Bay Bloom Wins Inaugural “Terp Tank” Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Sophomore Capstone Project Competition

Bay Bloom team

Bay Bloom, a proposed company that would develop and sell an all-natural, algae-based fertilizer, won first place and $500 in the first annual Terp Tank Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) Capstone Project Competition, held on Monday, May 11 at the University of Maryland, with more than 200 people attending.

Bay Bloom is a company idea developed by EIP students Jake Webb (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science), Andrew Dallas (Aerospace Engineering and Computer Science), Ellen Martin (Civil Engineering–Environmental track), and Shriya Gupta (Finance and Information Systems.).

The team proposed developing an organic, algae-based fertilizer with essential components—nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium—as well as a rich array of micronutrients to stimulate plant growth. Bay Bloom’s fertilizer would release its nutrients slowly, giving plants longer access to growth stimulants while also reducing runoff into the watershed.

Bay Bloom

The algae would be grown in raceway ponds adjacent to (and using) water from the Chesapeake Bay, which would be filtered by the algae and returned as clean water throughout the process.

The Bay Bloom team estimates its fertilizer would cost $.12 per pound, which puts it in line with commercially available products.

UMD algae expert Patrick Kangas, Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Technology, provided samples for the team to work with, while Civil & Environmental Engineering lecturer Natasha Andrade mentored the team.

“I definitely want to keep developing Bay Bloom,” said Webb. “This summer we will test the fertilizer in the UMD Public Health Garden and see if it really works. We might also try and produce some packaging, get algae from Dr. Kangas and sell it at farmers’ markets nearby.”

Bay Bloom

SAT Showdown, with an idea for a turn-based, online, multiplayer SAT prep game, took second place in the competition. Third-place winner Bloomies proposed developing a reusable diaper made out of recycled materials.

“The EIP Capstone Project and Terp Tank Competition are the culmination of two years of EIP,” said Ryan Elza, academic program specialist for EIP and organizer of Terp Tank, himself a UMD Honors College alumnus. “Capstone projects address the global necessity to develop and implement solutions to critical social and environmental concerns in ways that are both technologically viable and economically sustainable.”

For their capstone, EIP second-semester sophomores worked in teams to develop a for-profit business plan that achieves a multiple bottom line of both profitability and social benefit.

“Three of our EIP classes were project-based, where we pitched ideas and formed groups around those ideas,” said Webb. “But they were all built around the first class, where we learned the entrepreneurial mindset, a better way of thinking about things. Applied over time, I saw the projects I worked on get better every year.

“Another element they teach in EIP is having a business that is as disruptive and as impactful as possible. This way of thinking definitely influenced our idea for Bay Bloom.”

Terp Tank judges included: Martha Connolly, Director, Mtech Baltimore; Erica Estrada-Liou, Director of Curriculum & Experiential Learning, Academy for Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Ronnie Gist, Associate Director, Maryland Industrial Partnerships (MIPS) program; and Adam VanWagner, Community & Student Programs Manager, Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship.

Daniel Rochkind, UMD Honors College alumnus and COO/CFO of Marker LLC, generously sponsored the Terp Tank award.

About the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP)

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) provides University of Maryland Honors College freshmen and sophomores with an interdisciplinary, living and learning education to help build the entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and relationships invaluable to developing innovative, impactful solutions to today’s problems. A joint program of the Honors College and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), EIP has a proven pedigree of successful creativity and innovation-related education and achievement. Mtech has been a leading force in entrepreneurial education and innovation for more than 25 years. EIP is based directly on Mtech’s groundbreaking Hinman CEOs program, the first undergraduate living-learning entrepreneurship program in the United States.

VisiSonics’ RealSpace 3D Audio Software Licensed by Oculus for Virtual Reality

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (

Image Courtesy: Sergey Galyonkin (

Oculus announced the deal at Oculus Connect, the company’s first developer conference, in Los Angeles, Calif.

RealSpace™ 3D Audio enables the virtual placement of sound anywhere in a 3D space with pinpoint accuracy, creating the perception of real source direction, distance, depth, and movement relative to a listener when heard through standard stereo headphones. It re-creates the auditory ambience of an environment, creating a completely immersive audio experience.

“Audio is an essential ingredient for immersive virtual reality,” said Brendan Iribe, CEO at Oculus. “The technology that the VisiSonics team has developed is a great start towards developing a fully-featured VR audio solution, and we’re incredibly excited to be licensing their work to drive VR forward.”

Based on ten years of research at the University of Maryland, RealSpace™ 3D Audio models the transformations sound undergoes as it travels from a source to a listener’s ears in an environment, using a combination of head-related transfer functions, room models and head-tracking, as well as their interplay.

“We are excited to see our RealSpace engine technology as part of the future of Oculus’ virtual reality systems,” said VisiSonics Founder and President Ramani Duraiswami. “We believe we are at a threshold for physics-based personal audio rendering in virtual reality. Oculus’ innovative technology is poised to catalyze the industry, and we are incredibly happy to play a role in this.”

RealSpace™ 3D Audio technology demos are available today at

VisiSonics is an Mtech Technology Advancement Program incubator company, Maryland Industrial Partnerships grant winner, and a previous finalist for the University of Maryland $75K Business Plan Competition.

UMD Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program Wins National Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education


Pictured: USASBE President Pat Dickson, left, and EIP Director Jay Smith.

The United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE) has selected the University of Maryland Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) as the first-place winner for an Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education award in the Outstanding Specialty Entrepreneurship Program category, university officials announced today.

A joint initiative of the The Honors College and A. James Clark School of Engineering’s Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech), EIP is a two-year, living-learning program for freshman and sophomore honors students that fosters an entrepreneurial spirit, creates a sense of community and cooperation, and develops ethical and innovative leaders.

A leading voice in entrepreneurship research, teaching, and application, with over 1,000 members across the world, USASBE established the Excellence in Entrepreneurship Education Awards to recognize excellence in entrepreneurship education at the programmatic level. Each is awarded on a competitive basis, with only one institution winning in each category during a given year.

“EIP is a growing and dynamic program,” said Clark School Dean and Farvardin Professor Darryll Pines. “Few initiatives have made it to this national scale in less than four years. It is a testament to the passion and dedication of EIP Director Jay Smith, who not only lives and breathes the concept of innovative thinking, but also genuinely cares for each and every one of his students.”

The premise of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) is simple: take some of the most talented students entering the University of Maryland and teach them how to apply entrepreneurial and innovative thinking to everything they do.

Less than four years after the program’s launch, its students are leaders across the university, winning competitions, starting new ventures, bolstering companies, non-profits and government initiatives, and spreading the mindset that an individual really can change the world.

Students best describe the program’s effectiveness.

“Ever since EIP opened my eyes to the entrepreneurial way of thinking, my mind has been on fire,” said Daniel Barotti, a junior mechanical engineer major who is simultaneously developing a system to improve the coordination of relief organizations during disasters, specially-lighted crosswalks to enhance pedestrian safety, and an online platform that donates money to charities when people play games online. “EIP Director Jay Smith taught us how to take a step back and re-evaluate everything. He encouraged us to start businesses and create the change we’d like to see in the world.”

EIP alumna Ashmi Sheth has interned with Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, served as a Changemaker for the social innovation organization Ashoka U, consulted for the banking-for-change company Agora Microfinance, and assumed multiple leadership roles in the Smith Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA).

“The layout of EIP was like a thinking incubator,” said Sheth. “What [Jay Smith] does is very difficult to teach—how to think differently. He brought in successful entrepreneurs and opened our eyes to thinking ‘hey, maybe we don’t all have to work at a big company after college, maybe we can have the guts to just start something and change the world with it, especially our own communities.'”

The comprehensive yet dynamic structure of EIP includes the following:

  • Residential Community: All students live together for two years in an EIP-designated residence hall, creating a strong community, promoting the sharing of ideas, and nurturing real entrepreneurial activity.
  • Incubator Facilities: Two floors of the EIP residence hall were remodeled to create classrooms, project team rooms and program offices, making it easy for students to brainstorm, whiteboard ideas, and benefit from real-time coaching and mentoring.
  • Experiential Learning: Students participate in experiential learning activities including simulations, case studies, creativity projects, outdoor challenge course, a social venture “gumball challenge,” rapid- prototyping exercises, co-curricular workshops, internships, guest lectures, business idea/plan development, presentations, and the creation of student-owned ventures. Many assignments are team-based to build skills in cooperation, negotiation and project management.
  • Coaching and Mentoring: Program offices are located in the residence hall for easy access to coaching and mentoring. Students receive guidance on business ideas, the entrepreneurial process, or discuss career options. The program director has extensive international experience as an entrepreneur, corporate finance professional, consultant and professor of venture business.
  • Challenging Academics: Students complete a series of four required EIP courses (9 credits) taken with members of their cohort. These courses focus on entrepreneurship fundamentals, assessment of individual strengths and interests, developing a personal entrepreneurship strategy, identifying contemporary issues and opportunities for innovation, international aspects of entrepreneurship, and, as a capstone, creating a for-profit business idea with social impact. Courses are taught by the EIP director, select university faculty and industry professionals.
  • Impact Seed Fund: EIP students are eligible to receive grants from a $50,000 annual seed fund established for developing new ventures that make a positive social impact. Funds are to be used for research, product development, or working capital for students’ ventures.
  • Start-up Discussion and Peer Feedback Meetings: Students readying to launch ventures are invited to join regular meetings to share their ideas with their peers and the program staff. The meetings help students develop ideas, identify issues to consider, and obtain other feedback and advice.

Since 2010, EIP has grown to serve 170 freshmen and sophomores in the 2013-2014 academic year and supports 120 additional upper-level students who have completed the program’s course sequence. EIP students are among the highest academic performers at the university, representing a wide variety of fields of study, including business, engineering, sciences, mathematics, agriculture, linguistics, government, psychology, and architecture. Over 40 percent of the program’s freshmen are women.

EIP students have formed ventures in areas such as mobile applications, electrical/electronic devices, internet/web development, military/law enforcement, real estate, specialty apparel, gaming, niche social media, and social ventures. Dozens of others are evaluating ideas to pursue.

In addition, students have worked for Amazon, Google, Texas Instruments, Toyota, and Under Armour, as well as NASA, SAIC, Orbital Sciences, NIST, NIH, FDA, and Northrop Grumman.

They have won case competitions sponsored by Deloitte, Unilever and Target.

“Jay Smith and the EIP students are changing the university every day, for the better,” said Honors College Director William Dorland. “It is wonderful to see their efforts recognized at the national level. There will be more recognition to come, I am certain.”

“We are honored to be recognized for excellence in entrepreneurship education by USASBE, one of the most influential organizations in the nation for supporting entrepreneurship and small businesses,” says EIP Director Jay Smith. “We are committed to continually improving a model program to spur entrepreneurship and innovation, two of the key economic development drivers for creating jobs and bringing new products to market. For students, entrepreneurship is a fantastic vehicle for self-expression and self-actualization, giving them a chance them to pursue their dreams while creating value for society.”

Daniel Barotti: EIP Taught Me I Can Create the Change I Want to See in the World

Daniel Barotti

“When I was in college, I wanted to be involved in things that would change the world.”
–Elon Musk

A conversation with Daniel Barotti yields the following “can-do” list:

  • Fix the way organizations communicate with each other when responding to disasters;
  • Make crosswalks fun so people want to use them;
  • Create a system that donates money to charities when people play games online;
  • Launch a creative engineering design business specializing in products that reward people for positive social behavior; and
  • Employ engineering for the good of society [broadly].

Any one of these could define a career, but the affable, wide-smiling Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) alumnus, current Hinman CEOs student and mechanical engineering junior gives you the impression that, over time, he might tick through all of these, and more.

“Ever since EIP opened my eyes to the entrepreneurial way of thinking, my mind has been on fire,” says Daniel. “It has been a rapid pace of learning.”

A product of the Poolesville High School Science, Mathematics, Computer Science Program, Daniel planned to follow in the footsteps of his father, a civil engineer for Clark Construction for 28 years, who started as an assistant project manager and worked his way up to senior vice president.

“When I came to UMD, I thought everything was laid out,” Daniel explained. “I would graduate and go straight into an engineering job. My interest was in pursuing my engineering education and breakdancing on the side. That all changed when I hit EIP.

“Right from the start, with EIP, we were introduced to non-traditional, lecture-style classes. They were much more involved and interactive. We would sit and talk about our ideas and what we wanted to do.

“From there, EIP Director Jay Smith taught us how to learn and how to think. He didn’t force ideas upon us; rather, he taught us how to take a step back and re-evaluate everything. He encouraged us to start businesses and create the change we’d like to see in the world.”

The “can-do” list was born, starting with an advanced computer system for managing emergency resources, an idea which Daniel’s team developed for the HEIP 241 capstone course “Creating Enterprise with Social Impact.”

“From the distribution of goods to coordinating resources among large organizations to managing volunteers, there can be redundancy and confusion during natural disasters,” said Daniel. “Yet everyone involved is trying to help. We want to make it easier for them to do so.”

More ideas poured in. After hearing how two UMD students got hit by cars last year, Daniel wondered how he could prevent it from occurring again.

“What if it were more appealing to use a crosswalk?” Daniel asked. “What if crosswalks were interactive? What it they lit up as you stepped onto them, kind of like the fun theory’s piano staircase?”

For that matter, what else could he make fun? Not smoking, using trash and recycling bins—basically creating products that make people want to engage in positive behaviors.

Gaming—what if hours logged onto various platforms also produced donations for charity? This idea and the team that produced it, also through HEIP 241, became an interest of Daniel’s.

Last summer, Daniel worked with Amanda Antico, his instructor for HEIP 241, and one of the serial entrepreneur’s companies, Practica Partners, which works with both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations to build entrepreneurial communities.

While there, Daniel helped the company develop a guide on how to start a business. He also worked with Antico’s eight-year-old daughter, Kylee, who runs two businesses of her own, one of which, Tomorrow’s Lemonade Stand, supports entrepreneurial education for kids.

“Together, they taught me the meaning of ambition,” said Daniel. “I was blown away but learned so much, especially regarding the intricacies of starting a business.”

Daniel continues to work with the Anticos today, even while he chips away at his own “can-do” list, a list that almost never got started.

“I was hesitant about the ideas I had to make the world a better place,” said Daniel. “I learned how to get past that hesitation in EIP and I think everyone can learn something from that. Anyone can try. The fear of having an idea turned down, the fear of your ideas not being liked, it is daunting, but once you get the resolve to get out there and try things, you will find an enormous pool of resources, especially people, on campus, who are willing to help you.”

Daniel is swimming in that pool, with mentors from EIP, Hinman, Mtech and on campus always willing to help. Watch that “can-do” list get done.

NSF-Backed DC I-Corps Kicks Off First Cohort with 20 Federal Laboratory, University and Regional Inventors, Entrepreneur Teams

DC I-Corps Logo

Silicon Valley-Tested, Lean Startup-Based Initiative Slated to Train 300 Top Entrepreneurial Research Teams Over Three Years

DC Innovation Corps (I-Corps), the new, National Science Foundation-backed program aimed at translating the region’s vibrant research community into successful startups and licensed technologies, kicks off its first cohort this week at the George Washington University with 20 teams of inventors and current and aspiring entrepreneurs.

The cohort launches with a diverse mix of teams from the Children’s National Medical Center, Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland, the George Washington University, Virginia Tech, George Mason University, and regional entrepreneurs from the Emerging Technology Center, Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech) and bwtech@UMBC.

DC I-Corps guides entrepreneurial teams through an intense, seven-week program based upon the Silicon Valley-tested Lean Startup Model, which emphasizes developing a Minimal Viable Product, gathering extensive feedback from potential customers (a minimum of 100), pivoting and iterating. Teams seek a product-market fit for their innovation while developing a repeatable and scalable business model.

“Nothing lays a better foundation and prepares startups for the rapid change and challenges of the 21st century than the Lean Startup Model,” said DC I-Corps Director Edmund Pendleton. “We believe that combining this methodology with the research churning from world-class universities and federal laboratories in this region is the equivalent of releasing lightning from a bottle. Great companies that bolster the region’s economy and bring important products into our lives are bound to emerge.”

Teams selected for DC I-Corps, segmented by institution, with brief descriptions of the technologies they are developing and entrepreneurial lead, include:

Children’s National Medical Center

  • ChronoKair: comprehensive healthcare smartphone/tablet application covering a patient’s entire hospital course. Entrepreneurial Lead: Kelly Swords, urologist and pediatric urology fellow and adjunct faculty, the George Washington University.
  • Shoulder and Hip Arthrography Robot: small and lightweight robot for shoulder and hip medical procedures. Entrepreneurial Lead: Reza Seifabadi, Joseph E. Robert Fellow at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.
  • Smartpupillometer: smart phone application for measuring pupil size and reactivity in different clinical settings. Entrepreneurial Lead: Mariana Mafra Junqueira, anesthesiologist and pediatrician, and Joseph E. Robert Fellow at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.

Emerging Technology Center

  • Tutela Industries: interactive patient engagement platform that employs a patient engagement approach with the ultimate goal of improving short and long-term outcomes for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. Entrepreneurial Lead: Karen Alder, vice president.

George Mason University

  • High Score Educational: 3D gaming application for science teachers. Entrepreneurial Lead: Len Annetta, professor.

The George Washington University

  • CloudAdvisor: system for predicting virtual machine cloud performance and recommending public cloud instances. Entrepreneurial Lead: Ahsen Uppal, senior software engineer.
  • Key Orthopedics: 3D-printed polymer device for growing stem cells in bone and cartilage tissue. Entrepreneurial Lead: Benjamin Holmes, Ph.D student.
  • NanoChon: joint injury therapeutic technologies for extended and sustained biologic delivery. Entrepreneurial Lead: Nathan Castro, Ph.D. student.
  • Small Spacecraft Micropropulsion: advanced micro-cathode arc thruster for small satellites. Entrepreneurial Lead: Samudra Haque, Ph.D. student.
  • ToxSpec: low-cost, rapid method for predicting pharmaceutical compound activity and toxicity. Entrepreneurial Lead: Nan An, Ph.D. student.

Johns Hopkins University

  • Read Ahead: ocular training method for seeing ahead when learning to read music. Entrepreneurial Lead: Travis Hardaway, adjunct faculty, Peabody Institute.


  • Astrapi Corporation: advanced coding technology for improving broadband and wireless communications. Entrepreneurial Lead: David Shaw, senior vice president.
  • Awarables: solution for measuring sleep disorders in pediatric and aging populations. Entrepreneurial Lead: Madhvi Upender, scientist and entrepreneur.
  • Autonomous Marine Systems: autonomous sailing catamaran for ocean surveillance. Entrepreneurial Lead: T.J. Edwards, partner and mechanical engineer.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County Cyber Incubator@bwtech

  • Surveillant: advanced compliance and checklist software for government, financial, security and related sectors. Entrepreneurial Lead: Jeehye Yun, founder and CEO.

University of Maryland, College Park

  • Diagnostic anSERS Inc.: molecular fingerprinting technology for forensics and chemical analysis. Entrepreneurial Lead: Sean Virgile, Ph.D student.
  • Myotherapeutics: clinical assay for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Entrepreneurial Lead: Eva Chin, assistant professor.
  • N5 Sensors Inc.: chemical sensors for industrial and environmental monitoring. Entrepreneurial Lead: Jonathan George, Ph.D. student, the George Washington University.
  • XiaoQi’: medical device for detecting hemoglobin and oxygen in oral and internal organ lesion tissues. Entrepreneurial Lead: Hsing-Wen Wang, visiting research assistant professor.

Virginia Tech

  • Dynamic Safety Systems: worker safety system with online reporting tools and data analysis. Entrepreneurial Lead: Brady Redfearn, graduate student.

A joint effort of the University of Maryland, the George Washington University and Virginia Tech, DC I-Corps focuses on innovations coming from engineering fields, medical/health/life sciences, and physical and computer sciences. The program builds upon the successful National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps initiative, but expands its scope to cover researchers and technologists with no prior NSF affiliation or support.

DC-I-Corps partners supporting the program and/or providing mentors include FounderCorpsUM VenturesTEDCOCenter for Innovative TechnologyINNoVATEFederal Lab ConsortiumRoanoke – Blacksburg Technology CouncilACTiVATE®Maryland Intellectual Property Legal Resource CenterSpringboard Enterprisesthe George Washington University Office of EntrepreneurshipVirginia Tech School of EngineeringUniversity of Maryland James Clark School of EngineeringUniversity of Maryland Academy for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech).

DC I-Corps is part of a national network of five nodes across the country selected by NSF with additional nodes in Silicon Valley, New York, Atlanta, and Ann Arbor.

More than 200 teams have gone through the I-Corps program; that number is expected to hit 300 by Spring 2014. I-Corps teams completing the program and applying for NSF SBIR Phase I grants have seen a 60 percent award rate compared to a historical one in six average. Poor market and commercialization understanding are cited as the most common reason for rejection.

An additional DC I-Corps cohort customized for National Institutes of Health (NIH) researchers will commence on November 4 on the NIH campus in conjunction with the NIH Office of Technology Transfer and BioHealth Innovation Inc. (BHI).

About DC I-Corps (
DC I-Corps is a regional program designed to foster, grow and nurture an innovation ecosystem in the nation’s capital, the nearby states of Maryland and Virginia, and the mid-Atlantic region. The program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and jointly run by the University of Maryland College Park, the George Washington University, and Virginia Tech. The program provides real world, hands-on training on how to successfully incorporate innovations into successful products. The ultimate goal is to create a new venture or licensing opportunity for program participants.

For Ashmi Sheth, EIP Taught Her to Think Differently and Gave Her the Confidence to Pursue Her Dreams

Ashmi Sheth

Remember the name of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) alumna Ashmi Sheth. Odds are, you will see it again.

The limits to the Germantown, Md. native’s capacity to get involved and affect positive change have yet to be found.

Take last spring, for example. With a course load of 21 credits, Ashmi found time for an internship with Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown, served as a Changemaker for Ashoka U, a group committed to catalyzing social innovation in higher education, and, last but not least, was a member of not one but two organizations within the Smith Undergraduate Student Association (SUSA).

This fall, she takes on the role of president of the UMD Indian Student Association. She is also a teaching assistant for the Social Innovation Fellows course, taught by the Center for Social Value Creation’s Melissa Carrier. Ashmi took the course last spring, through which she consulted for the banking for change company Agora Microfinance.

“My parents say do what you do but do it well, and enjoy it, because you have to enjoy your life,” said Ashmi. “We have lived on that philosophy.”

Ashmi’s passion is politics, and the broad portfolio of activities she’s pursued has steadily built her network, laying the foundation for a career of positive change.

“With politics, there is nobody I can really follow as a path, so I am making my own,” said Ashmi. “I think that’s very entrepreneurial, just having the guts to do it.”

EIP, she says, gave her the confidence to pursue her dream. But it started with a desire to shift her perspective.

“As a business major, I came into college and looked at what honors program best fit me,” said Ashmi. “I wanted to start challenging myself to think differently rather than just seeing things as they are. A lot of people do that, and I think it is a big problem.

“When I joined EIP my goal was to learn how to see a problem as an opportunity. I have done so. My thinking is now reflective of EIP. I never would have dreamed a two-year program would impact me this much but it has.”

EIP Director Jay Smith, Ashmi says, is a big reason.

“What he [Jay] does is very difficult to teach, how to think differently,” said Ashmi. “He brought in successful entrepreneurs and opened our eyes to thinking ‘hey, maybe we don’t all have to work at a big company after college, maybe we can have the guts to just start something and change the world with it, especially our own communities, our worlds.'”

Smith championed creative thinking, which Ashmi said has proven valuable in job interviews. “Companies are looking for innovative students and kids that are thinking on top of their feet,” she explained. “You can find plenty of kids that memorize information but can’t do anything with it. It’s better to be creative.”

Even the classroom setting in EIP, Ashmi said, was different.

“The layout of our class was like a thinking incubator,” said Ashmi, “with lots of people with great ideas all working together to create impact on a community.”

Last spring, Ashmi was selected for the SUSA Most Valuable Player Award. As a member of both the Undergraduate Consulting and Operations Management SUSA groups, Ashmi lobbied to bring the Wall Street Journal in print form to the business school.

“We have it online but the print version is in very few locations on campus,” Ashmi explained. “We think premier institutions that are business-related should have access, so why don’t we?”

The dual finance and government major will find out later this year if her efforts were successful.

Ashmi also served on a committee that explored gaining access to Van Munching Hall for longer hours so students could study later. She helped bring in Lockheed Martin, Deloitte and other companies to speak to and inspire students.

“Consulting is something that a lot of business schools don’t teach,” said Ashmi. “It’s something that you just kind of work into after college. I think getting exposure to successful consulting firms is a great way for us to learn about it.”

From government to business to the university, from small groups to large, Ashmi leaves a wake of positive impact everywhere she goes. Keep an eye on the communities she is a part of in the future. You will likely see her again.

The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program (EIP) is a joint initiative of the Honors College and the Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute (Mtech). EIP provides freshmen and sophomores from all majors the opportunity to learn and live entrepreneurship and innovation. Students develop the entrepreneurial mindsets, skill sets, and relationships to launch successful concepts with startup companies and corporate ventures. Through experiential learning, dynamic courses, seminars, workshops, competitions, and volunteerism, students receive a world-class education in entrepreneurship and innovation. In collaboration with faculty and mentors who have successfully launched new ventures, all student teams develop an innovative idea and write a product plan.

Innovative Biosensors: system to detect food-borne pathogens, such as salmonella and listeria


Business Description:

Innovative Biosensors Inc. is a privately held company developing novel technologies for the rapid detection of pathogens in biodefense applications and human clinical diagnostics. Innovative Biosensors’ technology has been tailored to rapidly and sensitively detect biological threats in building security, military, and civil defense applications. Additionally, the technology platform is being used to develop rapid tests for the detection of hospital-acquired infections.


Innovative Biosensors wanted to create a system that would rapidly detect pathogens in food processing.  The company needed to test whether known food pathogens could be detected rapidly and with great sensitivity and specificity.

MIPS Role:

IBI worked with Dr. Jianghong Meng of UMD’s department of nutrition and food science to develop their pathogen detection system for use in food processing. They showed that IBI’s system had the ability to rapidly detect E. coli, salmonella and listeria.



IBI secured $21.65 million in investment and created 29 jobs. The company spun off PathSensors, incorporating their core technology, to provide the rapid, sensitive detection and identification of food-borne pathogens and toxins from environmental or food products.


Interesting Fact:

IBI is a graduate company of Mtech’s Technology Advancement Program.

Project Manager:  Tom Hazel

Principal InvestigatorJianghong Meng, UMD

Location:  Rockville, Maryland – Montgomery County

Project Start Date:  8/1/2005

Herb Rabin and Dave Barbe Farewell Reception: Video 3

This is the third of three videos shown at the Farewell Reception for Drs. Herbert Rabin and David Barbe on February 15, 2013. William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor & Chief Executive Officer, University System of Maryland; Gayatri Varma, Executive Director, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of Maryland; Dean Chang, Associate Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland; Mark Anstey, former President, DataStream Content Solutions; George Dieter, former Dean, A. James Clark School of Engineering; Patrick O’Shea, Vice President and Chief Research Officer of the University of Maryland; MIPS Director Martha Connolly; James V. Green, Director, Entrepreneurship Education and Hinman CEOs Program and Senior Lecturer and Associate Director, Mtech; MIPS Associate Director Joseph Naft; and Karen Thornton, Executive Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University Relations.

Herb Rabin and Dave Barbe Farewell Reception: Video 2

This is the second of three videos shown at the Farewell Reception for Drs. Herbert Rabin and David Barbe on February 15, 2013. It includes commentary from: William E. (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor & Chief Executive Officer, University System of Maryland; Gayatri Varma, Executive Director, Office of Technology Commercialization, University of Maryland; Warren Citrin, Co-Founder, Solipsys; Kwok Li, President and CEO RioRey; and Dean Chang, Associate Vice President, Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University of Maryland.

Herb Rabin and Dave Barbe Farewell Reception: Video 1

This is the first of three videos shown at the Farewell Reception for Drs. Herbert Rabin and David Barbe. It includes commentary from: Governor Martin O’Malley, Patrick O’Shea, Vice President and Chief Research Officer of the University of Maryland; MIPS Director Martha Connolly; James V. Green, Director, Entrepreneurship Education and Hinman CEOs Program and Senior Lecturer and Associate Director, Mtech; MIPS Associate Director Joseph Naft; and Karen Thornton, Executive Director for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, University Relations.