Welcome Student Fellows Class of 2016!

We’re kicking off the new year with one of our favorite initiatives here at CV — our Student Fellows program. Launched by our Senior Associate Ezra Galston three years ago, we seek out the most entrepreneurial, curious and bright students in young ecosystems all over the Midwest — from Omaha to Cincinnati to Iowa City — to join our team for a few months.

While we make an effort to get to know every entrepreneurial ecosystem in the central part of the country, there are certainly things that slip off the radar. Our Student Fellows act as boots on the ground in these ecosystems, sharing the inside scoop, providing perspective on industries we want to learn more about, and scouting companies. And we think they get something out of it too — a first-hand view into how a venture firm operates, access to our team, portfolio companies, and networks, and — importantly — a network of their fellow Fellows that they can tap into for the rest of their professional lives.

This year’s bunch includes startup founders, data scientists, an ex-D1 athlete, and economists. All are deeply involved in entrepreneurial efforts on campus, whether it’s running their campus incubator space, student venture funds, or student-run entrepreneurship groups. Get to know them here…

Ali Afridi
University of Illinois
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Ali is a senior at the University of Illinois studying Computer Science. He started the Startup Bootcamp accelerator at UIUC which has helped dozens of student teams build their companies. Over the summer of 2015, Ali worked as an associate at General Catalyst Partners in New York City working with the early-stage investment team to find the next big tech startups. His other experiences include co-founding Illini Student Storage, a summer storage service for students, and working as a product developer at Atlas5D (Techstars ‘12).

Favorite course: My favorite course has been Engineering 315 — a project-driven course where student teams are paired with nonprofits to work on consulting projects. The class allowed me to apply skills that I learned in class to work on a project that had real implications.

App you can’t live without: Asana

Shane DeWael
Purdue
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My name is Shane DeWael, and I’m a sophomore computer science student at Purdue University. In my free time, I’m the Director of a student coworking space called The Anvil, whose goal is to aid and motivate student entrepreneurs. I also help organize a nationwide hackathon held at Purdue called BoilerMake, and am on the Undergraduate Board of Computer Science.

Favorite course: My favorite course is an Introduction to Algorithms class I took this semester. It helped bridge the gap between theoretical computer science and real code and projects I work on in my free time. It’s probably been the most applicable class I’ve taken since coming to Purdue.

App you can’t live without: Facebook Messenger

Nick Finney
Miami University
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I am a senior Finance major with a minor in entrepreneurship at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. I am the Managing Director of Redhawk Ventures, Miami’s student-led venture capital fund. The fund invests in Miami student and alumni startups as well as offering consulting and advisory services. I have experience working at a venture capital firm and commercial bank in Cincinnati. I have a passion for the startup space and helping students pursue new ventures. In my free time I enjoy fly fishing and skiing.

Favorite course: My favorite college course was entrepreneurial consulting, the capstone class I took this past semester. I was on a team with 4 other students and we were assigned to a client in Cincinnati. It was interesting to use entrepreneurial processes in order to solve complex business problems in a large corporation, it provided a new challenge I had not been exposed to previously in my college career.

App you can’t live without: I use snapchat to communicate with friends more than texting.

Sonam Jindal
University of Chicago
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Sonam Jindal is studying economics at University of Chicago ’17. With a passion for economic and public policy issues, she decided to take a year off before college to work on two political campaigns. During this experience, she began to think about how technology could solve a lot of the challenges facing politics. She is interested in utilizing the power of technology and the start-up mindset to solve social, political, and economic problems. In addition to political experience, and economics research, she worked at the Runway Incubator last summer with a focus on Education Technology and Internet of Things technology.

Favorite course: My favorite course so far has been Power, Resistance, and Identity which challenged me to think about how society and the economy is structured. I enjoyed thinking critically about consciousness, various power structures in our society, governance, the economy and having discussions with the class and professor. It was a good balance to my otherwise quantitative classes.

App you can’t live without: Google Maps! I absolutely love exploring neighborhoods, trying new restaurants, and finding coffee shops to work in but don’t have the best sense of direction-so I can’t live without Google Maps.

Andrew Lee
Washington University
I am a Sophomore in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, studying Economics & Strategy and Computer Science. Last semester, intrigued about the growing startup ecosystem in St. Louis, two friends and I started an entrepreneurship organization called Y’s Thoughts on campus revolved around developing student venture ideas. During summers, I like to travel to new places. Two summers ago it was Quito, Ecuador, last summer was spent in Tel Aviv, Israel, and this coming summer, I will be in Madagascar for 3 weeks to design a sustainable business for the local people to operate.

Favorite course: Game Theory for Business. Initially, I was intimidated of the content, mainly because all the homework problems were very open-ended in nature and yet had correct answers. However, with more practice, I started to understand the complex games, such as competitive pricing, and improve as a problem solver. I’m excited for the next game theory-based class, Market Competition and Value Appropriation.

App you can’t live without: I can’t live without two apps, TechCrunch and Postmates. TechCrunch is the best news app on technology trends, and Postmates gets me a Bulgogi burrito from Seoul Taco in less than 20 minutes.

Alice Shang
University of Michigan
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Alice Shang is currently a senior at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. She is pursuing a concentration in finance and accounting as well as a minor in applied statistics. Upon graduation she will be working at Lazard San Francisco as an investment banking analyst in the technology group. In her free time, she likes to dance, mentor, read, and try new foods.

Favorite course: My favorite course has been “Introduction to Information Studies” because it explores many interesting and relevant topics including big data, privacy, social media, gamification, and more. In fact, the course was structured as a gamified system, offering a really unique way of learning.

App you can’t live without: Facebook

John Sheeley
University of Iowa
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John is a junior studying finance, economics, and entrepreneurial management at The University of Iowa where he serves as president to the on-campus entrepreneurial student organization, leads an equity research team, and operates a student consulting group.

John’s passion for startups began with his father, who owns a small business in southwest Florida. This passion extended to John’s first company, which he founded in the summer of 2014. John previously held positions as a teaching assistant in finance, an economics tutor, and as an intern for small and large companies.

Outside of class and work, John enjoys deep sea fishing, competitive golf, trap shooting, and playing guitar.

Favorite course: Applied Equity Valuation (FIN :4250); I learned the fundamentals of economic, industry, and company-specific analysis and developed a skill-set in valuation modeling in an applied environment. Roughly 40 students who were accepted into the class were given the opportunity to make buy/hold/sell recommendations for the Krause Fund, the university’s endowed equity portfolio.

App you can’t live without: MyFitnessPal; The application helps me track my daily nutrient intake on a caloric, macro, and micro-nutrient basis. I would absolutely recommend this application to anyone looking to improve their diet.

Kat Slump @
University of Nebraska at Omaha
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Kat Slump is a tech-obsessing, cat-loving, startup junkie looking to make an impact on the world. Currently pursuing her bachelor’s in IT Innovation at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Kat currently works for two tech startups- Interface Web School and Flywheel. When not working, you can find Kat leading as the president of CEO, her university’s entrepreneur organization. Among her passions, Kat’s mission this year has been to be the bridge between students in the Midwest and the startups in the area- hoping to showcase the success of the companies, as well as, the many opportunities available to students. This summer Kat will be interning as a Software Engineer at Apple in Cupertino, CA.

Favorite course: Mobile Development is my favorite course because I’ve always received the greatest rush when creating something that has the potential to be in the hands of millions. In today’s day and age, impacting a million lives isn’t unforeseeable. It’s quite possible- that’s exciting to me.

App you can’t live without: Instagram

Shae Wang
Northwestern
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Shae Wang is a junior at Northwestern University studying Statistics, Computer Science, and Integrated Marketing Communications. She is the Director of NU Venture Challenge, Northwestern’s annual venture competition and an entrepreneur in residence at the Garage, Northwestern’s incubator space. She will be joining Civis Analytics as a Data Science intern this summer. Lately, a few of her favorite things to do are meeting new people, exploring in the city, and nerding out on Kaggle.

Favorite course: My favorite course is the first computer science class I took at Northwestern, functional programming in Racket. It was my first time programming, my first time learning about Lisp and during which I had an animation guru as a professor and made my first video game.

App you can’t live without: Uber.

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