August 29, 2008

High School Students Win College Vouchers Through Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy

The Purdue Research Park presented college tuition vouchers to high school junior and senior students who were among the top three finishers in the second annual Entrepreneurship Academy.

The vouchers ranged in amounts from $100 to $500 and can be used to offset the costs of higher education.

The weeklong academy was based on an entrepreneurship program called "So what? who cares? why you?"(TM) by Wendy Kennedy.

"I believe the future for American competitiveness lies in our ability to innovate and create new technologies," said Gregory W. Deason, vice president for real estate and research park development. "The future of Indiana's and the country's competitiveness is in our future entrepreneurs who are represented in this academy."

Students from the top three teams, their high schools and hometowns are:

-- First place, Biofuel Efficiency Technology: Alex Curtis, Lawrence North High School, Indianapolis; Ashley Deutsch, West Lafayette High School; Zyon Rennewanz, Logansport High School; Allison Weilbaker, Harrison High School, West Lafayette; mentored by David Shelby of ICx Griffin Analytical.

-- Second place, AgRight: Madison Donoho, Frankfort High School; Viraj Maniar, Munster High School; Miranda McCormack, Benton Central High School, Fowler; Blake Vermillion, Greencastle High School; William Zhao, Kokomo High School; mentored by Mike Cassidy of Fortress Strategy Group.

-- Third place, Prestige World Wide: Tyler Anderson, Harrison High School, West Lafayette; Benjamin Baugh, Frankfort High School; Princessa Rennewanz, Logansport High School; Ashley Snyder, Wabash High School; Matthew Williams, Taylor High School, Kokomo; mentored by Gina Sheets of the Clinton County Economic Development and Jack MacOwen of Tecumseh Area Partnership, Inc.

The David E. Ross Award of Entrepreneurial Distinction was presented to Alex Sventeckis of Park Tudor High School, Indianapolis.

The Purdue Research Park's Entrepreneurship Academy was made possible through a $35,000 grant from Indiana's Workforce Innovation in Regional Economic Development, or WIRED, program. Officials from the Purdue Research Park organized the program.

Judges for the academy included Brad Addison, Barnes and Thornburg, LLP; Bob Falk, Purdue Employees Federal Credit Union; Jody Hamilton, Lafayette-West Lafayette Development Corporation; Michael Sheppard, Heron Capital; and Simran Trana, Purdue Research Foundation.

The U.S. Department of Labor funds the WIRED initiatives with a goal of helping Indiana manufacturers develop innovative business strategies.