Space for Synergy
It was a simple meeting room on the third floor of Stevens’ Samuel C. Williams Library. But thanks to a $100,000 gift from the global consulting firm HDR — facilitated by visionary alumni and HDR execs Jerome Brown ’99 and Katie Duty ’03 — Startup Garage, as it is now known, is a place to realize dreams.
Boasting an abundance of technological riches — from computers and video projectors to green screens and smart boards — Startup Garage is an incubator space where students in Stevens’ entrepreneurial iSTEM and Launchpad programs not only work on their ideas but also meet fellow students eager to collaborate.
“The synergy is incredible,” says computer engineering major Diana Rosado ’24, who says Startup Garage helped nurture Imagication, the ambitious company she cofounded to provide virtual reality tours of college campuses.
“I love Stevens and have long wanted to deepen our connection, so it was overwhelming to actually witness the creation of something of this magnitude.” — Jerome Brown ’99
“You walk in and see people at computers, or on the couch writing or drawing on smart boards, or doing practice presentations. You can ask anyone what they’re doing, and they’re excited to tell you, and to hear what you’re doing,” Rosado says.
Biomedical engineering major Arianna Gehan ’24 says Startup Garage has been invaluable in supporting her co-creation (with Frank Pinnola ’22, who is working on his master’s in computer science) of an app called Daia that helps people with diabetes share potentially dangerous changes in their blood sugar levels with friends or family members.
“I didn’t know anything about starting a company and had minimal coding experience, so joining a network of students who knew so much more than I did and were eager to help has been amazing,” she says.
Brown, and more recently Duty, have been working on facilitating the grant from HDR for nearly a decade. “I love Stevens and have long wanted to deepen our connection,” says Brown, who with Duty and other HDR execs visited Startup Garage last spring.
“So it was overwhelming to actually witness the creation of something of this magnitude that we hope will support generations of students with the potential to change the world. It’s exactly the kind of legacy Katie and I hope to leave behind.”
— Joan Katherine Cramer