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09-25-2014

Clarkson University Students Launch Air Force Technology Ventures in Commercialization Academy

Six Clarkson University students are working to commercialize Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) technologies this fall through the Commercialization Academy.

Clockwise from top left, MBA student Katy Martin, Colton Weaver '16, Lizzie Cassady '17, Elijah Cleveland '16, Charlotte Hayden '16 and Jamie Griffin '17.The program, sponsored by AFRL, gives students opportunities to work on the introduction of Department of Defense technologies to the civilian marketplace. Students were selected for the program after a competitive application and interview process.

Clarkson students Jamie Griffin '17, Elijah Cleveland '16, Charlotte Hayden '16, Lizzie Cassady '17, Colton Weaver '16 and MBA student Katy Martin have selected existing Air Force technologies, and along with support from industry mentors, educators and entrepreneurs, they will develop a commercialization plan for new technology ventures.

The six students from Clarkson, along with 18 students from 10 other universities, traveled to Rome, N.Y., for "Crucible Week" this summer. The experience gave students a chance to interact with researchers and hone their presentation skills.

"Crucible Week was an amazing experience," Griffin said. "My favorite part was the speed dinner in which each student had five minutes to talk with various inventors of Air Force technology. This provided the opportunity to understand their perspective of the technology and discuss innovative ideas."

The six Clarkson students divided into teams with students from other universities, and are represented on four different commercialization projects. The students will work together in intense workshops, training sessions and team building exercises throughout the fall semester.

"My group consists of three students from SUNY Polytech Institute and Le Moyne College," Griffin said. "We are currently conducting market research for four patents and plan to focus on one in the upcoming weeks. I am excited to work closely with the inventors, the Commercialization Academy and my group to develop a great product."

Erin Draper, director of operations at Clarkson's Reh Center for Entrepreneurship, said the Commercialization Academy allows students to collaborate on projects with other students who have different majors and different perspectives on marketability.

"Partnering Clarkson students with students of varied skill sets will bring diverse perspectives to the projects and will undoubtedly create teams with stronger potential for success," she said. "Further, working across several New York State Economic Development Regions will allow the students to leverage regional strengths and significantly increase the size of their networks."

The Commercialization Academy culminates in November, when students pitch their ideas and potential businesses. If the team's project is selected, however, the students can move forward with an AFRL licensing agreement and an opportunity to work on the business full time.

"The Commercialization Academy is using an experiential approach that is very complementary to our programs at Clarkson," Draper said. "The Reh Center provides students with opportunities for entrepreneurial experiences, and the Commercialization Academy is a great example."

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and the health professions, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

Photo caption: Clockwise from top left, MBA student Katy Martin, Colton Weaver '16, Lizzie Cassady '17, Elijah Cleveland '16, Charlotte Hayden '16 and Jamie Griffin '17. The six Clarkson University students are working to commercialize Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) technologies this fall through the Commercialization Academy.

[A photograph for media use is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/commercialization-academy.jpg .]

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or aharrison@clarkson.edu.]

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