Engineering a Path to Entrepreneurial Success: Anne-Marie Freeley's ESTEEM Journey

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

Meet Anne-Marie Freeley, a M.S. in Entrepreneurship, Technology, & Innovation (ESTEEM) graduate student in the class of 2024. Prior to her enrollment in the program, she completed a Masters of Materials Science and Engineering and a Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering at the University College of Dublin. Anne-Marie is a driven individual who found her true calling through the ESTEEM program. Unsure of her career path, she stumbled upon this one-year master's program that encompassed all her desires. With a technical background, she sought to develop her entrepreneurial skills while gaining valuable business knowledge. The program seemed like the perfect missing piece in her life.

The Irish Native Finds Her Calling

Anne-Marie has always stood out in her academic pursuit but she felt a lingering quest for something more — a platform where her technical foundation could be channeled towards real-world change. That's when ESTEEM emerged on her radar, promising a comprehensive curriculum encapsulating business skills and entrepreneurial spirit.

Anne-Marie speaks candidly about her challenge: engaging in 50 in-depth interviews with complete strangers. This exercise, while daunting, sharpened her ability to articulate ideas, understand market needs, and more critically, build resilience. Each conversation became a step towards mastering the world of entrepreneurship.

“I didn't really know if I wanted to go do a startup or where I wanted to work. I found the ESTEEM program and it just seemed to be everything which I wanted to do all in one year masters,” explained Anne-Marie. “It allows people like me, people with technical backgrounds, to develop these entrepreneurial skills. It just seemed to be the kind of missing puzzle piece in terms of what I wanted to do with my life. And I'm learning so much here, and I'm so glad I chose it.”

Anne-Marie is honing her new skills and entrepreneurial calling with her capstone project. She is working with Drone Response, a pre-revenue company whose research has been primarily funded by NASA and the NSF, specializing in the development of an AI-guided software platform for the safe and coordinated operation of multiple autonomous drones. This project will be conducting an evaluation of Drone Response's strategic recommendations and capabilities in Emergency Services and Public Safety Markets. The aim of this evaluation is to contribute to making missions safer and more dependable, ultimately helping Drone Response to save lives. As part of this Capstone, Anne-Marie will work on marketing, financial modeling, and investment to support the successful launch and promotion of Drone Response’s product.

A Melting Pot of Cultures

The ESTEEM program at Notre Dame prides itself on its diverse student body. Anne-Marie highlights the joy of meeting people from all over the world, making friends on every continent, and experiencing cultural richness like never before. Beyond academics, the program offers plenty of opportunities for students to engage in sports and clubs. From field hockey to GAA, Anne-Marie herself has discovered new passions during her time at Notre Dame. It's not just a program – it's a vibrant community that fosters personal growth and unforgettable memories.

“Notre Dame has so much to offer, they've got so many diverse sports teams. I play on the field hockey team. We've got run clubs, and GAA even. I've never played GAA before in my life before coming here, but I joined the GAA team here and it's honestly so much fun,” said Anne-Marie.

In reflecting on Anne-Marie Freeley's transformative journey at Notre Dame's ESTEEM program, it's evident that the confluence of engineering prowess and entrepreneurial spirit can pave the way for unparalleled impact and innovation. Anne-Marie's story serves as a testament to the program's capacity to not only bridge the technical and business realms, but also to foster a vibrant community that nourishes personal growth, exploration, and lifelong connections. As she has beautifully demonstrated, the marriage of technical acumen with entrepreneurial drive can lead to tangible real-world change, embodied in her dedication to making drone missions safer and saving lives. For those seeking a multidimensional educational experience, where one's passion for engineering and innovation can be channeled into entrepreneurial ventures, the ESTEEM program awaits as a beacon of opportunity and inspiration.

To join us on the journey of innovation and entrepreneurship, discover more about the ESTEEM program and take the first step toward a rewarding future today.

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