Taking elite entrepreneurship students and immersing them into the world of startups, early-stage ventures, and high-impact companies in Washington D.C. and New York City is sure to be an unforgettable experience. 

Last week 28 students from the Center for Entrepreneurship’s ELP and TechLab programs participated in NEXT (Northeast Entrepreneurship Startup Trek), a four day trip where students heard from founders, tackled innovation challenges, and met with area alumni.

Each stop on the Trek had something different to offer. Hear from the students themselves about what they took away from their experiences during the trip. 


Dinner with Randy Brouckman – CEO at EdgeConneX, Inc and Pack Janes – Emerging Tech Lead at EdgeConneX 

“Meeting Randy was such a pleasure. I love how he concisely took us over his journey and emphasized on hard work, active and informed decision making, and the people who helped him throughout.” – Deepti Pandey (ELP), Human Computer Interaction (‘21)


Meeting and group exercise with team at TransitScreen: CEO & Co-Founder Matt Caywood, VP of Operations Julie Giffin, Developer Eric James, and Developer Ousman Mariko 

“Listening to founders’ stories about how they bring their ideas to life and make a positive social impact was truly inspirational. Learning how they apply business princisavples to achieve scalable and sustainable ventures was very instructional.” – Yingying Zeng (TechLab: Climate Change), Macromolecular Science and Engineering (‘21) 

Heard insights from Tige Savage – Co-Founder of Revolution, Anna Mason – Partner at Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, and Aia Sarycheva – Senior Associate at Rise of the Rest Seed Fund  

“This trek is definitely the top defining moment in my life. I will look back at this experience and realize when I full heartedly decided to become an entrepreneur. I feel ready and incredibly motivated to change the world.” – Elis Sholla (ELP), Computer Science – Eng & Data Science – Eng (‘21) 

Presentation, Q&A and tour of Halcyon Incubator with Social Entrepreneurship Program Director Mike Malloy, followed by breakout sessions with Shavini Fernando – Founder & CEO of OxiWear, Camille Clark – COO of Filkshop, and Matt Fischer – Founder of Altair Health

“(Mike Malloy’s) conviction and openness was inspiring. He stressed that it is the slow routine through hard work, failure, and diligence that allows one to truly value well-earned achievement.” – Nina Perry (ELP), Chemical Engineering (‘21) 

Dinner with D.C. area U-M alumni: VJ Bala, Matt Bosch, Michelle Brechtelsbauer, Josh D’Angelo, Emily Dresner, Joe Saunders, Clarence Wardell, Aisha Bowe and Antony Maderal 

“It was inspiring to see just how powerful the Michigan network is; there was a mutual sense of belonging, genuine interest in hearing each others’ stories, and words of encouragement to help one another.” – Krupa Patel (ELP), Neuroscience (‘22)


Meeting and panel discussion with team at CARMERA: CEO Ro Gupta, Director of Marketing Darwon Choe, Founding Engineer Chase Nicholl and VP of Business Development Jessie Lazarus

“CARMERA embodied what I see as the beauty of the startup model. They identified a problem, came up with a simple and effective solution, made it cost effective, and brought it into reality. As an engineer, I saw much of myself in this company, which helped me realize that I can do this too.” – James Boyce (TechLab at Mcity), Electrical Engineering (‘20)

Presentation by New Lab CEO Shaun Stewart and VP of Product & Programs Shaina Horowitz before a tour of the New Lab space in the Brooklyn Navy Yard 

“Knowing that organizations and opportunities like New Lab exist in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is indeed very uplifting and inspiring for us who are just starting our entrepreneurial dreams.” – Eugene Tsai (TechLab at Mcity), Computer Science (‘21)

Q&A at IA Ventures with Managing Partner Roger Ehrenberg 

“I found that Roger’s advice really captured the Michigan mentality: to cultivate learning by constantly challenging yourself to be better today than you were yesterday.” – Krupa Patel (ELP), Neuroscience (‘22)

Dinner with David Golden, Founder of Bowery Farming 

“David Golden is living proof that one can be a nice and gentle person and still an incredibly successful entrepreneur. I have never seen someone be so humble and thankful while having reached unprecedented levels of success. We need more entrepreneurs like him who are genuinely interested in making the world a better place.” – Elis Sholla (ELP), Computer Science – Eng & Data Science – Eng (‘21) 


Breakfast with Kevin Yanos, Product Manager at Cargo Systems Inc.  

“This trip was one of the most motivational events I have been in. While we learned about so many success stories, it was invaluable to learn about failure stories and knowing that some of these entrepreneurs are still at it in spite of massive setbacks. It helped me set aside my initial fear of failure, knowing that it is possible to not only recover from but even thrive after failures. I was so impressed with the candor with which the founders and VCs addressed us. It helped open a channel of meaningful conversation that I am grateful to be a part of.” – Deepti Pandey (ELP), Human Computer Interaction (‘21)