Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Everyone has a hand in student success

The State System’s annual Business Plan Competition provides student entrepreneurs a real-world opportunity to pitch their business plans and to win funds to assist in the start-up of their businesses. While last week’s awards ceremony highlighted the work of 10 finalists, including this year’s winner Blaise Delfino of East Stroudsburg University (ESU), the hard work all 223 teams put into their projects is a direct result of the support each received at their universities along the way.

For example, Blaise started graduate school at ESU in the Fall of 2015 and learned of the competition through the ESU Career Development Office. For his winning entry, he proposed developing ear plugs that provide hearing loss protection. ESU’s Entrepreneurial Leadership Center Coordinator, Gerald Ephault, met with Blaise weekly to go over his business plan and provided him with contacts and ideas to implement his concept. Perhaps most notable, three faculty members in the Speech-Language Pathology Department—Drs. Susan Dillmuth-Miller, LuAnn Batson-Magnuson, and Rachel Wolf—were part of Blaise’s research team that helped measure the effectiveness of the product. Their experience was invaluable to the ultimate success of his business plan.

I’m certain similar stories would be told by many of the participants, which reaffirms the fact that our students’ success as entrepreneurs cannot be achieved alone. Our dedicated faculty and staff support students and go the extra mile every day. As Blaise so eloquently pointed out, “faculty members truly care about the success of their students.” I couldn’t agree more.

On behalf of the entire State System, I offer congratulations to all the students who participated in the 2016 Business Plan Competition and express sincere gratitude to everyone behind the scenes for making student success a priority across the system.