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Lowell High students Genesis Cruz, Linh Vu, Angelina Novu, Gina So, and Viputh Kounakor building their prototype for the Tinker Toys Challenge led by Professor David Vatalaro during Entrepreneurship Day, Dec. 14th. Henry Marte, MarteMedia
UMass Lowell students Senior Yeaharne Hout and Sophomore Madeline Gear with CEO and co-founder of invisaWear, Rajia Abdelaziz. Henry Marte, MarteMedia
Lowell High students Evan Imasogie, Tiana Nhem, and Kevin Butler building their prototypes for the Tinker Toys Challenge led by Professor David Vatalaro during Entrepreneurship Day, Dec. 14. Henry Marte, MarteMedia
Lowell High students testing their prototype for the Tinker Toys Challenge led by Professor David Vatalaro during Entrepreneurship Day, Dec. 14. Henry Marte, MarteMedia
LOWELL — Lowell High School students had the chance to learn from local entrepreneurs recently on a Entrepreneurship Day field trip to UMass Lowell’s Rist DifferenceMaker Institute.
Nearly 50 LHS business students practiced hands-on problem-solving skills during a Tinker Toys exercise led by UMass Lowell business professor David Vatalaro Dec. 14. Students worked in teams to build a mini-rescue vehicle designed to help an injured person trapped on a mountaintop.
“When students are building and engaging hands-on, they’re also learning key entrepreneurship skills,” Vatalaro said.
The event was put on by the institute and Project LEARN (Lowell Education Alliance Resource Network), an organization founded in 2013 by members of the Lowell business community.
Students toured the institute’s iHub and Fashion Makerspace and heard from UMass Lowell alumni Rajia Abdelaziz, CEO and co-founder of invisaWear, and Tyler Cote, CEO and co-founder of Operation250.
“Listening to the panelists’ amazing stories really enforces the concepts we are using inside our classroom,” said Lowell High business teacher Jill Taylor. “It was great seeing them learn about the risks, determination and problem-solving all entrepreneurs face.”
Students said they enjoyed hearing from people who had successfully brought their business ideas to life.
“Rajia taught us that people will tell you all the things that can go wrong but no one knows your idea better than you,” said junior Kevin Butler.
LZ Nunn, executive director of Project LEARN, said that the goal of the field trip was to expose students to different forms of entrepreneurship.
“What we learned from listening to youth in the community is that our students are hungry for practical skills and fun ways to learn outside the classroom,” Nunn said. “We were inspired to try out a field trip focused on building students’ entrepreneurial and design-thinking skills, and expand on this partnership.”
The day’s activities also challenged students to look beyond the traditional view of entrepreneurship.
“We all have our own place in the greater change-making environment,” Cote told students. “My path to entrepreneurship is pretty unconventional, but there’s no one pathway. It’s all about finding your niche, your place in the impact you want to have on others.”