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Lauren Sanderson ’18 wins 1819 Award

By Dan DeVries on May 10, 2018

Lauren Sanderson ’18 accepts the 1819 Award from President Brian W. Casey. Photo by Mark DiOrio.

Lauren Sanderson ’18 is an entrepreneur, student-athlete, academic all-star, and a soon-to-be published poet who now adds Colgate University’s most prestigious student recognition, the 1819 Award, to her impressive résumé of accomplishments.

The 1819 Award is given annually to one graduating student whose character, scholarship, sportsmanship, and service to others best exemplify the university’s spirit and the value of a liberal arts education.

“Lauren has distinguished herself as a gifted poet who has won a national contest to have her first book of poems published,” wrote nominator Peter Balakian, professor of English and winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. “Lauren was also the captain of the women’s volleyball team and an athlete of high distinction in her four years here. She remains an unusual student and one with real leadership qualities and contributes greatly to the intellectual life of the student body.”

Hailing from London, Ontario, Sanderson is an English major with an emphasis on creative writing. She was the 2017 winner of the Lasher Prize for outstanding talent and has received the Dean’s Award every semester of her Colgate career. On the volleyball court, she was ranked first in setting by the Patriot League and 13th nationally for assists.

While attending department-sponsored workshops, Sanderson organized her own writing roundtables, encouraging and teaching friends and classmates to express themselves through writing. She is a member of the board of organizers for Lounge, an organization that hosts open-mic nights off campus. A peer tutor on campus, Sanderson also volunteers her time in Sherburne, N.Y. to mentor middle school students.

Outside of the classroom and off the court, Sanderson is an active member of the Thought Into Action Entrepreneurship Incubator, where she and Brandon Doby ’18 earned $1,000 in funding during Entrepreneur Weekend for their film-production company, ISO, and was named one of this year’s $13,000 Entrepreneur Fund recipients.

“Every person has a tale to tell, but a rare few hone their storytelling skills across multiple media, across multiple topics; some difficult, others beautiful.” said President Brian W. Casey during the university’s Awards Convocation on May 4. “Our 1819 Award winner has spent the last four years at Colgate working with words, sharing them rather than holding them close. Through her art, she focuses on issues of gender inequality and violence. She has acted on the belief that, if we put our joy and pain on paper, readers will recognize commonalities in the human experience, celebrate differences, and overcome divisiveness.”

Sanderson’s poetry manuscript is slated to be published by Write Bloody Press in March 2019, and she will be embarking on a 20-stop promotional tour after graduation. She plans to apply to graduate school to earn an MFA in creative writing.

 

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The art of entrepreneurship: A day in the life of Brandon Doby ’18 and Lauren Sanderson ’18

By Emily Daniel '18 on April 30, 2018

Photo by Andrew Daddio

For Brandon Doby ’18 and Lauren Sanderson ’18, entrepreneurship exists at the intersection of business acumen and creative risk. These two seniors are both artists and business owners: They created ISO Film, a production company, as a Thought Into Action (TIA) venture in 2016, and have been making experimental films together ever since.

“To sustain yourself as an artist and to give yourself the opportunities to create exactly what you want to create, you need to master the business side, too,” said Doby, a studio arts major from Chicago.

Doby and Sanderson’s business venture took center stage during Colgate’s annual Entrepreneur Weekend April 7. The day was packed with pitching and networking, and it contained a few surprises for the pair.

Brandon Doby ’18 gives Jeff Sharp ’89 (left) a tour of Case-Geyer Library’s studio space

10:00 a.m.

While other student entrepreneurs arrived at the Hall of Presidents to set up their TIA booths, Sanderson and Doby had an impromptu breakfast meeting with Jeffrey Sharp ’89. A panelist during the event’s Shark Tank­­–style pitch competition, Sharp is a successful filmmaker who is known for Boys Don’t Cry and Proof.

The pair gave Sharp a tour of the state-of-the-art audio and video studios they use on the first floor of Case-Geyer Library. Before the studios were built, aspiring musicians and filmmakers like Sharp had to get creative with what Colgate had to offer.

“When we wanted to record music or sound for our movies, we would use the rehearsal spaces in Dana [Arts Center], or in the Chapel basement,” remembered Sharp. “When I think about why Colgate is such a great place for the arts, it’s because there are little spaces like that, available to anyone who’s looking for them.”

11:30 a.m.

Doby and Sanderson put the finishing touches on their ISO Film booth. The pair had clips of their previous projects — including music videos and experimental shorts — rolling on a TV screen and copies of screenplays on the table for visitors to look through.

ISO Film has two branches: ISO Works and ISO Labs. Through ISO Works, Sanderson and Doby take on commissioned projects like event coverage and music videos. Those paid projects help fund ISO Labs, which is the more experimental side of the business; through ISO Labs, the pair have directed several short films and recently finished a documentary.

1:30 p.m.

For this partnership, the main event was the Shark Tank-style competition. Doby and Sanderson gave a concise and compelling pitch to the panel of four “sharks” under a strict time limit — an ominous gong sound-effect rang through the Hall of Presidents when were up.

2:00 p.m.

The panel of “sharks” deliberated and awarded $1,000 to ISO. Sharp, however, had his own gift to give the ISO team: The filmmaker announced he would commission ISO to work on a small project for his production company.

Doby and Sanderson also won a $13,000 grant through the Colgate Entrepreneurs Fund. The program awards student-entrepreneurs with a seed grant, incubator space for the summer in Hamilton, and mentorship from experienced entrepreneurs.

“We’re going to take this full speed ahead,” said Sanderson, an English major. “We’re putting everything we have into the film production company, and hopefully the freelance projects coming in will be enough to sustain us, on top of our funding for our next project.”

Added Doby: “Where we’re at is kind of art commerce. And when we approach commerce, it still has our artistic imprint on it. It still has the poetry in it.”

Doby and Sanderson plan to move to Los Angeles together to grow their company, which has recently been incorporated in California. Also, Sanderson has another creative outlet — her book of poems, published through Write Bloody Publishing, comes out next March, which will be followed by a 20-stop book tour.

“I love that feeling of no net. No matter how big the checks get, there’s a no net sense of individual entrepreneurship that I think drives a lot of great art, because there’s a sense of survival in it,” Doby said.

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Student ventures receive funding during Entrepreneur Weekend

By Melanie Oliva '18 on April 30, 2018

Student entrepreneur Christina Weiler ’21 pitches her venture to a panel of alumni. Photo by Andrew Daddio

During the 7th annual Entrepreneur Weekend, more than 250 alumni, parents, students, and friends came to campus to celebrate and advance the entrepreneurial endeavors of Colgate student entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur Weekend is the capstone to the Thought Into Action (TIA) Incubator, a yearlong commitment in which students develop an idea and make it go live with the help of alumni mentors.

Last Saturday, students presented their TIA ventures in hopes of gaining further mentorship and financial support from the Colgate network. These ventures included for-profit, not-for-profit, and campus/community initiatives.

“Today is a day that can truly transform the trajectory of our students’ lives,” said Wills Hapworth ’07, a co-founder of TIA and the alumni director. “What you see here is how students turned their ideas into reality and, by doing so, begin to transform lives.”

That afternoon, during the panel discussion “Liberal Arts and Entrepreneurship,” panelists shared their experiences in entrepreneurship, highlighting the importance of establishing a good plan, being coachable, and working through failures. Panelists included: Bob Gold ’80, CEO and president of Ridgewood Capital; Jon Klein, co-founder of TAPP Media and former president at CNN/US; Jeffrey Sharp ’89, academy award winning filmmaker and president/CEO of Sharp Independent Pictures; and Katie Finnegan ’05, principal and founder at Store No. 8 and vice president at Incubation Walmart. Finnegan was also awarded the Alumni Council’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Alumni panelists highlighted the ways their Colgate education allowed them to be successful entrepreneurs.

“The liberal arts teaches you how to think,” said Finnegan, who was a history and religion double major. “It taught me how to dissect a problem and how to learn. I know how to take a situation and break it down into quantifiable parts to understand them.”

Sharp reiterated the importance of a Colgate education in fostering passion and entrepreneurial spirit. “Colgate, as a liberal arts institution and in the physical space we occupy,” he said, “offers these nooks and crannies and these places where you can go off to disappear, create, and explore your resources.”

Students then had the opportunity to pitch their ventures during a Shark Tank­–style competition for funding and other support from the panelists.

ISO Film, a creative content house that specializes in film and video production founded by Lauren Sanderson ’18 and Brandon Doby ’18, earned $1,000 and was given a chance to make a film with Academy Award-winning producer Sharp.

Loophole — a rubber ring phone grip and kickstand — and its founder Patrick Crowe ’18 earned $1,000; also, Gold and Finnegan placed orders for more than 2,000 units of branded products.

Gipper, an automated athletics communications service for high schools and colleges, earned $3,000, and Finnegan offered San Francisco office space to its founders Matthew Glick ’19, Jack Zamore ’20, Ruchit Shrestha ’20, and Abby Waxler ’19.

UCan, a social recycling system for colleges and universities that channels generated funds toward local anti-poverty organizations, earned $4,000 to expand its operations. Finnegan offered to connect UCan’s founder Christina Weiler ’21 with Walmart’s operations team to expand the project in Walmart retail stores.

“This money means so much to UCan, not just as an organization, but as a movement,” said Weiler. “Having this money will allow us to increase the quality of life for people across the country and increase recycling rates. The opportunity to involve communities around the country will help us facilitate that.”

Colgate’s leadership in liberal arts entrepreneurship was powerfully represented by the Thought Into Action student entrepreneurs who continue to illustrate the strong connection between liberal arts and entrepreneurship.

Over the past nine years, more than 500 Colgate entrepreneurs have gone through the TIA Incubator and launched their ventures, guided by more than 140 alumni, parent, and community mentors.

“Today’s economy requires people who not only get answers right, but more importantly, ask the right questions,” Michael Sciola, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement and Career Initiatives, said. “The TIA experience allows Colgate students to identify a problem and then create a solution that works. Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts, together, are powerful partners for future success.”

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TIA Mentor named Entrepreneur of the Year

By Mary Galvez on June 5, 2017

Melissa Coley ’79, President-elect of the Alumni Council awards Oak Atkinson ’87 the Entrepreneur of the Year award

TIA mentor extraordinaire, Oak Atkinson ’87, was selected as the Colgate alumni council’s 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year during this years eWeekend in New York City. Oak is the founder of tumbalina, the artisanal and digital card company that measures its success in smiles by “touching hearts one by one.” In 2003, the first year in business, tumbalina won several industry awards, including a “Louie”, (the Oscars of the stationery industry), and the American Package Design Award. In 2015, tumbalina sold over 17 million cards with clients like Snapfish, Walgreens and CVS .

 

While Oak is super busy running her multi-million dollar business, she is also a wife, mother and artist. Yet, she still makes time in her busy schedule to come to campus once a month to mentor TIA Incubator students. Why? To give back to Colgate and to “pay it forward,” as the saying goes. And . . . “it’s also fun.”

In addition to mentoring, Oak has taken it upon herself to hand-stencil a number of walls in the TIA incubator with inspirational and relevant quotes. This has been a laborious and time-consuming project that has added so much visually and inspirationally to our space. Oak has volunteered her time to this project, as do all of our mentors. TIA absolutely could not survive without our incredible group of alumni, parent and community mentors.

 

 

 

 

 

THANK YOU Oak and congratulations on this well deserved award.

 

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Colgate hosts sixth annual Entrepreneur Weekend

By mhames on May 17, 2017

Colgate University, Thought Into Action (TIA), and the Entrepreneur Professional Network hosted the sixth annual Entrepreneur Weekend on April 29, bringing alumni, parents, students, and friends together for the first time in New York City.

The festivities included a panel conversation moderated by Forbes magazine tech editor Steven Bertoni ’02. The panel included: Samantha Radocchia ’11, co-founder and Chief Product Officer, Chronicled; Cliff Sirlin ’89, co-founder of the Domino Media Group and now managing director at LaunchCapital LLC; and Ram Parimi ’05, co-founder and vice president of sales, Social Tables. (Read more . . . )


Inc. Magazine names two TIA ventures among Coolest College Startups

By mwalden on April 25, 2017


Last month, while the sports world was reveling in March Madness, entrepreneurs were tuning in to Inc. magazine’s Coolest College Startup competition to see which of 16 ventures would win the 2017 title.

This year, Colgate was the only university represented twice on the brackets — and both ventures made it to the third round of the competition, thanks to votes from the public: Trippie, the airport-guidebook app launched by Ryan Diew ’17 and Samantha Braver, and swimwear company Fair Harbor, founded by Jake ’16 and Caroline ’19 Danehy.

“We were incredibly thrilled and humbled to be chosen as one of the 16 Coolest College Startups,” Caroline Danehy said. “We definitely wouldn’t be in the position that we are in today if it weren’t for the support of Colgate’s Thought Into Action incubator and community at large.”

The Thought into Action Incubator pairs alumni and parent mentors with student entrepreneurs, providing the guidance and encouragement that undergraduates need to identify and overcome problems through new business start-ups. Fair Harbor and Trippie have also earned venture funding during the university’s Entrepreneur Weekend Shark Tank pitch competitions. (Read more . . .)

 

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Fifth Annual Entrepreneur Weekend

By Mary Galvez on April 20, 2016
Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate’s fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration. (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Thought Into Action students gather on stage at Colgate’s fifth Entrepreneur Weekend celebration. (Photo by Gerard Gaskin)

Colgate and Thought Into Action hosted the fifth annual Entrepreneur Weekend, April 8–9, celebrating the relentless determination that goes into successful ventures and connecting students with veteran business builders.

The weekend kicked off with a keynote conversation on Friday night. Moderated by Forbes magazine tech editor Steven Bertoni ’02, the panel included Tyler Haney, CEO of Outdoor Voices; Payal Kadakia, CEO and co-founder of ClassPass; Jon McNeill, president of global sales and service at Tesla Motors; Clare MacGoey, CFO of Giphy; and David Fialkow ’81, managing director at General Catalyst Partners.

The Shark Tank–style competition was moderated by Peter Boyce of General Catalyst Partners and Rough Draft Ventures alongside Andrew Parietti ’10, president of Outdoor Voices. The panel heard from Thought Into Action students Samantha Braver ’18 and Ryan Diew ’17 of airport navigation app Trippie; Richard Sanders ’17 of the sports beverage company Seela; Miranda Scott ’18 of The Waffle Cookie, a socially conscious baked-goods start-up; and Rex Messing ’15 and Ryan Clement ’16 of the outdoor adventure firm Tuwa Tuwa, Inc.

After delivering their pitches and answering a series of questions from the pros, the students split a $20,000 pool of capital that will help them move their ventures forward. The first-place prize of $6,900 was awarded to Trippie; second-place $5,200 to The Waffle Cookie; third-place $4,100 to Seela; and fourth-place $3,800 to Tuwa Tuwa, Inc.

On Saturday, an expo-style event was held in the Hall of Presidents where twenty teams of entrepreneurs showcased their ventures to almost 400 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and friends. Five teams alternated pitching their ventures during the afternoon to an enthusiastic and welcoming crowd. The weekend wound up with a reception at the TIA Incubator downtown with one final presentation by Jehdeiah Mixon ’18 and Hannah Shaheen O’Malley ’17 pitching their venture UNRAVEL.

Read the full article by Mark Walden from the Colgate Communications office.

Read the Maroon News article here.

 

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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.


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!  

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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.

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