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ESTEEM Program: Professional Master's Degree for Tech Savvy Entrepreneurs

AUTHOR: Nina Welding

PUBLISHED: June 30, 2016

One of the many options Notre Dame engineering students have upon graduation includes a professional master's degree, such as the one offered in the ESTEEM program. An 11-month entrepreneurship program, ESTEEM provides students with an engineering, science, or mathematics background with a professional master's degree in entrepreneurship, specifically the business skills required to launch a start-up based on the commercialization of a technological discovery or innovation. Here is an overview of some of the participants in the 2015-16 program:

ARNAUD BAYCE
Major: Electrical Engineering
Arnaud Bayce was born and raised in Burkina Faso. He studied at Notre Dame as an undergrad with a major in electrical engineering and worked on several research projects related to nanotechnology, which he is particularly keen on. During his undergraduate years, he was granted a fellowship by the Notre Dame’s Center for Nano Science and Technology to conduct a project consisting of designing a Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) — integrated device for photo-acoustic spectroscopy applications in environmental sensing, medical diagnostics, industrial process control, and homeland security.

Striving for solutions to turn great ideas into marketable products is a fascinating endeavor to him, which explains his reason for joining ESTEEM. What he hopes to gain from this program is the ability to effectively recognize and synthesize the pressing needs of a targeted customer segment, and the capacity to strategically launch a novel product in an emerging market.

For his capstone thesis, he is working on an industry-sponsored project, which consists of developing a commercial plan for an emergency power pack based on ultra-capacitor — technology for jump starting commercial vehicle fleets in the United States. He is being mentored by a great team including one former ESTEEM student, Kevin O’Keeffe from Slipstream Projects.

Some of his hobbies include DJing, socializing, playing pool and basketball.

GENEVIEVE CRUM
Major: Environmental Science
Graduating in the class of 2015, Genevieve Crum received her bachelor's in environmental science at Notre Dame. Driven by a passion for food justice and sustainable agriculture (as well as her love for the collaborative and value-driven environment at Notre Dame), she became a Double Domer, entering into the ESTEEM graduate program to study applied entrepreneurship in the fields of science and technology.

For her capstone thesis, she is working with the South Bend Unity Gardens to address the following needs voiced by the city: water conservation, soil remediation, increased tree and native plant growth, transformation of abandoned urban lots, and increased number of jobs for local community members. She is working on creating a model that will utilize these abandoned lots in a way that will positively impact the city in three important ways: environmentally, financially and socially. This project is exactly why she chose to apply to the ESTEEM program, as it underlines the program’s mission to give students the skills to “be a powerful force for good in the world.”
She is from Louisville, Kentucky, and true to the stereotype, she loves riding and training horses. She also has a love for travel, running, cooking and nutrition, Italy (especially the language and food culture), and spending time with friends and family.

CHRISTIAN KNIGHT
Major: Civil Engineering
Born and raised in Houston, Texas, Christian Knight is a proud member of the University's Class of 2015 with a bachelor's in civil engineering and a concentration in structural engineering. With a passion for travel and expanding his worldview, he also studied in Alcoy, Spain, and Perth, Australia, where he researched the implementation of cement-stabilized rammed earth for affordable housing construction. As a sophomore, he joined the College of Engineering’s undergraduate ND-SEED team to fund raise, design, and construct a pedestrian footbridge in the rural flood zone community of El Sol, Nicaragua. Attracted to the innovation and design environment, he supplemented his engineering education with architecture and fine arts courses looking for any opportunity to pick up a sketchbook or a camera.

Through the ESTEEM program, he is excited to combine his technical and design backgrounds and gain the business tools necessary to bring today’s exciting technology to market. For his capstone thesis, he is working with Professor Matt Leevy to develop and commercialize 3-D printed imaging phantoms for pre-clinical and clinical medical imaging applications. With the millions of medical images captured daily, and the frequent advancements in scanning equipment capabilities, the advanced 3-D printed phantoms will work to validate the imaging technology and take medical imaging resolution to the next level of definition.

After interning at construction litigation consulting and startup nonprofit consulting firms, he looks forward to pursuing a career in strategy and technology consulting or product design and development. He feels blessed to be immersed into the entrepreneurial ecosystem and surrounded by the minds of his ESTEEM colleagues.

In his free time, he enjoys traveling, sampling local restaurants, photography, swimming, and running,