amadeus. He is a member of the Apple Valley Arts Foundation and serves as a consultant for ISD 196?s Gifted and Talented Advisory Council. David’s career goals have aimed him toward politics and more schooling at Gustavus Adolphus. He already interns as a lobbyist for the League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota School Boards Association. He is also involved at Uponor North America, where he is researching the oversight of executive decisions.
On BizTech Academy:
“BizTech Academy has been an absolute blast. It’s similar to SES— and I love the way we learn both there and here. The instructors have been great. They respect us as people and treat us as if we were already college graduates.”
To learn more about BizTech Academy, contact:
- Lisa Bah
Associate Dean of Business Entrepreneurship Instruction and Customized Training
For more information about the Nanoscience Technology program, contact:
- Deb Newberry
Nanoscience Technology Director and Instructor
For more information about the Entrepreneurship/Small Business program, contact:
- Bob Voss
Entrepreneurship/Small Business Instructor
- Christine Pigsley
Entrepreneurship/Small Business Instructor