My Week in ESTEEM: September 12 - 16

Author: David Laston

David LastonDavid Laston

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.

As we rolled out of bed Tuesday, relieved that our thesis drafts were all turned in, our focus shifted towards using data analytics to become Fantasy Football advisers. Some of our classmates came up with some incredible algorithms for determining who Professor Lewandowksi should select for his fantsasy football team. Although we were supposed to be using expert analytics for our assignment, Taylor made a great point in noting that the majority of us needed to be using amateur analytics. It would have been nice to have this assignment before my fantasy draft because I would have made some different selections, but I can use my newfound data analytic skills to pick my players next year.

Approaching the end of the week, David invited us to visit Better World Books, a company that he helped found. We learned a great deal about the social aspect of the company and the amount of books that they donate to incredible causes. I don’t think I have ever seen so many books in my life and it was neat to see how the entire process of obtaining, processing, and selling a book works.  Late Thursday evening, our ESTEEM soccer team, captained by none other than Mr. 500 Hours of Solid Works, Michael Sedor, had our first game of the season. We came up a bit short, but hopefully got the butterflies out of our system, and we look forward to bouncing back next week and starting our run to the championship. While excitement started to build for Michigan State game, Connor Ratycz took on the challenge of trying to plan the first tailgate. Emails came and gone, issues with Google Docs arose, but he was successful in getting the logistics together.

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Friday gave our class the chance to interact with several amazing people! ESTEEM alumni Will McLeod and Kerri Dugan came in and talked to us about their experience in ESTEEM and what they are up to now. Will shared with us stories about the challenges of being an entrepreneur and what being on Shark Tank was like. It was inspiring to see how someone in our seats just a few years ago has done so much in so little time. Kerri shared how the program led to her interest in pharmaceuticals and eventually brought her to BGB, where she has progressed throughout her time there. They both offered great advice on the challenges that they have had to overcome and the persistence that it takes to be successful following the program. Jim Hunt was up next on the schedule and he talked about his career ranging from work with the CIA, starting a company, and angel investing. He taught us a great deal about the angel investing world and what he looks for when investing in a start-up company. It really gave us insights into what we need to be thinking about in moving forward as an entrepreneur. Chipotle followed Jim’s talk and we indulged in some delicious burritos. As we started to enter our food comas, the final talk of the day was beginning. Cindy Parseghian and Sean Kassen came to talk to us about the rare disease Neimann-Pick Type C, and the past events that have been used to fundraise research for the disease. ESTEEM put together a bike ride as their legacy project last year, and we had an open discussion on what we could possibly do this year as a legacy project working with Cindy and Sean. It was an inspiring message and it is an exciting opportunity to give back to the community and help a wonderful cause.

Our second football weekend began will a great tailgate arranged by Connor and we were all excited for the primetime matchup with the Spartans. Michigan State jumped out to a big lead and the crowd grew quiet, but the Irish never gave up and ended up coming back. Unfortunately, the comeback came up a bit short and the team dropped their second game of the season. We look forward to cheering them on next week and helping them bounce back against the Duke Blue Devils.

Go Irish!