ESTEEM Travels: New Orleans

ESTEEM Student Daniel Kestell recently traveled to the IDCE Conference in New Orleans to present his thesis research and learn more about how people are exploring new ways to prepare for natural disasters, problems he is hoping to fix in his thesis. Here's his thoughts on New Orleans, the conference, and his first experience with Mardi Gras!

Entrepreneurship Ecosystem: Oak Financial Software Group

The ESTEEM program is part of an incredible entrepreneurship ecosystem that is at Innovation Park. ESTEEM student John Vernon got the chance to talk with Justin Hintz from Oak Financial Software Group, an IP client. Read to learn about Justin's story and how he arrived working in the software applications space.

Faculty Mentor: Steven Buechler, Ph.D.


Professor Steven Buechler, chair of the Department of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics, has watched the ESTEEM program expand its connections and expertise while students helped advance his cancer diagnostics tools toward commercialization. Derek Athy, Buechler’s third ESTEEM student, started working with him last summer, soon after Buechler and Sunil Badve, a clinical pathologist specializing in breast cancer at the IU School of Medicine, formed Sysgenomics LLC.

Faculty Mentor: Marya Lieberman, Ph.D.


For Marya Lieberman, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, the ESTEEM program offers fresh perspectives from a business focus and enriches the entrepreneurial ecosystem on campus.

Entrepreneurial Outings: Chicago

John Vernon is a current student in our Masters of Entrepreneurship program and a member of the Student Development Team.  In this article he reflects upon the awesome opportunity the students had to go to entrepreneurial hubs in Chicago in January.

One of the many exciting aspects of the ESTEEM program is its extracurricular experiences.  Every year right after Christmas Break a day trip into Chicago is planned to kick off our last semester. Fortunately, we have the opportunity to visit several of the amazing companies that are just a short drive away. The focus of this “field trip” is to find out about businesses and companies that are truly making an impact in through their work and making a real difference to the community.  On a chilly and snowy January morning the cohort boarded a bus to explore the startup and entrepreneurship scene of Chicago.…

Meet Our Neighbors: Elevate Ventures

Our Entrepreneurship Master's Program is housed in Notre Dame's Innovation Park, a commercial accelerator that houses startups taking research and innovation towards commercialization.  As such, Elevate Ventures, a private, non-profit VC firm is literally down the hall from (i.e. "neighbors") with ESTEEM's main offices.

Notre Dame California Initiative

The Notre Dame California Initiative launched in 2014 will accelerate opportunities across the campus, especially for ESTEEM students, who are well-prepared to leverage the broader connections with companies in the heart of 21st-century technology and innovation. 

Photo of Notre Dame Coffee Mug

The multi-pronged initiative involves establishing partnerships for research and commercialization, raising the University’s profile among inventors and investors, offering programs like ESTEEM and the Patent Law Masters, and recruiting more students to Notre Dame from the West Coast.…

Spring Break to Silicon Valley Planned

Thirty-four ESTEEM students will spend Spring Break in Silicon Valley, where Notre Dame’s California Initiative is establishing new opportunities for networking and learning. Students will hear talks from startup CEOs, incubator/accelerator founders, and venture capitalists; pitch their own ideas; shadow entrepreneurs; visit leading tech and life science companies; and have time to schedule their own encounters and interviews with employers in the area.…

ESTEEM Students Help Explore New Venture

Last summer, students in the ESTEEM Program were given a very unique opportunity to work with real-life entrepreneurs, Bob Brutvan and Matt Raymond.  On an emerging technology.  At a highly regarded research University and Medical School.  It was a process filled with learning – learning that continued right up to the announcement several months ago that the two entrepreneurs would not be pursuing the commercialization of the technology after all.…

Entrepreneurship in the Political Area

The Following is a brief reflection of ESTEEM student John Vernon on the impact politics and policy can have on entrepreneurship and innovation.

I have always have had an interest in politics. Ever since I went to my first campaign event as an elementary school student in 2000, I knew I would stay involved with it at some point. Over the years I stayed active and became a news junkie, and I decided to engage in student government. As my interests developed I became very interested in the intersection between policy, business, and the sciences. How can these very different communities come to the table to interact with each other and encourage progress for the country? During the summer before my senior year I had the chance to work for a public policy consulting firm in Washington DC. There I was able to meet this question head on and learned about public policy issues and the political realm that is Washington DC.…

Faculty Mentor: Matt Leevy, Ph.D.

Matthew Leevy, Director of Biological Imaging at the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility, is working with three ESTEEM students this year – Nick Machesney, Charles Berno, and Daniel Ward.  The laboratory is home of two startup companies – In Vivo Concepts, a platform for translating pre-clinical discoveries and devices to commercial markets, and Medical Data Printers, for producing 3D plastic models of patients’ heads that Ear/Nose/Throat doctors can study before performing surgery. Leevy has worked with two other ESTEEM students in the past whose contributions are part of patent applications.

Faculty Mentor: Greg Crawford, Ph.D.


Gregory Crawford, a Physics professor and Dean of the College of Science, is working with ESTEEM student Sean McGee on a noninvasive device to determine the ages of bruises on the skin. The technology aims to provide objective data for physicians, social workers, and law enforcement who are dealing with potential child abuse cases. No such tool now exists, and responsible professionals must make highly subjective judgments that sometimes contradict parents’ explanations for the wounds on the child.

Industry Collaboration Highlights Unique Opportunity

Students in Notre Dame’s Entrepreneurship Master’s Program have benefitted greatly this year through an emphasis on industry partnerships.  20% of current ESTEEM students work with companies for their capstone thesis projects exploring commercialization opportunities for new or emerging technologies that those companies are developing.…

Listening for your “Why?” - A lesson from Social Entrepreneurship

One of the most impactful things the director of the ESTEEM Program, David Murphy, stresses to us students is to find a compelling “why?” as we discern what sorts of entrepreneurs we will be. The truly notable “whys” seem to stem from big problems and deep seeded passions to address them. But how does one find that big problem needs to be solved? From what I’ve seen, the best entrepreneurs are those that can listen well. They find their “why?”

ESTEEM Broomball - a Lesson in Humility

Nick Machesney is a current ESTEEM student - and one of the captains of ESTEEMs first-ever Broomball team.  Below he reflects upon their experience.

After missing the opportunity to show off their athletic prowess in the indoor soccer league, over half of this year’s ESTEEM class joined forces to take on Notre Dame’s intramural, co-ed broomball league.  Relegated to the ll pm time slot on Tuesdays, we knew some of us would be up past our bed times but we entered the season determined that we could bring home some championship hardware for the program.…

ESTEEM Swims with the Sharks


This story comes to us from ESTEEM student Nick Kyratzis, who recently had the opportunity to pitch his own business idea to the Shark Tank's own "Mr. Wonderful," Kevin O'Leary. Nick, along with teammates Derek Athy and Nick Machesney, is currently competing in the second round of the McCloskey Business Plan Competition, sponsored by the Gigot Center here at ND. 

Faculty Mentor: Shaun Lee, PhD

ESTEEM student James Hodgens spends his time in the laboratory of Shaun Lee, an assistant professor in Biological Sciences, looking for beneficial bacteria in mung bean sprouts. Outside the laboratory, he conducts interviews and contacts pharmaceutical companies to gauge the market for using such kinds of bacteria for food supply protection and antibiotics.…

ESTEEM Students Assist in Moving New Drug to Clinical Trials

Two ESTEEM students contributed to a large project that moved a Notre Dame research discovery into an FDA-approved clinical trial this year. A potential treatment for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, identified by longtime rare disease researchers Paul Helquist and Olaf Wiest of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry with collaborators at other universities, began a trial with three patients in September and is expected to expand. Capstone thesis projects by ESTEEM students Matthew Berg and Sean Liebscher under Helquist’s direction advanced the effort.…