Janaee Wallace (ESTEEM '16)
Welcome back to "My Week in ESTEEM" where students reflect upon their experience in our program. This week's blog is brought to us by Janaee Wallace, a recent graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, TX. She discusses grad student appreciation week, the Ideas Challenge, and oral exams.
Nothing says love like graduate student appreciation week. This week in ESTEEM - and across campus - it was graduate appreciation week. That means discounted meals, free drinks, and lots of FREE SWAG. With the stress of my oral presentation and mid-terms coming up, the perfect way to decompress is with a good pumpkin cheesecake muffin from Starbucks and the best NCAA Division I football, soccer if you prefer, team Notre Dame. It was an intense game against the Michigan Wolverines and ultimately we tied but the free soccer scarf was worth the intense, edge of your seat action.
Later in the week, seven ESTEEM students (Abbey Santanello, Csanad Egervari, Jack O’Meara, Edward Gordon, Paul Mahony, Stephen Ennis and Jordan Schwers) participated in the Ideas Challenge. The Ideas Challenge is a kick-off to the Gigot Center for Entrepreneurship’s McCloskey Business Plan Competition. The McCloskey Business Plan Competition is an annual competition for entrepreneurs of the Notre Dame community to develop businesses, products, and services. This competition is open to all members of the Notre Dame community (including students, faculty, and alumni). For the Ideas Challenge however, only undergraduate and graduate students can participate and compete giving 60-second elevator pitches for their ideas. This competition serves as a platform to create connections for Notre Dame students to build teams. This year the overall winner for the Ideas Challenge took away $500 cash, and the four next-best ideas won GoPro cameras. In addition to these ideas $100 cash prizes were given to the 10 most promising online media ideas. Further, a new division to the McCloskey Business Plan Competition is for technologies, businesses, and services that aim to adapt to climate change. The Ideas Challenge $100 cash rewarded 3 individuals with innovative solutions for climate change adaptation. Sitting through that process opened my eyes to the strong entrepreneurial sprit within the University of Notre Dame.
This week is also a part of ESTEEM's Capstone Thesis Oral Defense. The oral defense is where each student defends their technology in depth before their advisor board (consisting of a Thesis Advisor, a Technical Advisor, and an Industry Advisor/Sponsor). Each student has to provide an in-depth analysis of each technology with questions of various difficulty levels. This is culminated with a unanimous board decision of pass/fail. Luckily I passed my oral defense and will continue forward onto the following chapters with my thesis.
Finally this week capped off with a stellar Irish football, yes American football, with the Fighting Irish against the US Navy with the Irish winning it all. Overall it was a great celebration to support and encourage those who protect the American borders and freedom. Especially considering the strong presence of men and women of service who attended Notre Dame. We are even honored to have within our program this year, Nadia Correa, a veteran. Thank you to all who serve.
All in all, it has been an amazing week of successes and celebrations at the University of Notre Dame. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year has in store.