Undergrad

What I have learned by working at The Shipley Center!

The Shipley Center for Innovation at Clarkson University is a discovery-driven entrepreneurial support hub that advises members of the Clarkson community and the greater North Country region. 

Through a collaborative hands-on process, the Shipley Center brings academic and social experience together under one roof. It provides inventors, innovators, and entrepreneurs with the ability to fully commercialize their products, connect with potential investors and utilize the expertise of our Clarkson faculty and students. At the Shipley Center, our motto is “Ideas + Resources – Intimidation = The Shipley Center.” 

Hi, my name is Sydney Christiansen and I am a senior biology major here at Clarkson. I am a pre-med student, following the Pre-Med track with minors in biomedical science and technology as well as medicine and healthcare, and plan on attending medical school in 2023.

As a student working within the Shipley Center, I get to be part of the entire process, from seeing a new partner (new student start-up business, faculty research, and community members) come in with an idea to helping connect them to a variety of resources and working with them to set up their products and business for success.

 I’m involved in a lot around campus including being the Co-president of Beta Beta Beta, which is Clarkson’s biological Honor Society. I’m also on the women’s lacrosse team and an intern at the Shipley Center for innovation. 

At Shipley, my focus is on digital design, website building, and marketing. This setting gives me a platform to meet entrepreneurs from many different cohorts here on campus as well as around the north country. With my main focus in the Shipley Center being design, I get a unique opportunity to work closely with student groups and businesses trying to interpret their ideas into a functional asset to their company. 

One of the main things I use my role at the Shipley Center for is an artistic outlet of concepts explained by entrepreneurs. I can help propel their ideas in my own way. As a biology major, and especially one planning to enter the healthcare field, this refined skill of translating ideas into concepts is something that is vital to my future success. 

The conversations I have with different types of people in the setting provided by the Shipley Center is something that you can’t learn in a classroom but is crucial as an aspiring healthcare provider. At first, as a biology major in this role, I felt like a fish out of water surrounded by many people who already had hands-on experience with startup companies. But, I quickly realized that they respected the options I gave and were welcoming to someone looking at entrepreneurship from a different angle. I can use these skills in the classroom as well. In the biology department, we are really encouraged to work on projects and learn in a group setting.

This fostering takes communication between each group member to produce a cohesive procedure or product depending on the circumstances. 

I feel the Shipley Center gives me a leg up, especially when it comes to group projects. When completing my BEST senior capstone design course, the group was tasked with finding a creative solution to the problem proposed. This group was composed of students from different majors, yet we all had to find a way to work together. This collaboration came easy to me because it is an everyday practice in my role at Shipley anyway.

Shipley is also giving me opportunities to work with different professors. This is one of my favorite aspects of my job because I might sit in a lecture with professors teaching me all day, but when it comes to them wanting to market their research, I am in a position of teaching them. 

Usually, my interactions with the different businesses, be it, professors, students, or North Country residents, are similar. When meeting them initially, I have to try to understand what they want as the end product, but only by what they have already explained to me. The series of questions I have to ask them is carefully calculated to try to get me to the end goal of what they want for a website, for example. My graphic design skills and website building knowledge can help our entrepreneurs with the necessary tasks for marketing and expanding their businesses. Maybe they need a banner to help pitch to investors. Some need a platform by which to sell their product. I’ve even done small logo editing that might seem so small, but really impacts the brand the company is looking to portray. 

The Shipley Center of Innovation continues providing me the opportunity to work closely with all members of our Clarkson community is something I don’t take for granted and without this possibility, I wouldn’t be the student I am today.

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