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Kessler Fellows secure startup internships for summer 2021

Students in this year’s Kessler Fellows cohort have secured summer internship placements and are getting to work contributing to startups across the nation.

The Kessler Fellows program is rooted in the College of Engineering at Cornell University and offers juniors across disciplines the chance to fully immerse themselves in the world of entrepreneurship. After completing two entrepreneurship courses and consulting with a team of Entrepreneurs-in-Residence, career counselors, and research professionals during the spring semester, fellows complete a summer internship at a startup of their choice.

The fellows receive a weekly stipend — fully funded through the generosity of Andrew Kessler ‘80 — which allows them to spend the summer focused on their internship. This year’s internships range from working with high-speed passenger rail to a virtual lactation consulting service. The 2020-2021 cohort is the first to be selected from an applicant pool open to all entrepreneurial-minded Cornell students, as opposed to previous years where participation was limited to those studying in STEM fields.

“Entrepreneurship allows a level of individuality that usually isn’t found in research and industry positions,” said Payton Hunter ‘22, who hopes to eventually use the entrepreneurship skills he gains to create societal and environmental change. “I enjoy the ability to have an idea that tackles a specific human challenge and is not limited by some preset mission.”

The program is led by Nathan Cook, who also serves as a Cornell Engineering Entrepreneur in Residence and a visiting lecturer at the SC Johnson College of Business.

"The 2021 cohort is comprised of an incredibly inspiring and resourceful group of student entrepreneurs,” said Cook. “We're also very excited to see that most of them will have the opportunity to intern in person this summer.”

This year’s fellows and the startups where they will be completing their summer startup experiences include:

  • Alex LoCicero ’22 (mechanical engineering) is working with Healing Innovations, a startup creating robotic technology that aids in rehabilitation for people with neurological injuries.
  • Anna Hu ’22 (psychology and College Scholar) is working with Eightfold AI, an artificial-intelligence powered talent management platform that seeks to increase diversity and inclusion in hiring.
  • Austin Stasko ’22 (mechanical engineering) is working with Rivian, an electric adventure vehicle automaker committed to sustainability and carbon neutrality.
  • Candice Mahadeo ’22 (applied economics and management) is working with BEESY Strategy, a professional services agency that focuses on applying behavioral science insights to marketing strategy.
  • Chendan Luo ’22 (mechanical engineering) is working with Chloe Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm that invests in women-led innovation companies.
  • Chloe Elise Young ’22 (biology and society) is working with SimpliFed, a lactation consulting firm offering services through a secure, online, video-based connection.
  • Cole DeMeulemeester ’22 (computer science) is working with Ridgeline, a fintech startup creating a cloud platform built for investment managers.
  • Connor Reinhold ’22 (computer science and mathematics) is working with MomentRanks, a platform for users to track and engage with the NBA Top Shot NFT ecosystem.
  • Emile Bouriez ’22 (mechanical engineering) is working with MaidBot, a startup creating safe and cost-efficient autonomous cleaning solutions for the hospitality industry.
  • Emma Kranich ’22 (electrical and computer engineering) is working with Iota Biosciences, a startup creating ultra-small “neural dust” devices to empower the future of bioelectronic medicine.
  • Gary Wang ’22 (materials science and engineering) is working with Tandem Repeat Technologies, a sustainable manufacturing firm creating the world’s first programmable textiles. 
  • Jackson Bauer ’22 (biomedical engineering) is working with Be Biopharma, a biotechnology company developing engineered B cells for use in cellular medicines.  
  • Jueun (Jen) Yi ’22 (operations research and information engineering) is working with Solstice, a startup making solar power accessible to more Americans via community solar gardens.
  • Maxwell Beck ’22 (ILR, information science and business) is working with unybrands, a firm that acquires and grows direct-to-consumer and Fulfillment by Amazon brands.
  • Melissa Louie ’22 (chemical engineering) is working with Arctura Wind, a startup innovating wind energy solutions.
  • Melody Yu ’22 (mechanical engineering) is working with Deep Local, a creative technology and experience design firm that helps brands tell their stories and connect with their audiences.
  • Michael Grossman ’22 (urban and regional studies) is working with Brightline West, a high-speed passenger rail system connecting Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
  • Payton Hunter ‘22 (mechanical engineering) is working with Heat Inverse, a startup creating a cooling technology with no energy input or heat waste to help manufacturers increase efficiency.
  • Tiffany Chui ’22 (materials science and engineering) is working with Bucha Bio, a startup creating an animal-free and plastic-free leather textile made from bacterial nanocellulose.

Several Kessler Fellows will be working with Cornell-affiliated startups, including Maidbot, a 2015 alum of the Prototyping Hardware Accelerator at Rev: Ithaca Startup Works, and SimpliFed and Heat Inverse, both current Rev members.

Applications for the 2021-22 cohort of Kessler Fellows are currently open to any Cornell University junior with a passion for entrepreneurship and interest in startups. Applications must be received by October 15, 2021 and can be completed here.

Grace Collins is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

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