My Week in ESTEEM - Week 21

Author: Jon Freise

Jon FreiseJon Freise

Welcome back to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experiences in our program. This week's blog is brought to us by Jon Freise, a Boston College graduate, who discusses his second to last week before Spring Break. 


I kept thinking to myself, just a handful of days left. Almost there. At the tail end of the previous week, I found myself frantically rushing to format the final details for my team’s McCloskey Business Plan competition second round submission, which requires a 10-page business plan with financial forecasts. Every year, over hundred teams comprised of members from the entire ND community enter the competition for a shot at the $25,000 Grand Prize. Back in October, I formed a team with a fellow ESTEEM student Weston Terrasse and ND alumnus Jason Young, CEO of a medical diagnostic start-up company called NanoSynth Materials and Sensors, Inc. Together, we submitted my industry sponsored thesis project (from NanoSynth) focused on developing a point-of-care monitoring device for age-related macular degeneration, a chronic eye disease affecting over 10 million Americans.

The following afternoon, a large group of ESTEEM students headed off to a small city in Michigan called Watervliet. We sat out by the lakefront, played soccer tennis, and enjoyed the sunshine. The day peaked at 53 degrees Fahrenheit. The glimpse of spring was in the air, and I thought good ol’ groundhog Punxsutawney Phil just might be right with his early Spring prediction. Early the next week, however, my hopes were crushed as the weather turned for the worse when we had about a foot of snow dumped on us in South Bend. However, in the back of my mind I knew I would soon be racing out of South Bend for our ESTEEM class’ heavily anticipated spring break trip in California. I kept thinking to myself, just a handful of days left. Almost there.

Aside from the winter storm this week, a lot of exciting things were happening. A group of ESTEEM students signed up for 11v11 outdoor intramural soccer with our minds set on winning the championship. The spring break planning committee, consisting of our assistant director, Sunny Shah, and a few other ESTEEM students and myself, wrapped up the final back-end details of our trip. We are incredibly excited about the many opportunities ahead and the chance to tour some really awesome companies, including Facebook and Uber.  I kept thinking to myself, just a handful of days left. Almost there.


In past years, former ND Dean of Science Gregory Crawford bicycled across the country to raise awareness for Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a rare, genetic, and fatal cholesterol-storage disorder that affects children (more details here about his journeys). Over the past few weeks, members of our ESTEEM class decided to carry on the legacy of the “Road to Discovery” biking event by planning to ride over 350 miles from Louisville, Kentucky to South Bend, Indiana. This week, our bike ride training program reached full swing. My week was capped off with an awesome 75-minute training session at the Rockne cycling room. I kept thinking to myself, just a handful of days left. Almost there.

Early next week, I will be wrapping up some details and submitting the first draft of my entire thesis before spring break. I keep thinking to myself, just a handful of days left. Almost there…