From Villanova to ESTEEM

Author: Gene Stowe

Carney Kellan

While Minnesota native Kellan Carney was earning a pre-medical degree in biology at Villanova University in Philadelphia, he couldn’t help but gain exposure to business because of Villanova’s highly respected business school. He recalls creating fantastic entrepreneurial plans with his friends in finance, economics, or marketing, knowing they probably would never come to fruition. Yet his desire to turn fantastic ideas into actual ventures led him to seek a business minor by attending Villanova’s Summer Business Institute (SBI), which turned out to be great preparation for the ESTEEM Program.

“It got me excited about business,” Carney says about his SBI experience. “There’s a little bit of entrepreneurship in there as well,” along with marketing, finance, accounting, and business law. “It gives you a very broad overview of business, and it was something I was really attracted to.” When he heard of ESTEEM, he says, “it felt like it was made for someone like me – interested in business but with a strong technical background in biology and science, a program that let me use my science background in entrepreneurship and business.”

Now, Carney’s capstone project involves commercializing a new diabetic wound healing drug aimed at preventing the 73,000 yearly amputations that result from diabetic foot ulcers. “I was thrilled to devote my time to help commercialize this drug if it could help prevent some of these amputations,” he says.

Recently, Carney gave a 20-minute thesis presentation on the drug’s technology before a panel of experts. The experience of participating in a drug investigation and preparation for clinical trials has led him to consider similar work in pharmaceuticals, medical devices, or biotechnology in a start-up environment.

Meanwhile, he enjoys the atmosphere here on Notre Dame’s campus – even in a down season for the football team – and the access to a great alumni network in nearly every field. “They’re always happy to talk,” he says. “You can essentially find someone in every single field, probably in every state. You will have some kind of connection to any position you’re looking for.”