USASBE Member Spotlight: Tracey Mays

Tracey is an Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Management at Minot State University. We recently sat down with Tracey to learn more about her. Here’s what she had to say.

Question: How did you get into entrepreneurship education? What was your path?
 

I have been a nontraditional entrepreneur since an early age, I did not initially set out to be in entrepreneurship education. My dissertation research was in the area of social entrepreneurship and this sparked an interest in entrepreneurship education. Coincidentally this was around the same time my university was looking for someone to spearhead the design and implementation of an entrepreneurship program. And the rest, as they say is history. I developed a great entrepreneurship program that consists of a major and a minor and a certificate in entrepreneurship at Minot State University. The program is growing and our university is contributing to the entrepreneurship ecosystem within our city. 
 
Question: What is your favorite class to teach and why?

I really enjoy my teaching load, but if I had to pick one favorite class I would have to say right now it’s Corporate Entrepreneurship. It’s a class that I created after participating in Mike Morris’ Experiential Classroom. This class gives entrepreneurship majors and non-entrepreneurship majors an idea of how important an entrepreneurship mindset is in most companies, not just start-ups. The students see how an entrepreneurial mindset is important for everyone in the company, not just in the not just in the C-suite or for the founder. The students in this class consult with businesses in the local area and provide them an assessment of their entrepreneurial intensity and provide them with ways to increase their companies’ entrepreneurial intensity and the entrepreneurship mindset of their employees. This class addresses entrepreneurship in the way a company manages operations, human capital, resource innovations, etc. It is awesome to show students the importance of infusing entrepreneurship throughout the company at different levels through real-world consulting projects and case studies. I also like this class because many of my students will not start their own business right after undergrad, but it shows them how they can add value to their organizations by embracing intrapreneurship.

Question: What does your research focus on and how does it inform your teaching?
 

My research focus is on entrepreneurship ecosystems, Veteran entrepreneurs, the entrepreneurial mindset, entrepreneurship education and student engagement. I recently worked on research related to the entrepreneurship eco-system needs for veterans and military spouses. This research won a Best Paper award at a USASBE Conference. This research led me to create the Veterans Entrepreneurship Training (VET) Program at my university to help incorporate veterans and their spouses in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. This research led to a $30K grant. Also, this research sparked an additional research stream on the role that entrepreneurship education plays in entrepreneurship ecosystems. My research informs my teaching regarding the ecosystem needs of new entrepreneurs such as my students. The research also informs my teaching by demonstrating the role the entrepreneurship education and the entrepreneurial mindset play in growing up and coming entrepreneurs.
 
Question: How has membership in USASBE benefited you?
 

Membership in USASBE has been a positive experience and afforded me many opportunities that I would not have had without USASBE. At my first USASBE conference I met people that I partnered with to conduct research. The following USASBE conference we received a Best Paper award for our research. Yet again, at another conference I met a USASBE member who recommended me to teach at a university in China. This was a great experience that I would not have sought out without his encouragement. My USASBE colleagues have shared tons of information and resources with me that has enhanced my career and my teaching. Most importantly, I have made life-long friends, mentors and research partners for which I am grateful to know. 
 
Question: Can you share a fun fact about yourself? Something that makes you unique?

I love to travel. I have visited 6 of the 7 continents and ancient places such as Egypt, Rome, Greece, and Mount Vesuvius. I have also visited modern places such as Monaco, Canary Islands, Shanghai, Istanbul, Sydney and Madrid. Of course I have visited the bucket list places such as Paris, Venice and London. My most recent bucket list trip was to Churchill, Canada. It is the Polar Bear capital of the world located in the Artic. I went out in 50 degrees below 0 weather and was able to look eye to eye with a beautiful mom polar bear and her two cubs. Next on my bucket list is the Seychelles Islands, New Delhi, Brazil and Bermuda.

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