Dylan Wheeler ’20 has been described as a person who lives in a universe with 28-hour days. Here’s why: he’s founded two startups and he hasn’t even graduated yet. He launched the first one during his freshman year, and it has helped pay his way through UNH. He also has his own website.
Wheeler has placed in the Paul College of Business and Economics Holloway Competition four years in a row, completed a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) in artificial intelligence, was a finalist in the 2018 NH Social Innovation Challenge and is a member of the Paul College’s Rines Angel Fund, a student-managed angel investment fund. A Hamel Scholar, he volunteered with the Honors Program and served as a student ambassador for the UNH Entrepreneurship Center. Wheeler is also a member of several clubs. Makes you wonder if 28 hour-days would be enough.
“I learned how important technology is to society and how essential it is that we build things the right way, ethically, morally, socially responsibly.”
“My UNH career has been eclectic. As a freshman I was studying information technology in the College of Engineering and Physical Science. But then I got involved with the Paul College rather quickly and founded my first startup in October 2016,” Wheeler says.
That company is Triumph Software, the makers of a professional development app that Wheeler worked on in high school. Since its launch, Loggit has served over 500 educators across New Hampshire and tracked more than 43,000 hours of professional development. In August 2018, he founded ecoText, which provides a digital subscription service for college textbooks.
“I discovered a deep passion for how technology shapes our lives, and how we shape it,” Wheeler says. “I became particularly interested in artificial intelligence and disinformation.” His research article “Living in a World Where Seeing Is No Longer Believing: Artificial Intelligence as a Disinformation Engine” appears in UNH’s Inquiry Journal.
During his sophomore year, Wheeler took the course “social and political philosophy” to fulfill a gen ed requirement. “The class changed my life,” he says. “I learned how important technology is to society and how essential it is that we build things the right way -- ethically, morally, socially responsibly.”
Wheeler decided right then to add philosophy to his information technology major. While admitting the two are “seemingly different” he says the dual majors “come together beautifully when considering some of today’s most challenging modern innovations.” He cites problems like artificial intelligence, automation, job displacement, fake news, gene editing and more.
The Bow, New Hampshire, native has been offered a job at a tech company and, if everything goes according to plan, he’ll start in September. In the meantime, he’s doing development work part-time for a startup investment group in Manchester, New Hampshire, and focusing on ecoText.
“I’ve tried my hardest to make the most out of this university and strive to do good for not only this campus but the community in general,” Wheeler says.
It seems he is hitting his mark. Even without 28-hour days.