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Dean's Column

New Business Incubator for Undergraduates

Frieder Seible, Dean

This fall we will launch the Moxie Center, an undergraduate incubator aimed at helping our Jacobs School students turn their ideas into products and companies. The Moxie Center will encourage the entrepreneurial spirit amongst our undergraduates by providing resources ranging from dedicated laboratories, where students can work on their prototypes, to mentoring by experienced engineering entrepreneurs. In addition, we will offer a technical elective in which students will design projects while learning about product development and commercialization. The most promising ideas and teams will be offered the Zahn Prize to help seed further development of their products.

I would like to extend a most heartfelt thanks to Irwin Zahn, his family, and their Moxie Foundation for investing in our undergraduates and making the Moxie Center possible. Seeing the Moxie Center come together is especially gratifying because Irwin Zahn is such a terrific role model for our students. In 1954, shortly after he earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the City University of New York, Zahn founded an industrial staple company, General Staple. Zahn built this one-man venture into AUTOSPLICE, an innovative international enterprise that produces connectors for electronics, including the ubiquitous pin and socket. Zahn sold AUTOSPLICE in 2011. Much of Zahn's success can be traced back to innovation and problem solving through engineering – as well as the fortitude to keep working until difficult and important problems are solved. This captures the spirit of the Moxie Center and underscores some of what I hope Jacobs School undergraduate students will gain.

The Moxie Center will complement the Jacobs School's von Liebig Entrepreneurism Center, which primarily focuses its efforts on entrepreneurism education, business mentoring and proof-of-concept grants for faculty and graduate students. Together, the Moxie Center and the von Liebig Center offer a comprehensive suite of services that will enable the Jacobs School community to develop and transfer ideas and discoveries for the benefit of society.At the Jacobs School, we strive to provide our students with the technical and theoretical foundations they need to succeed in the engineering workforce. By getting involved in student organizations and Jacobs School programs within our engineering talent pipeline, our students can apply their technical knowledge and develop the confidence necessary to take calculated risks, work in interdisciplinary teams, follow through on unconventional ideas, and even learn from failure. The Moxie Center will provide students with the opportunity to leverage all these hard and soft skills developed at the Jacobs School in order to turn their ideas into products and companies – ventures that have the potential to contribute to our economy and improve lives. If the Moxie Center inspires you, please join The Moxie Challenge, our matching-funds initiative described in Dream Design Develop.

Frieder Seible

Frieder Seible
Dean

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