By Kendra Mosenson
A group of seven Marlborough School teachers attended the Tech All-Stars startup weekend––a conference for entrepreneurs to gather and create new inventions and business ventures––in Albuquerque, New Mexico during the last weekend of February.
The Marlborough team consisted of Dean of Student Life Regina Rosi-Mitchell, Dean of Studies Eric Reinholtz, Honors Science Research Program Head Allison Ponzio, Community Partnerships Program Head Javier Espinosa, Co-Arts Department Head Mpambo Wina, Dean of Digital Education Shauna Davis and Librarian Nichole Gomez.
Rosi-Mitchell attended an entrepreneurship weekend in August. As the only person in the school to attend one such conference, she said letting other members of the Marlborough community experience the rigorous process of entrepreneurship will make the school’s entrepreneurship program stronger.
“The reality is that many of our alums will and do work in startups and doing so is very intense, and these conferences give people a sense of what it’s like to do that while learning very valuable skills along the way,” Rosi-Mitchell said.
The entrepreneurship convention offered team-building exercises and the opportunity to create ideas and pitch them to investors at the end of the event. A group consisting of Reinholtz, Wina and Ponzio created a website that took the prize for best idea of the weekend. The concept, to create a social networking website for retired people and their adult children, would be named Kindred Spirits. Reinholtz explained that the team spent over 48 hours building their pitch, and that working with Ponzio and Wina was an excellent experience.
“We worked on it for three days, we developed a mock website, we did research, and then the three of us presented our idea and when all the voting was done, [the judges] picked our project, which was very exciting,” Reinholtz said.
Rosi-Mitchell originally wanted to attend the conference because she is hoping to host a similar even at Marlborough in the fall. She said it was important to her to expose other members of the community to the event before starting the process of running their own on campus.
“It’s a big endeavour to run one of these things, so Dr. Reinholtz and I were chatting and ultimately decided that the best way to figure out how to bring this experience to a school environment is to go with a team and actually do one,” Rosi-Mitchell said.
Though the demographic at the weekend was primarily adults, Reinholtz explained that a group of talented high schoolers were there as well and that he believes Marlborough students would be able to thrive in such environments.
“One of the highlights for me was seeing high school students do this and realizing that ‘oh, our students can do this, too,’” Reinholtz said.