The Harvard Graduate School of Education has named four recipients of the first Education Entrepreneurship Summer Fellowship, which provides funding for students and recent alumni to advance their entrepreneurial ventures during the summer. Fellowship recipients received summer funding and space at the Harvard Innovation Lab (I-Lab) to accelerate the development of their enterprises.
“The HGSE Education Entrepreneurship Fellowship at the I-Lab will provide students with not just the resources but the inspiration to build out their educational enterprises,” says Professor Monica Higgins. “We know our fellows have excellent ideas but need the space and support to move into the design and experimentation stages of their work. We hope this opportunity enables our students to bridge to their next level of work to improve educational opportunities and get results for kids.”
Twenty-nine applicants competed for the fellowship, which provided four awards of up to $20,000.
The four students receiving fellowships are:
- Brian Barnes (Ed.L.D.) for Faith to Connect, a national nonprofit organization that works with urban cities and faith-based institutions and leadership to create learning environments in partnership with families and urban public schools.
- Vanessa Beary (Ed.D.) for 10^X, a for-profit, social enterprise that identifies high-potential young women between the ages of 15 and 18, provides them with entrepreneurship education training, and matches them with a mentor. The ultimate goal of 10^X is to give talented and motivated young women access to resources, opportunities, and mentorship that they would not otherwise have access to.
- Frank Freeman (Ed.M.) for Propagate Vocabulary, a browser plug-in and app that “runs in the background” while students are reading and provide customized just-in-time support for comprehension. Propagate helps students learn vocabulary the natural way, through repeated exposure in meaningful contexts.
- Mary Jo Madda (Ed.M.) for EDUtainment, a series of short downloadable "hook" videos and associated curriculum materials featuring math rap and science skits for teachers to engage students in their STEM classrooms. Grounded in the precepts of cognitive and developmental science, EDUtainment’s videos are Common Core– and Next Generation Science Standards–aligned, and introduce STEM concepts in an accessible and culturally relevant manner.
Current HGSE master’s and doctoral students were eligible to apply with the expectation of working full-time during the months of June, July, and August on their venture. Students interested in the fellowship submitted an application containing a personal statement, a project proposal, budget proposal, resume, transcript, and two recommendations, including one from an HGSE faculty member. Project applications were reviewed and judged by a committee of HGSE faculty and administrators based on demonstrated leadership and effectiveness, interest in education entrepreneurship, viability of the entrepreneurial venture, and potential impact of venture.
“HGSE is an incredibly innovative community, as evidenced by the teaching and research of the faculty and the work of students across all of the degree programs,” says Keith Collar, associate dean for planning and outreach, about the creation of the new fellowship. “We have an opportunity to make an important contribution to the field by supporting our students in becoming entrepreneurial leaders. And, with the creation of the Harvard Innovation Lab, we have an outstanding university-wide partnership to advance new ventures.”