Faculty Spotlight: Sunny Shah

Sunny Shah Headshot

In March of 2016 Sunny Shah, Assistant Director and Faculty of the ESTEEM Graduate Program at the University of Notre Dame, was interviewed by Steve Blank about his journey to entrepreneurship. Like most students in ESTEEM, I have spent a lot of time discussing my thesis project, coursework, and my job search with Sunny. However, these topics were the extent of those quick meetings. Through listening to the interview I found out more about his background and how he got involved with ESTEEM.…

Thesis Spotlight: NORDAM Aerospace Group

Sedor Michael

Four and a half decades before Michael Sedor joined the ESTEEM Graduate Program, a small, bankrupt manufacturing company in Tulsa, Oklahoma caught the eye of an entrepreneurial man named Ray Siegfried. Taking a leap of faith, Ray bought the failed business and began building the aerospace company of his dreams. Now officially known as the NORDAM Aerospace Group, Siegfried’s company has grown into a billion dollar, privately owned major aircraft supplier, boasting over 2,500 employees and providing key components to industry leaders such as Airbus and Boeing.…

Fabrication Laboratory Up and Running at Galvin Life Sciences Center

Photo of Professor Matt Leevy

ESTEEM Graduate Program Thesis Adviser Matthew Leevy, a Research Associate Professor and Director of the Biological Imaging Core, has launched a fabrication laboratory in the basement of Galvin Life Sciences Center to serve the University at large. Tony Van Avermaete, a design and fabrication specialist, will serve as the operational manager of the new facility. The laboratory, which includes three CAD workstations, has the most advanced 3D printer on campus and is adding a laser cutter this month. It offers fabrication of a finished design, consultation on designs in process, and comprehensive design and fabrication based on a back-of-the-napkin sketches. The service is set up within CORES for access to all faculty, staff, and students on campus.…

From Stonehill College to ESTEEM

2017 Stonehill 1

Stonehill College, a Catholic institution with 2,500 students founded in 1948 in Easton, Mass., is sometimes called Notre Dame of the East because of similar architecture, shared traditions like priests in the residence halls, and shared names like Notre Dame du Lac and Cushing. When Stonehill undergrads Emily Tokarowski, Matt Brooks, and Brendan Hughes came to the University of Notre Dame for ESTEEM, they found differences in scale and common ground in culture.…

Alumni Spotlight: Kiel Hockett

When he was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame, Kiel Hockett added a degree in history to his degree in aerospace engineering so that he would learn to write papers and manage documents effectively. Then he decided he want to learn more about research and development, customer service, ethics, finance, and operations, so he joined the ESTEEM Class of 2011.…

Thesis Spotlight: Gleaux, Inc.


When he was earning a degree in biophysics at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ben Kelty wrote a capstone course project on the bioluminescent plant created by BioGlow Tech, now Gleaux Inc., a fascinating technology with potential uses from landscape planting to bedroom nightlights. After two years of undergraduate science research, Kelty decided to seek problem-solving opportunities in the business field – so he joined this year’s ESTEEM class.

My Week in ESTEEM: October 10-14

Dawson Ali

“Midterm week” took on a new definition for me. Compared to my undergrad experience, when midterms generally entailed a series of exams, the ESTEEM midterm week was a bit different.

It opened with a traditional midterm exam in our Technical Marketing course, but the remainder of the week was centered on presentations and other assignments. For most of us, the primary focus was our thesis technology oral exams. After hours of practice and meticulously putting together our slide decks, it felt like a huge weight lifted off our shoulders to have these presentations done. Fortunately, ESTEEM has prepared us very well for presenting so at this point, it feels like second nature. Many of us were reminiscing about our “3 Minute Thesis” presentations we gave over the summer compared to our technology orals and how much more comfortable we now feel with public speaking.…

Venture Founders: Update No. 1


The past two weeks have been very exciting for the Venture Founders Program! We had our first Steering Committee meeting with Jeff Hodgson from Elevate Ventures, Don Ginocchio from SAP, Iris Hammel from St. Joe CEO, Andrew Wiand from enFocus, and David Murphy from ESTEEM. You could say Dustin and Maria were a little excited for the meeting, judging by the inspirational Rocky clips they sent out the night before...

Thesis Spotlight: Trebor International


The semiconductor industry accounted for over $335 billion last year! You may be asking what exactly is a semiconductor? Well, a semiconductor is a material that has the conductivity between that of most metals and of an insulator. They are often used as an essential component in electronic circuits, and more specifically in microprocessors. The manufacturing of a semiconductor wafer is quite complex and includes many different processes. One of the important components of this manufacturing process includes pumps that are used to move chemicals through the systems used in the fabrication of the wafer.…

My Week in ESTEEM: October 3 - 7

Martin Eoghan

What a busy week!

After spending the weekend in San Jose for a job interview, Monday started with a day of hibernation in the library to catch up on work. In the evening we had our first Startup Weekend meeting with David Murphy. Next February a group of ESTEEM students will work with TechStars to run a Startup Weekend event bringing students together for a weekend of collaboration in building their own startups.…

From St. Edward's University to ESTEEM

Hayyat Ralph

For Ralph Hayyat and Karl de Zoeten, ESTEEM offered an opportunity to move from their undergraduate education at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Tex., to its sister school – both founded by Father Edward Sorin – for an education focused on providing options for real-world career impact. The science majors say they’re thriving in a rigorous environment of challenge and collaboration.…

My Week in ESTEEM: September 26 - 30

Prezek Sarah

Coming off of a disappointing football game against Duke, the weather started to feel like Fall and our attention turned back to work.

On Monday, I met with my Data Analytics group to go over our first assignment as a team before receiving data from the City of South Bend. After this, group members attended our Marketing class. During class, we discussed branding and what makes a strong brand. We were then introduced to a website of brand tags. We were all relieved when we saw that other people were confused with SAP. After this, we all separated and some of us went to go watch the presidential debates. Food trucks!!!…

From Gonzaga University to ESTEEM

2017 Gonzaga

Taylor Johnson was at an information session with ESTEEM Director David Murphy at Gonzaga University when he texted his friend and fellow mechanical engineering major Michael Sedor: “Hey, you should go check this out.” Sedor made it in time for Murphy’s 5-minute pitch, and the two started investigating the program. Now they’re roommates at Notre Dame in the ESTEEM Class of 2017.…

Lunch & Learn: Jim MacLennan

Nguyen Nancy

Last Friday, we had a Lunch & Learn with James P. MacLennan. He is the Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer at IDEX Corporation.

In our 60-minute session, we learned a ton! IDEX Corporation is an applied solutions business that sells a number of products to a wide variety of customers. A general overview was given about the products and services that IDEX provides however; the presentation was more geared towards smart and connected products. Internet of things (IoT) is rapidly growing and is an essential part to our society’s daily activities. Mr. MacLennan explained that there are three main segments, including fluid metering technologies, health and science technology, and diversified technology. He managed to employ a real life example of some of the products used in these segments by creating a mini prototype that fit in an Altoids container!

My Week in ESTEEM: September 19 - 23

Saikali Roy

What a week!

After what seemed like a very short weekend, it was back to classes on Monday. Our Monday marketing class has been very interesting lately. Coming from a science-heavy background, I never realized how companies sell and promote their brand. Being able to have someone as experienced as Professor Michael Kitz teach us the fundamentals of technical marketing is a blessing. It’s particularly curious to see how fellow classmates react when another class member heavily critiques a brand they love (side note, some people really despise Nike).

Leaving the Building with ESTEEM

Rather than staying on campus and spending another 500 hours on SolidWorks or other homework, our Thursday evening consisted of a handful of activities that, in the words of Sunny, “got us out of the building.” 

Our first stop was at South Bend’s Police Department.  Here, we spent time with Santiago Garces, Chief Officer of Innovation of the City of South Bend, learning about the inner workings of the city of South Bend.  More specifically, we learned how data about the residents, finances, and other utilities help decision makers work to keep this city safe, enjoyable, and prosperous.  However, there is a lot of data that a city gathers and has to keep track of, so that’s where we come in.  Our ESTEEM class will be working with the city of South Bend’s financial data in Professor Lewandowski’s data analytics class to try and find patterns, anomalies, or other unique information that can help South Bend be more efficient.…

From the College of the Holy Cross to ESTEEM

Kenney Jack

At the College of the Holy Cross, a 2,900-student Jesuit institution in Worcester, Mass., Jack Kenney earned degrees in both chemistry and economics while playing hockey and serving as a social leader. He was ready for the demands of the first semester at ESTEEM.

“I think that experience of being able to contribute to campus life in a big way athletically, academically, and socially prepared me for ESTEEM,” Kenney says. “It had this distinct sense of community that Notre Dame has too. Being able to contribute to that community prepared me to do so on a larger stage. I think one of the key benefits of the ESTEEM program is the fact that they throw a lot at you. They throw a lot at everybody. It’s a good opportunity to learn how to deal with a lot on our plate.”…

Lunch & Learn: Jim Hunt

Jim Hunt came to talk with the ESTEEM class on Friday, September 16th. He discussed the current environment of investing in startups from an Angel Investor point of view, a concept I had little knowledge of prior to the session and which led to some interesting discussion post-talk as we sat around with our Chipotle burritos.



My Week in ESTEEM: September 12 - 16

Laston David

Following our first home football weekend and Irish victory over Nevada, it was back to the grind as the first major thesis deadline loomed. Thankfully, Sunny was kind enough to change the deadline from Saturday at midnight to Monday at midnight. Procrastination still ran rampant throughout our group, and Sunday and Monday made for some late nights trying to put the final touches on our first draft of Chapter 1 and 2. A wonderful pep talk from David on Monday night assured us that everything is going to be okay and that our class needs to stop stressing out about grades (easier said than done). This made us all feel a bit more confident in turning in our thesis drafts that evening, but nervous nonetheless.…

ESTEEM Site Visit: Better World Books

This week we visited Better World Books headquarters which is located just a few miles away from Notre Dame. This visit is an ESTEEM tradition because the Program's director, David Murphy, served as the President and CEO until 2011 and was a key factor in the company’s successful launch.