Engaging with Innovation
“With this gift from Mr. Patten, we were able to provide every UNH undergraduate student with access to a wide variety of programs in the areas of ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship while tackling the number-one pain point for students today: student debt.”
In May, six undergraduate students received awards totaling $19,500 — just for participating in idea and innovation activities around UNH’s Durham campus. Peter Abdu ’17, Abby Kourafas ’18, Brady Camplin ’18, Venus Chau ’19, Quiqui Chen ’18 and Jayson Folsom ’20 were all participants in the inaugural session of the Peter T. Paul Entrepreneurship Center’s Ideas and Innovation — or i2 — Passport Program, designed to encourage UNH undergraduates from all colleges to engage and participate in activities and events in the area of ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship. The six students were among some 312 who registered to participate, earning “visa stamp credits” on their i2 “passports” throughout the spring semester for activities such as attending ECenter-organized bootcamps and seminars, visiting the Makerspace, participating in the UNH Holloway Competition and attending Entrepreneurship Club meetings.
First-prize winner Abdu, an electrical engineering major who received $8,000 for earning the most visa stamp credits, says the program inspired him to branch out in his last year at UNH. “I participated in a number of things, none of which I would have participated in without the i2 program,” he says.
The program was funded by a $50,000 gift from Harry Patten ’58, with awards going toward tuition and/or student loan debt. Says ECenter director Ian Grant, “With this gift from Mr. Patten, we were able to provide every UNH undergraduate student with access to a wide variety of programs in the areas of ideas, innovation and entrepreneurship while tackling the number-one pain point for students today: student debt.”
The successful initiative will have an even broader reach in its second session, which begins this fall. The program will run through the academic year, with a total of $25,000 in award money available to winning participants to put toward student loans and tuition.
Originally published in UNH Magazine Fall 2017 Issue