Priorities:Texas A & M University Student Priorities

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Project Pitch Video


Texas A&M has a large innovative and entrepreneurial ecosystem. We have a variety of resources aimed at reaching both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as faculty. However, many of the more developed programs are limited to graduate students due to the fact that funds are easier spent on students that are very serious about their pursuits. Undergraduate programs are not non-existent, but simply younger and less robust. Student body awareness is an issue that plauges these newer events as well as an uncertainty of what our campus wants to develop in order to increase the I&E mentality. Knowing what students would want to attend is somewhat of a shot in the dark, hampering the development of new programs.

That being said, programs are being developed with modest success by the engineering faculty. The ultimate pathway to growth in student auidience sizes can be found in student-aided promotion and program development ( i.e. University Innovation Fellows). The Texas A&M University UIF's are devoted to allowing these new and immensly important programs to flourish. We intend to be the bridge between the faculty that have the ability to appropriate the neccessary funding and the students that have aspirations for the campus environment.

Project: Second-Tier Idea-to-Startup Support Structure 

UIF Involved: Brendan Cooper

This project is aimed at developing an additional undergraduate program that helps to increase the conversion rate between ideation and startup businesses.

There exists a program within Texas A&M called Aggies Invent in which students participate in an all-inclusive innovation weekend. They are tasked with deciding on a need that requires a solution, and are then expected to diagnose the issue and develop an early stage solution. Through this avenue of creative incitement, groups and ideas are created that have genuine business potential, and could be taken to further stages of development.

Currently it is very difficult to gather the neccessary momentum to proceed into a business venture. This is because of several issues:

1) Students are unmotivated/ get discouraged not knowing what to do next

2) School is demanding

3) Students become doubtful of their products' or their own potential

4) The group has bad chemistry/ not all members wish to continue

These are issues that need to be minimized in order to effectively promote the ideas that have true merit.

Our plan is to develop a secondary event or program that comes in to re-inspire students and provided much needed guidance at the right time--just before most groups face an utter demize. There are several ways to achieve this, and a multitude of events that could be hosted to make the entrepreneurial process smoother on campus.

Milestone #1:

Research needs to be conducted within the existing Aggies Invent program in order to establish a program that faculty and students agree would be mutually beneficial. Intentions:

1) Conduct interviews at an Aggies Invent weekend for groups that participate.

           Types of input expected:

                  What program would they like to see?

                  How would you rate your group effectiveness?

                  Do you think you will continue developing your idea?

2) Particpate in an Aggies Invent weekend.

           Types of takeaways expected:

                  Did our group expect to continue?

                  Why did or didn't we?

                  What obstacles did we face?


October 23-25: Research conducted for participants of an Aggies invent, base line interviews.

Week of November 2nd: Conduct Follow up interviews to determine how many groups did infact continue and why.

November 20-22: Particpate in Aggies Invent weekend.

Milestone #2: 

Construct a model for the innovative group's lifecycle. Data that was gathered in the research phase needs to be compressed into a general template or diagram that expresses exactly what a group faces at any point in the Texas A&M Startup timeline. This lifecycle will be mostly concerned with the early development and strength of a group's motivation.

1) Develop the physical model.

2) Present this model to faculty to triangulate where this secondary program would be most beneficial.


December: FInish model and present to faculty.

December (after semester): develop comprehensive plan of when we can implement a test event.

Milestone #3:

With the correct information in hand, now comes the time to try to build the new event and/or program. A program curriculum and event timeline needs to be drafted in order to make sure that the test event is well planned and perfoms the function that we are hoping it will perform.

1) Ideation of what the program needs to contain (using research as guide).

             Things to remember:

                      The aim of this event is to support the development of a business model and plan.

                      The event should resemble the same basic structure as its parent event: Aggies Invent, but with a few twists.

2) Draft the program based on what is settled upon in the stage above.

3) Reserve the resources needed to complete the event.

4) Invite teams that have participated in Aggies Invent in the past (max 10 teams).

5) Run the test program.


January 2016: Complete ideation and start drafting the program structure.

February 2016: Reserve the resources and host the event.

Project 2: SpaceX Hyperloop Design Competition

UIF Involved: Carson Muscat

Our university has been given an amazing opportunity to host a large scale event focused around fostering the innovation and entrepreneurial spirit within student minds.

Texas A&M University and SpaceX have been working closely together to be able to host the SpaceX Hyperloop Design Competition. This event will bring a spotlight on innovation and entrepreneurial mindsets as students gather from around the country and world to develop innovative solutions to a future problem. 

The University Innovation Fellow program and the student body has an amazing opportunity to help this event be a spotlight to encourage the ecosystem not only on our campus, but also campuses across the globe. 

Milestone #1:

Discuss and work closely with the Engineering Innovation Center to be able to make a positive impact on the competition and to bring something new to the table. 

Milestone #2:

Coordinate with other representatives of the Texas A&M Student body to be able to bring a stronger student involvement and interest into the event.

Milestone #3:

Help run the event to perfection come January 2016.

Project 3: TAMUHack integration

Currently, one of the largest Innovation and Entrepreneurship events at our school is TAMUHack. TAMUHack is a 24h event in which students from multiple schools come to build a hack, pitch their idea, and win prizes.

At the moment, the event is completely student-organized and the university does not provide a significant amount of sponsorship or coverage to it. The funds for the event are raised through industry sponsors.

I believe the event could be expanded to include more people, and there could be additional ways to integrate more engineers, rather than computer scientists. 

Milestone #1:

To begin the process of change:

1) Contact the TAMUHack board to let them know my intentions.

2) Join the board and aid with organization and sponsor/fund acquisition. 

Milestone #2:

After I've joined, we need to take the following steps/goals:

1) Improve fund acquisition to increase attendance; 

2) Have better media coverage of the event, and more publicity/advertising.

3) Arrange a meeting between the I & E steering council of A&M with the TAMUHack board.

Milestone #3:

After we've arranged / integrated TAMUHack with our I&E expansion, we can then begin the process

of arranging / implementing all the goals.

Project 4: U-Ignite Video Competition

UIF Involved: Jean-Claude Faa

The U-Ignite Video Competition is a one-minute idea pitch competition established in Fall 2014. It establishes a platform for students to submit a one minute video, detailing an innovation idea they may have, for a chance to win a grand prize.

Milestone #1:

1) Establish Innovation and Entrepreneurship  Modules for Introduction to Engineering freshman course

2) Establish student-led pop-up classes for students interested in further instruction on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

3) Advertise the U-Ignite Video Competition, and hold informational sessions

Deliver date: December 14, 2015

Milestone #2:

Launch U-Ignite Video Competition (January 2016)

- Open video submission box

- Open online voting and judging

- Reward top submission

Delivery date: April 2016

Milestone #3:

Competition Follow-up

-Follow up with competitor to see if any are interested in pursuing their ideas

-Work with contestant as well on campus resources to bring ideas to life

Delivery date: TBD

Related Links

Texas A & M University

Carson Muscat

Jean-Claude Faa

Brendan Cooper

Jeff Zhao