Kessler Fellows start remote summer internships

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Each school year, a select number of juniors in STEM-related fields are given the opportunity to participate in the College of Engineering’s Kessler Fellows Program, a semester-long immersion that cultivates students’ entrepreneurial readiness through academic coursework and mentoring from entrepreneurs-in-residence before completing a hands-on summer internship with a startup of their choice. Unlike previous years of the program, the 2020 Kessler Fellows and the program’s team, navigated securing internships amid a global pandemic, when many businesses are facing economic uncertainty due to COVID-19. 

“By leveraging our experienced team of program directors and entrepreneurs in residence at Cornell’s Center for Regional Economic Advancement, we were able to place 100% of our fellows during the pandemic and ensure the success of the program,” said Nate Cook, Kessler Fellows Program lead and instructor. “We’re excited that each student will be completing a summer internship at a fantastic startup.”

The Kessler Fellows Program is fully funded through the generosity of Andrew J. Kessler ’80. Students receive a weekly summer stipend, allowing them to focus on their summer startup experiences full-time. Past fellows have completed their internships with companies such as HoverBot, Wayfair, WeWork and Hipcamp.

This year’s fellows and the startups they will be working with:

  • Yitzy Rosenberg ‘21 Environmental Engineering, will be working with Chloe Capital, a seed-stage venture capital firm investing in women-led innovation companies.
  • Lineker Ono ‘21 Mechanical Engineering, will be working with Rosie, a grocery e-commerce and delivery platform that lets you shop with local grocers.
  • Jonathan Petrozzini ‘21 Material Science, will be working with Element Farms, an agriculture startup with a mission to provide the best-tasting, locally grown, pesticide-free produce.
  • Conner Swenberg ‘21 Engineering and Physics, will be working with Proxy, Inc., an IT startup that offers a new simpler way to access your offices, buildings, and all the things we interact with in the physical world.
  • Jordyn Goldzweig ‘21 Computer Science and Sam Brickman ‘21 Computer Science, will be working on Zing, an eLab startup that connects students with other classmates to prevent isolation and foster classroom community.
  • Grant Logan ‘21 Material Science, will be working with CruzFoam, a startup that is powering industry leaders to be the catalyst for a cleaner environment.
  • Audrey Gunawan ‘21 Material Science, will be working with Novomer, a chem-tech company that produces cost-competitive sustainable chemicals to replace global demand for petroleum-based chemicals.
  • Marigot Fackenthal ‘21 Mechanical Engineering, will be working with Glacier, an AI tech startup that developed a robot that can sort recycling to process trash more cleanly and efficiently.
  • Shemar Christian ‘21 Mechanical Engineering, will be working with Combplex, an ag-tech startup that provides beekeepers with automatic, safe, and affordable ways to manage Varroa mites year-round, and chemical-free.
  • Yunyun Wang ‘21 Information Science, will be working with Iterate Labs, a biomotion data and analytics platform that powers workforce productivity, training, and safety.
  • Mary Feyrer ‘21 Mechanical Engineering, will be working with Facture Design, an early-stage product development and functional prototyping startup.
  • Samantha Hertle ‘21 Chemical Engineering, will be working with AllBirds, a footwear company that uses a direct-to-consumer approach and is aimed at designing environment-friendly footwear.
  • Corson Chao ‘21 Material Science, will be working with Dimensional Energy, a startup that makes solar fuels viable through efficient utilization and even distribution of sunlight in scalable reactor forms.

Several of this summer’s Kessler Fellows internships are with Cornell-affiliated startups, such as eLab alumni Rosie, Element Farms, and Combplex—which also took home $250K at the 2019 Grow-NY food and ag competition—and Dimensional Energy of Rev: Ithaca Startup Works and the McGovern Family Center for Venture Development. During this vulnerable economic time, these internships are a valuable experience for both students and startups.

“The entrepreneurial ecosystem of Cornell University and Ithaca, New York depends on the participation of local entrepreneurs, students, and the community,” said Cook. “By sharing their talents, the Kessler fellows are helping to stimulate that ecosystem and ensure the survival of local startups.”

Jack Reilly is a writer for the Center for Regional Economic Advancement.

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