Student entrepreneurs across Cornell’s colleges and schools will spend their summers working for startups through the Kessler Fellows program, housed in the College of Engineering.

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Kessler Fellows embark on summer internships

The 2023 Kessler Fellows have accepted internships and will spend the summer gaining firsthand entrepreneurial experience in industries ranging from renewable energy to quantum technology. This year’s fellows are working at startups as close as Ithaca and as far away as Beijing. 

Every summer, the College of Engineering’s Kessler Fellows program offers students the opportunity to gain experience working for a startup. The program is open to all juniors at Cornell University, regardless of major, who are interested in entrepreneurship.  

Fully funded through the support of Andrew Kessler ’80, the program offers students a weekly stipend and a travel allowance, allowing them to focus on their work. They also benefit from one-on-one sessions with Cornell Engineering Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who provide personalized mentorship and help them find internships that align with their interests. 

This year, 18 fellows are completing internships through the program:  

  • Kieran Barr ‘24 (environment and sustainability) is interning at Airmo, a space research and technology company that develops satellites to measure emissions.  

  • Giorgi Berndt ‘24 (computer science) is interning at Akrobotix, a software development company that makes perception, guidance, navigation and control software for robotic systems. 

  • Charlie Bierden ‘24 (mechanical engineering) is interning at T-omega Wind, a technology company that is redesigning offshore wind turbines. 

  • Evelyn Chiu ‘24 (mechanical engineering) is interning at Collectif Engineering PLLC, a consulting firm that specializes in the design and engineering of construction projects. 

  • Liv Cramer ‘24 (international agriculture and rural development) is interning at Afriponics, a farming company that aims to become the leading provider of hydroponically produced crops in Maseru, Lesotho. 

  • Shirin Dinasan ‘24 (applied economics and management) is interning at Shef, Inc., a consumer services company that gives certified cooks a platform to connect with local customers and sell homemade dishes. 

  • Erhunmwunse Eghafona ‘24 (mechanical engineering) is interning at Andromeda, a robotics company that is building social companion robots. 

  • Gabriel Ewig ‘24 (mechanical engineering) is interning at BlocPower, a renewable energy company that provides upgrades to buildings and homes with energy-efficient, electric technology and appliances. 

  • Zuhair Joyo ‘24 (industrial and labor relations) is interning at Hoken Holdings, a travel company that provides a platform to book in-demand hotel rooms near popular events. 

  • Phyllis Ju ‘24 (information science) is interning at Castbox, a company that distributes free podcasts and produces its own shows.  

  • Jay Jung ‘24 (information science) is interning at Flower Ave Inc., a developer studio that makes mobile applications. 

  • Kate Kim ‘24 (information science) is interning at Grabango, a software development company that provides checkout-free technology for large-scale store chains. 

  • Katie Lee ‘24 (environmental engineering) is interning at Ebb Carbon, a technology company that is creating a new carbon removal solution that enhances the ocean’s natural ability to capture and store carbon dioxide. 

  • Tomer Poole-Dayan ‘24 (applied economics and management) is interning at AgriCapture, an environmental services company that certifies Climate-Friendly practices on farms, ranchlands and grasslands. 

  • Emma Shen ‘24 (information science) is interning at Terra Quantum Inc., a quantum technology company that provides customers with an extensive library of algorithms. 

  • Mark Tarazi ‘24 (mechanical engineering) is interning at Wayland Additive Limited, a manufacturing company that makes electron beam 3D printing machines. 

  • Yiming Wang ‘24 (computer science and sociology) is interning at Vlogmi Corporation, a social media platform that aims to create a healthier, more positive space on the internet. 

  • David Yun ‘24 (policy analysis and management) is interning at Star Romanian Medical, a company that aims to revolutionize anti-aging with products such as a Botox alternative and non-surgical fat reduction device.  

While students work at their internships, they will have the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial skills, gain practical experience and grow their professional networks. Additionally, they join a network of over 200 Kessler Fellows alumni to support them on their career paths. 

“I’m interested in startups because they foster innovation better than larger companies that tend to stick with the status quo,” Chiu said. “When it comes to HVAC, the industry needs new, energy-efficient ideas. In a changing environment, we need to adapt our technology to the climate and increased demand for cooling.”  

At the end of their summer startup experience, students return to campus for the fall semester and deliver a presentation about their experiences.  

“I hope to better understand the skills possessed by successful entrepreneurs through direct interaction with the executive leadership of a startup,” Poole-Dayan said. “These skills will be necessary on my path to transforming my ideas and passions into a reality of creating my own entrepreneurial venture in the future.” 

Students interested in joining the 2023-24 cohort can apply for the program when applications open this fall. More information about the program and the fellows’ summer journeys is available on the Cornell Engineering website.  

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