The Engineering, Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Excellence Master’s Program (ESTEEM) welcomed its first class this fall, just over a year after it was conceived as a joint venture graduate program between the Colleges of Science, Engineering and Business.
The program seeks to train scientists and engineers in the skills needed to bring new technology to the commercial market, according to Bob Alworth, an associate dean in the Colleges of Science and Engineering.
“There’s wonderful science and engineering that’s being created,” Alworth said. “The faster we can get that to do good for society, the better society is.”
The ESTEEM program’s curriculum seeks to give science and engineering students, many of whom do not have a background in entrepreneurship or business, the tools they need to take technology from the research to the development level, Alworth said.
Twenty-eight students are currently enrolled in ESTEEM, which is a one-year graduate program that awards a Masters of Science degree. These students have strong undergraduate backgrounds in science and engineering, Alworth said.
“They’re not in [ESTEEM] because they’re going to do research,” Alworth said.
Instead, ESTEEM students hope to work to bring researched technology to the commercial market, either for profit or non-profit ventures.
The program was first conceived late in the summer of 2008 by Gregory Crawford, dean of the College of Science, Peter Kilpatrick, dean of the College of Engineering, and Carolyn Woo, dean of the Mendoza College of Business.
“They decided there’s a need for a program for science and engineering undergraduates on how to take great new technology and translate it into new commercial ventures,” Alworth said.
The Academic Council approved the program in January 2009. Alworth said that ESTEEM’s approval was one of the fastest approvals of a new program he had ever witnessed.
ESTEEM’s core program consists of 12 one-credit courses focused on business and operations management. Students are also required to take six credits of technical electives at the graduate level.
According to Alworth, the program’s capstone project is designed to allow students to put what they learn in the core program into action. Students work with a faculty member to figure out how the faculty member’s invention can come to completion, Alworth said.
This capstone project is similar to the work Alworth anticipates students doing after graduation. “We hope students help to move new technology to commercialization to benefit society,” he said. “How they do that is limitless.”
ESTEEM’s core classes, the 12 one-credit courses, are held in Innovation Park, which is also where the program itself is headquartered. Alworth said that Innovation Park, a product development facility launched by the University, and ESTEEM have similar missions — to bring new technology from the research phase into the commercial marketplace.