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EverRepair – 5 Ways to Break Your Phone, 1 Way to Fix It by Francisco Flores ’17

By Contributing Writer on November 23, 2015
Francisco Flores

Francisco Flores ’17

EverRepair is an iPhone repair service founded and operated by Francisco Flores ‘17 and Daniel Martucci ‘17, through the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute. With mentorship and resources provided by TIA and the Colgate Bookstore, we were able to recently begin working out of the bookstore, offering affordable, convenient, and professional service by certified technicians for Apple repair needs.

Nowadays, the most common iPhone injury is the cracked screen. It seems as though the slightest impact can shatter an entire phone screen, making it nearly impossible to use. Here we’ve compiled five of the craziest stories students have told about breaking their phones. These stories are based on real scenarios, as told to technicians at EverRepair.

5 Ways to Break Your Phone, 1 Way to Fix It

Daniel Martucci '17

Daniel Martucci ’17

5. The Drop – “This may have been the biggest mix of stupidity and bad luck ever. I was running late for an interview in New York City when I realized I had forgotten my phone in my dorm room, on the third floor. With no time to spare, I had the passenger of my car call my roommate to drop my phone down to me…from the third story window. As I watched the iPhone falling towards me with the speed of a bullet, I freaked out, stepped aside and let it hit the ground. Luckily, it landed in the grass but after closer inspection discovered it had landed directly on a rock, shattering the entire screen and now half of the screen was black. I thought I would have to get an entirely new phone, but I had heard about EverRepair, and decided to have them check it out first. After the free diagnostic test that they offered, I got the good news that they would be able to fix it. I had a brand new iPhone within an hour!” (Colgate junior)

4. The Invincible Screen Protector – “I had just gotten my brand new iPhone 6 and decided not to spend the money on a quality case, and opted for the new tempered-glass screen protector, since they are supposed to prevent your screen from breaking, or so I thought. Later that night at a party, I was bragging about how strong the screen protector was, and to demonstrate I stood up, held out my phone and dropped it screen first, fully confident that it would be stay in perfect condition. As I picked it up, I realized that not only was the screen protector broken, but the entire screen underneath was shattered and unresponsive. I was really embarrassed, and I realized that this could be the end of my day old phone. I reached out to EverRepair and they met me the next day, fixed my phone in just one hour (after I thought it was completely done for), and even installed a new screen protector!” (Colgate sophomore)

3. The Relief Throw – “Well, I was at the library for hours upon hours finishing a research paper I had put off till the last minute, like most “responsible” college kids do on occasion. To avoid any distractions, I put my iPhone in the front pocket of my backpack and zipped it to keep it far out of reach. Coming up on hour 8 in the library, I finally finished and going to bed was the only thing on my mind. I raced home, got to my room, tossed my backpack on the ground and dove into bed. The next morning I could not find my phone for the life of me. I realized I had left it in my backpack, but when I went to retrieve it, it was completely shattered from me throwing my backpack and all of my books landing on it. The screen still worked but it was so cracked that pieces of glass were cutting my finger. I immediately scheduled an appointment with EverRepair, and they were able to fix my phone in an hour!” (Colgate senior)everrepair

2. Learn-to-Skate – “This is such a dumb story but whatever. I was at the open hours in the ice skating rink at Colgate. I am from southern California so I am obviously not a great ice skater. I was skating around when I lost control and both of my feet flew out from under me, and I slammed down on my butt. My butt hurt, but even worse, my phone was in my back pocket and the screen was shattered and different colored lines were going everywhere and I couldn’t use it! I figured I would have to drive all the way to Syracuse for someone to just look at it to potentially tell me they couldn’t do anything and I would have to get a new phone. My friend told me about a new iPhone repair service right here on campus called EverRepair. They offered a free diagnostic so, with nothing to lose, I went to them totally expecting bad news. To my surprise, they said it was an easy fix, and returned my phone in under an hour! I have never been more impressed.” (Colgate freshman)

1. The Overreaction – “It was Tuesday and nothing was going on, so we got a group of kids together to watch a scary movie. I’m really into scary movies, but this one turned out to be one of the scariest movies I have seen in a while. In one part there was a big lull and then someone popped out and my friend, anticipating the moment, screamed directly into my ear. I got so scared that I threw my phone at the wall. It was obvious that it was broken since bits of glass surrounded the phone now lying face down on the floor. Everything still worked, but the entire screen was covered with cracks. I knew I was never going to get it fixed because I didn’t have the time to drive to New Hartford. My friend referred me to EverRepair and it made things so much easier, since it’s on campus and especially since I only had to be without my phone for an hour!” (Colgate junior)

So, here’s how it works. Customers simply make an appointment with one of our certified technicians through the website, http://www.EverRepair.com/. Once the appointment is set up, the customer drops off their phone, and returns in an hour to pick up their fully repaired phone. Our service offers Colgate students and others a brand new alternative to driving hours to have their phones repaired. EverRepair also offers competitive rates compared to other repair stores located in New Hartford and Syracuse. So when you’re at school, there are countless ways to break your phone, but there is only one fast and convenient way to fix it. EverRepair. A company run by students for students!!!

Frankie Flores is a hard working junior at Colgate University, majoring in Computer Science. He comes from Tampa, FL and is the president of Theta Chi fraternity. He also DJs in his spare time.

Dan Martucci is also a junior at Colgate double majoring in Geography and History. He’s from Princeton, NJ and is also a member of Theta Chi.

A Loo for You! by Emma Loftus ’16

By Contributing Writer on October 20, 2015
Emma Loftus '16

Emma Loftus ’16

In the fall of 2014 I studied abroad in Florence, Italy. During my travels within Italy and the rest of Europe, my friends and I often wandered around in new cities looking for restrooms. Oftentimes, we were in countries where there was a major language barrier and we were unable to ask for directions. After returning home I began to realize that this problem affects people of all ages and demographics, including college students traveling on a budget, parents with young children, or people traveling on their own. It also applies to all unfamiliar settings, whether it’s on a road trip, in an unexplored part of one’s home city, or in a completely new place.

That’s where my venture comes in. A Loo for You! is an iOS application that will provide its users with maps of their location through integrated Google Maps within the app. The maps will appear with display markers that alert users of the nearest usable bathrooms.Loo

The first step to bringing my thought to actuality was to find team members with the skills I was lacking. I was able to find two teammates within the Computer Science department who have some experience in creating apps and are eager to learn more, which seemed appropriate, as this is a learning experience for me as well. My teammates are Katey Loughran ’16 and Maggie Orr ’17.

Although the idea for this application may seem simple, the actual implantation is not. It is not feasible to make maps of the entire world right away, so our test market will be New York. This will be fairly easy as there are maps for thruway rest stops and public restrooms within New York City readily available online. Our job will be to compile them and provide them in a user friendly and interactive format. We have also faced the question of whether it is appropriate to include facilities in places of business, as the bathroom is often for customers only. In the interest of creating a product quickly, we are not doing so for now. However, as our venture grows, this may come into play.

As our team further develops our product, we will include some sort of ranking system for cleanliness and amenities within the bathroom facilities. This would also include whether bathrooms have a fee associated with them, as many European public facilities do. These features will most likely include the participation of users, who can upload new locations and provide feedback.

Emma Loftus is a senior from Rochester, NY. On campus she is involved in a variety of activities such as interning in the office of communications, being an admissions tour guide, serving as the financial vice president of delta delta delta, and participating in the senior class gift committee. 


Oak Atkinson ’87: Touching Hearts One by One with tumbalina

By Contributing Writer on September 21, 2015
Oak Atkinson Colgate class of '87

Oak Atkinson ’87

My company is tumbalina. Our mission is “Touching hearts one by one.” My job is to make people smile. When we are really successful, we make someone shed a tear of joy. We happen to do this by way of greeting cards and it’s a fun way to make a living. So, how did I get here?

Well, I’m not easily satisfied. I raise the bar as fast as I achieve a goal. I really don’t consider myself successful, but I guess others think differently and asked me to join TIA Entrepreneurship Institute. It’s a real honor. To give back to Colgate and to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes. It’s also fun. Oh yeah, so how did I get here?

A little background. Both of my parents were from Korea but I spent my childhood in a little Ugandan town called Masaka where my dad was the local surgeon. With no gift shops in town, I started designing and making cards as a little girl. I never imagined that one day I would make my living running an award-winning card company.

From Uganda we ended up in NYC and I was fortunate to be admitted to Colgate, class of 1987. After college, I joined my favorite catalog company, J.Crew, where I was responsible for advertising and customer acquisition. Then on to Avon Products, I launched the company’s first consumer catalog and directed the marketing, merchandising, and creative. Somewhere in between, I got my MBA from Fordham. After that, I ended up at Gannett newspapers as the Advertising Development Director. My last corporate job was with an upscale travel company, Tauck, where I headed up the marketing and creative departments. I did not enjoy all of these jobs but each added a different experience and tools that prepared me to start my own company. So after a long journey, I went back to my passion of making people smile in creative ways. That was the smartest thing I’ve done in my career.card visual-01_opt

In my first year of business, in 2003, we won several industry awards, including a “Louie”, (the Oscars of the stationery industry), and the American Package Design Award. From there it’s been off to the races. This past year we sold over $18 million worth of cards online for clients like Snapfish, Walgreens, and Walmart.

So, what does this have to do with Colgate? Good question. Well, I assure you it has everything to do with Colgate. A liberal arts education — especially a COLGATE liberal arts education — gave me the broad perspective to use both sides of my brain, to combine the creative and business acumen to be a successful entrepreneur. And because Colgate really challenged me (sometimes to the point of self-doubt and tears!), I was not only given the tools but the spirit to succeed. And there’s nothing more instrumental to success than believing that you can achieve your dreams.

If there’s a lesson in my story that I want to convey as a TIA mentor, it is that you must both welcome and overcome challenges. And you also must have aspirations — passions, goals, whatever you want to call it; a reason to pop out of bed in the morning. Simply put, pursue your dreams…and persevere.


Erica Pais ’17 on making connections through baking

By Contributing Writer on August 19, 2015
Erica Pais '17

Erica Pais ’17

From my experience in the Thought Into Action Student Incubator, I have learned a great deal. This past year I realized that creating and running a business from the ground-up, especially as a nineteen-year-old, full-time college student, is no simple task. However, because of the support, advice, and dedication from incredible family, experienced mentors, and friends always hungry for surplus cupcakes, I can now say that my business, Baking Connections, has seen growth and success over the past year. Thanks to my TIA experience, along with my undying love of food and its magical unifying capabilities, I saw my dreams transform into reality. At our sessions, I introduced Colgate students to Hamilton residents and taught individuals with no baking experience how to perfect cookie dough topped brownies and apple pie cupcakes, among other desserts. Nothing has made me feel more like a ‘real adult’ than receiving my very own business cards that say ‘Erica Pais: Owner & CEO’.

After a year of generating ideas, improving upon a business plan, and seeing my baking aspirations turn into a tangible success, I had an incredible experience at E-Weekend in April. Finally able to share Baking Connections (along with 100 cupcakes and 250 cookies) with the greater Colgate community, I had the opportunity to speak with countless alumni, parents, and students about my hopes for the future of the business. The flood of support thatBaking_Connections_FIN_CMYK visitors to my table showed was overwhelming, in the best way, and I was even happier when I saw people enjoying my homemade baked goods. Many alumni had great comments, suggestions, and questions that made me think out of the box. One alum in particular has stayed in contact and continues to dedicate time to correspond over email in order help me think of ways to grow Baking Connections over the long term.

My experience with Baking Connections in TIA further fueled my curiosity about start-ups and nonprofits. This summer, I interned at tilt (The Institute for Leadership and Training) and Community Servings in Boston. At both placements I succeeded, in part, thanks to my TIA experience. tilt is a start-up that provides mental toughness training and leadership development for college athletes. As a business development intern, I drew significantly from our lessons about branding and marketing in order to help create a social media campaign and work on a variety of projects to enhance the brand. My second internship complemented the start-up experience nicely. Community Servings, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, prepares and delivers meals to Massachusetts residents who are living with life-threatening illnesses and are too sick to cook for themselves and their families (among other program initiatives). As the communications intern, I saw, in action, the importance of topics we covered in TIA, such as meaningful networking, building a personal brand, and fulfilling a market need. Working at Community Servings was an incredible opportunity for me because the organization marries two aspects that I hope to encapsulate with Baking Connections: cooking and social justice.

I am so excited to return to campus in the spring and bring what I learned this summer to Baking Connections. Overall, it was a summer well spent, getting some valuable work experience that will help propel my venture to the next level. Thanks to my TIA training, I always felt confident in sharing my ideas at both organizations. This summer has been a great reminder of how much TIA has given to me and taught me.

Erica Pais is a rising junior from Sharon, MA and a Sociology major/Educational Studies minor. On campus, she interns at Career Services, co-leads the COVE American Heart Association Club, works as a tour guide, and is an active member of both the Club Volleyball Team and Colgate Jewish Union. Erica will study abroad this fall in Florence, Italy.


Social Entrepreneurship: How I turned my thought into action with TIA by Amanda Brown ’15

By Contributing Writer on June 30, 2015
Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at  Entrepreneur Weekend in April.

Amanda Brown ’15 (left) talks with a student at Entrepreneur Weekend in April.

Ten minutes.

That’s all it took to raise more than $30,000 for my fledgling non-profit organization, a U.S. branch of Children and Youth First.

That works out to about $50 a second.

Listen to Amanda talk about Life Vision Academy

The money will go toward building a new boarding school for 200 underprivileged children at the Life Vision Academy in Nepal, and it’s the direct result of the powerful Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute (TIA) at Colgate University.

Specifically, this was a result of this year’s annual Entrepreneur Weekend on campus. E-Weekend, as it is fondly known, started at Colgate in 2012 when I was a first-year student. That year, our president hosted a Q & A session with Sir Richard Branson. In 2013, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg delivered a speech based on her book Lean In, and last year some of my friends and fellow students presented their startup ideas to an all-star panel that included Ashton Kutcher.

I’ve been a student-entrepreneur in TIA for only eight months. Participants spend one Saturday every month in group and individual workshops, learning from dozens of alumni and parent mentors who travel to Hamilton, N.Y. specifically to help us improve our elevator pitches, pitch decks, and business plans. Between those special Saturdays, we hold conference calls with our mentors and do a whole lot of going back to our respective drawing boards.

I was given the opportunity to conclude this year’s E-Weekend by pitching my venture on stage at a closing reception in the TIA incubator. I presented the pitch deck I developed at TIA, and I also showed a short video I’d put together with some of the Nepali children sending their messages of hope and thanks to the Colgate community.

As the video concluded, many in the audience were in tears. One alum raised his hand and pledged $10,000 if others would match it. Immediately, hands went up all over the room, sparking an impromptu fundraising firestorm. From the oldest alumni to the youngest undergraduates, audience members dug into their pockets. There have been entire years when Life Vision Academy didn’t see that much money. Raising so much in such a short amount of time left me speechless.

“I don’t think this could have happened at another school,” said Wills Hapworth, TIA’s alumni executive director.

That was all I could say after the event as well; this could not have happened without Colgate. Our network of alumni, parents, students, and faculty is unlike what other institutions can offer, and I would have never had the platform – or the skills and confidence – to share Life Vision Academy’s story with them if it weren’t for TIA.

The Colgate community has truly taken one undergrad’s idea and turned it into collective action. I have two favorite schools in the world, and to see the one in Hamilton, N.Y. unite like this with the one in Bhaktapur, Nepal has been unbelievable.

It’s amazing how much can change in 10 minutes.

Amanda Brown graduated this past spring with a major in Peace and Conflict Studies and a minor in Religion. She was one of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund winners and was awarded a $15,000 grant for her non-profit. Amanda will continue working with CYFUSA while pursuing a Masters degree in either education policy or human rights.

2015 Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund Winners

By Mary Galvez on June 23, 2015
L to R: Dave Meyers, Alex Drakos, Caroline Danehy, Amanda Brown, Wills Hapworth, Shav Garg, Raffi Khatchadourian, Adam Buys, Alex Relph

L to R: Dave Meyers, Alex Drakos, Caroline Danehy, Amanda Brown, Wills Hapworth, Shav Garg, Raffi Khatchadourian, Adam Buys, Alex Relph

Congratulations to the six teams who were chosen as winners of the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund announced at this years Entrepreneur Weekend. The fund was established in 2013 to grow and advance the ventures of Colgate student and alumni entrepreneurs who are solving problems and demonstrating an ability to execute. The winners are:



Brainstorm Technologies – a wearable headset to improve learning using tDCS (Transcranial direct-current stimulation).

David Myers ’14 and Alex Drakos ’16


CYFUSAChildren and Youth First USA – a non-profit that works to protect young Nepalis’ right to education.

Amanda Brown ’15


echoEcho App – helps you and your friends decide what to do on any given night.

Adam Buys ’17 and Julian Mazza


Fair Harbor Clothing – an active lifestyle brand for simple living.fair harbor

Jake Danehy ’16 and Caroline Danehy ’19



indify Indify – aggregates relevant artist statistics in on easy to find place.

Keshav Garg ’15 and Raffi Khatchadourian ’17


 Platform Athleticsplatform – an elite online performance training platform.

Alex Relph ’09 and Sam Breslin ’09




TIA blog series: TIA – My Experience by Ariel Sherry ’15

By Contributing Writer on June 23, 2015


Jessica Alba and Jennifer Hyman meet with the Colgate Women in Business group on the opening day of Entrepreneur Weekend

Jessica Alba and Jennifer Hyman meet with the Colgate Women in Business group on the opening day of Entrepreneur Weekend

This is a story about the Colgate community, gerontology, entrepreneurship, Jessica Alba, and a job interview in California with the CEO of a new start up.

As a first year student, I joined the Adopt-a-Grandparent COVE group and discovered a passion for working with seniors. I took Professor Meika Loe’s Sociology of the Lifecourse class, which is all about aging and it inspired me to take what I was learning in the classroom and use it to better the lives of seniors. Despite my eagerness to help elders, I didn’t know how to go about doing something to make a difference. That’s when Professor Loe encouraged me to apply for the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Institute.

I was hesitant because I didn’t understand how creating a business was going to help me with my mission to help seniors. Also, I didn’t consider myself an entrepreneur.

Since I only had a rough idea of helping seniors, I was intimidated and shy at the start of TIA. But I stuck with it and began to gain confidence. One of the key lessons TIA taught me was how to effectively present or pitch my venture. Pitching required the ability to clearly and succinctly tell people about the problem I was solving, and how I planned to solve it.

I became good enough that in April 2014, I was selected to pitch my venture at the first-ever Shark Tank event on Entrepreneur Weekend. I was able to stand in front of more than 2,000 people, including a superstar panel, and pitch my idea. The experience made me a more assured public speaker and it gave me so much confidence.

At Entrepreneur Weekend 2014, Ariel Sherry ‘15 presents to an all-star panel in a Shark Tank

At Entrepreneur Weekend 2014, Ariel Sherry ‘15 presents to an all-star panel in a Shark Tank

Which brings me back to Jessica Alba.

Days before Entrepreneur Weekend, a TIA mentor alerted me to an amazing new startup trying to reinvent in-home senior care. Jessica Alba is one of their investors.

I made it my mission to ask her to connect me with the company. During a Q and A session with Jessica Alba and Jenn Hyman, founder of Rent The Runway, I seized the opportunity to ask Alba about the company and told her I wanted a job there. She agreed to connect me with the CEO and founder, a good friend of her husband’s.

A few days later I heard from the CEO and he asked when I could come to California to meet for an interview. We met this weekend. I don’t know what will come of it, but what I do know is that none of this would have been possible without the confidence I gained from TIA.

I can say with certainty that of all the things I’ve been a part of on campus, TIA has been the program that best represents what it was that drew me to Colgate in the first place. I came to Colgate because people here have a strong sense of community. At TIA, students, alumni, community members, and faculty and staff come together to make amazing things happen.

Congratulations to Ariel Sherry ’15 who was named Salutatorian for the Colgate class of 2015. Ariel was active in TIA for 2 years where she created her venture Age Together. She was chosen to pitch in last year’s eWeekend Shark Tank where she walked away with $5000 for her venture. Ariel was a double major in Psychology and Religion. In addition to TIA, Ariel was a team leader of Adopt-a-Grandparent, vice-president of finance for Delta Delta Delta sorority, member of the Konosioni Senior Honor Society, and Luminaria Chair for Colleges Against Cancer. Ariel graduated Summa Cum Laude, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and received numerous other honors and awards during her four years at Colgate. Congratulations and best of luck Ariel!  


Another great eWeekend testimonial

By Mary Galvez on May 13, 2015
Keshav Garg '15 pitches Indify to the superstar panel (photo by Andy Daddio)

Keshav Garg ’15 pitches Indify to the superstar panel (photo by Andy Daddio)

Scott Spector, a writer for the Commercial Observer, a NYC real estate newspaper, happened to be on the Colgate campus on April 10 for a college visit with his son. The date coincided with the opening night of eWeekend, so Mr. Spector and his son decided to attend the all-star panel discussion, followed by the popular Colgate version of Shark Tank. Although they found the panel interesting, according to Mr. Spector, the fun really began when the students began pitching. Father and son were “amazed with the depth of the ideas and the provocative, insightful commentary from the panel.”

Read the full article here. Thanks to Kevin Danehy ’83 for forwarding the article to our attention.


TIA blog series: Echo App, eWeekend, and TIA by Adam Buys ’17

By Contributing Writer on May 11, 2015
Adam Buys '17 pitches Echo App during eWeekend

Adam Buys ’17 pitches Echo App during eWeekend

Almost a month later I still get excited thinking back to Colgate’s Entrepreneur Weekend. From the all star panel, which included the likes of Jessica Alba and Neil Blumenthal, to the demo day that gave students like myself a chance to pitch their businesses in front of hundreds of alumni, eWeekend was an incredible experience. This capstone event marked the end of what was another great year for Colgate’s Thought into Action Entrepreneurship Institute. Since being accepted into the TIA Student Incubator back in September, I have been fortunate enough to get my business off the ground and take part in many of the great opportunities that TIA provides.

My venture is called Echo. Echo is a mobile application that looks at a user’s location and then generates a list of events happening around the user on that day. Since its conception, we have developed the application on multiple platforms, created extensive marketing plans, and have been fortunate enough to secure $15,000 in seed funding from Colgate’s Entrepreneur Fund. I can confidently say however, that none of this would have been possible without TIA. While developing the technology of the app, we were mentored by alums that were founders or cofounders of tech startups themselves. While planning Echo’s business model, we spoke with dozens of TIA mentors who invest in and mentor early stage startups to learn about what often works and what doesn’t. I realized very early on in TIA that a fifteen-minute conversation with someone who has already been in my position can save weeks of time that would otherwise be lost trying to solve a problem that someone else has already encountered and solved.echo

The unique advantage of TIA compared to entrepreneurship programs at other schools is the level of commitment and success of the mentors who take the time each month to come back to campus and mentor student entrepreneurs. One of the first things I found while starting Echo was that I knew almost nothing about how to build a business. The mentors in TIA have helped bridge the knowledge gap by providing hands on advice for everything from filing legal documents to thinking strategically about how to get the app in front of as many people as possible. I would strongly encourage any Colgate student with an idea for a business or not-for-profit venture to apply to TIA. Don’t let a fear of not knowing the next steps hold you back.

Adam Buys ’17 is a sophomore at Colgate majoring in Mathematics with a minor in either Computer Science or Philosophy. In his free time, Adam is an active member of the Colgate Debate Society. He is currently the president of the team and has won several tournaments including the novice national championship. His business partner is Julian Mazza ’18, a student at the University of Arizona and a Tucson native, also Adam’s hometown.


What TIA has meant to me by Daniel Mosko ’17, Founder of PetFed

By Contributing Writer on April 23, 2015
Daniel Mosko '17 presents to an all-star panel

Daniel Mosko ’17 presents to an all-star panel during Entrepreneur Weekend

I came into my first year of the Thought Into Action Student Incubator with nothing more than an idea and walked away with all the knowledge, connections, and resources needed to be successful in the competitive world of business. That’s a loaded statement if there ever was one, but let me explain.

In the Incubator, all the ventures are broken into small groups where 3-5 alumni mentors focus on your group specifically. My mentors went above and beyond what was asked of them and really took me under their wing. I came to TIA with absolutely no idea of what to do to progress my venture. The mentors pushed me in the right direction and taught me the true value of networking. As it turns out, there are Colgate connections to just about everything petfedyou can think of. Some of my friends who were trying to start businesses ended up failing because they didn’t know how to do something that was required for their business; for example building a prototype. TIA taught me the value of not being afraid to ask. In order to be able to ask, you need someone to ask, which brings me back to that networking thing.

The other huge tool TIA gave me this year was the ability to present. In my first pitch to just a small group, I was nervous and ended up stuttering my way through the entire thing. By the end of the year, I was able to pitch my venture to a celebrity panel during Entrepreneur Weekend – in front of more than 2,000 people. The mentors want to see us succeed and in my case specifically, that meant doing a lot of work on my pitch.

Think about how much collective experience these mentors have, coming from backgrounds ranging from CEO’s of successful companies to young entrepreneurs themselves. Getting constructive feedback from just a fraction of them allowed me to identify my weaknesses and work on them with help from these mentors until they no longer existed.

This year’s work in TIA culminated in Entrepreneur Weekend, where the kickoff event featured a panel of incredibly accomplished celebrity entrepreneurs. The panel discussion concluded with a student venture shark tank where four student ventures were selected to get on stage and pitch to these celebrities and CEOs.

I attended the event last year as a freshman and when I was sitting in that audience, I remember thinking how cool it was that students just a year or two older than me got to be on that stage with all of those celebrities right there in front of them. I never thought I would have been one of them, yet alone the very next year. Just goes to show what one is capable of doing in TIA!

I whole-heartily recommend applying for TIA – I went from watching, to pitching MC Hammer and Jessica Alba.