I'm Robin Bonatesta, a double major in Fashion Merchandising and Computer Science at Kent State University. I'm the assistant manager of the TechStyle Lab, the technology center for fashion students. I also help manage a store in downtown Kent where fashion design students can sell their designs. Additionally, I work as Kent's Google Student Ambassador.
As a student, I lead HacKSU, an organization for students interested in web/software design and development. Through HacKSU, I teach once a week and plan Kent Hack Enough, an annual hackathon. I also work with HacKSU, the TechStyle Lab, and our Blackstone Launchpad (a student business accelerator) to host an annual Fashion Hackathon focused on wearable technology. I also co-founded a yoga and tai chi group on campus where student entrepreneurs and makers come together to relax and hang out once a week. I attend hackathons almost every other week during the school year and I out-eat all the other Kent State hackers at free meals. I love food.
Besides my areas of study, my favorite things in the whole world are cats and dogs, sleeping, eating, graphic design, and entrepreneurship.
Since training, I continued to lead HacKSU, Kent Hack Enough, and the Fashion / Tech Hackathon, scaling and developing a sustainable leadership team. I also started The Fridge, a student led coworking space in the library and continued to work at the TechStyleLAB, a digital prototypinng lab within the Fashion School. In 2015, I traveled with UIF to Stanford and Draper Universities, sharing my story and helping to facilitate. Later that year, I held a UIF Regional Meetup at Kent State University, which focused on hands on making and rapid prototyping. I was recently brought back for the 2016 Annual Meetup as a member of the FAB team.
In May 2016, I graduated and started working full time in Cincinnati as a software engineer for a fashion/tech company, Cladwell and as a Venture for America fellow. Cladwell went through 500 Startups and was featured on Good Morning America during my time there. We sold the company in 2019.
While living in Cincinnati, I started a city wide startup meetup to foster community in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, and started a professional hackathon called CincyHacks which ran for the 2 years I lived there. I spoke at Cincinnati Startup Week about being an engineer at an early stage company, diversity & equity as a woman in tech, and about my experiences as a Venture for America Fellow. I continued to support I&E efforts at local universities by mentoring entrepreneurs in a student incubator at University of Cincinnati and mentoring RevolutionUC. I also spoke at HackCon 2017 about fundraising for collegiate hackathons.
In 2019 I moved to Brooklyn and in December 2019 I started working at theSkimm as a Software Engineer, and in December 2020 I started a new role at BARK (makers of Barkbox/SuperChewer) leading a new team to build a new mobile app experience from the ground up.
Kent State University Strategic Priorities
University Innovation Fellows:
Fall 2014: Robin Bonatesta