BHP Freshman Pioneers Innovative High School Tutoring Program

AnishaS

BHP freshman, Anisha Srivastava, started a unique mentoring program this year called Project Activate. The program is designed to bring college students and high school students together for tutoring. A group of UT freshmen including students from BHP and Plan II honors will be selected each year to pair with a group of high school freshmen at local Austin high schools. Each high school student in the program will receive one-on-one tutoring from a UT student in five subjects including: algebra, biology, English, geography and geometry.

The program officially launched on March 19 with a group of high school students that were recommended for the program by their teachers. “It’s started smaller than we hoped with nine high school students total, but I’m so happy to get started even if it is a smaller start than we hoped for,” said Anisha. “Despite the small group, it went really well. The students reacted so positively and I think we’re really going to have some great results!”

Anisha hopes her program will go beyond just tutoring, “I want to make this program different from other tutoring programs by adding a mentoring aspect,” she said. “The tutor and high school student will progress through their four years together, all the way through to graduation.” She is hopeful that the narrow age gap between tutors and students will prove effective. “We just went through this process of learning the material and we remember having to make the same connections they’re having to make right now to make the material make sense,” said Anisha. “In addition to teaching the material, the tutors are teaching them how to learn something.”

The idea behind Project Activate is to activate the potential in students. The big focus for Anisha is on activating intellectual interest, goals, career aspirations and creative thought. “The idea that you can succeed,” she said.

The idea for Project Activate stemmed from a non-profit organization Anisha co-founded with her twin brother, Arjun Srivastava who is also a Plan II Honors student studying business and pre-med. The duo started goMAD (Make A Difference) during high school in Allen, TX. This organization raised $10K in its first year for a home in India that cares for 40 HIV positive children. “Fundraising for an international cause started to feel impersonal,” said Anisha. “So, Project Activate is my way of expanding the idea of goMAD by practicing philanthropy at the local level.”

Success of the program has already spread to other school in the Ausitn Independent School District; Anisha recently met with another local high school interested in implementing the program at their school.

Looking ahead to the future of Project Activate, Anisha hopes to continue to recruit BHP and Plan II freshmen to grow the program and connect with more high school students, “MY BHP peers are some of the brightest and most passionate people I have ever met,” said Anisha. “I know that each BHP student involved in Project Activate will go above and beyond to help the high school students achieve their absolute best.”

BHP and Plan II students interested in getting involved with Project Activate should email Anisha directly to discuss the program.

 

 

 

Junior Bradley Roofner Pursues Passion for Entrepreneurship

HatTee_logoWithin two weeks of starting at UT, BHP junior, Bradley Roofner, partnered with his roommate and Computer Science junior, Logan Brown, and co-founded HatTee, a company that sells golf caps that hold tees. Three years later the duo has taken full advantage of the entrepreneurial opportunities Austin and UT have to offer, increasing sales tenfold in under a year.

Roofner and Logan started their sales on campus, “We designed and ordered our own hats online and added the tee holsters ourselves,” said Roofner. “We began selling the hats to fraternities and sororities. We sold a lot of hats pretty quickly.”

The real turning point for their company came just five short months later when they showed their product in the PGA Merchandise Show in Miami, FL, one of the top shows for equipment manufacturers and people in the golf industry to launch their products for the year. “As college students we were able to approach it very humbly,” said Roofner. “We wore suits instead of the normal khaki pants and polo. People took interest in wanting to hear about our product.” It was at the merchandise show that Roofner and Brown met a majority of their current connections, including a contact based out of Thailand who coordinates the supply chain management of the product overseas.

Their success has not come without challenges, “Everybody has more grey hair than you,” said Roofner. “Being able to communicate on the same level and have credibility has been the most difficult part with each step of the company.”  Roofner found McCombs staff to be helpful during this process. John Butler, Director of The Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship, reached out to Roofner and helped create the HatTee business plan. BHP marketing professor, Leigh McAlister also offered guidance, “She gave me some great advice to go after the higher clientele and not to lower our prices so we could offer a premium product,” said Roofner.

Bradley

Bradley Roofner (right) with co-founder and partner, Logan Brown. Photo credit: The Daily Texan

HatTee now works mainly with large companies, supplying promotional items for their client’s shareholders and investors. The company also sponsors various golf tournaments and charity events offering their product as giveaway gifts.

As for the future, Roofner and Logan are currently talking with potential buyers of the patent. While they have enjoyed growing their company and learned many valuable lessons along the way, Roofner would like to see the HatTee brand taken further, “We see the future of the product as one that can be most successful when it reaches the average golfer. We aren’t the best company to make that happen, we lack the brand presence and marketing force to bring the idea to the masses,” said Roofner.

They hope the right buyer could take their product the rest of the way there. Regardless of what happens to the product, it was a great learning experience for Roofner and affirmed his passion for entrepreneurship.

 

 

Students Take Fourth Place in a Non-Profit Case Consulting Competition

BHP students Robert Ma, Thomas Pigeon, Jane Tedjajuwana and Shannon Wey took fourth place at the McDonough-Hilltop Business Strategy Challenge at Georgetown University in Washington, DC this month. Twenty teams competed, 11 from the U.S. and nine international, in this unique non-profit case consulting competition. This year’s case centered on expanding job opportunities available to members of the National Institute for the Blind (NIB).

MCC

From left: Jane Tedjajuwana, Robert Ma, Thomas Pigeon, Shannon Wey

“The main goal of NIB is to help the blind become independent personally and financially. Our job in the case competition was to find ways for the NIB to open up job opportunities not only within the federal government, but in the private sector and in the service industries,” said Shannon Wey.

The team presented a three-pronged solution which involved starting an internship program allowing blind people to get a foot in the door with employers, building a stronger network of partner companies across the nation, and implementing a talent showcase open to companies to show what blind people are capable of with current assisted technologies.

The unique emphasis on non-profit organizations altered the way the students view not-for-profit work, “We realized all the different obstacles that are placed in front of a non-profit, be it people’s biases against the people the organization is trying to serve, to limited opportunities, to financial restrictions,” said Thomas Pigeon. “It gives you a greater appreciation for how they maximize every dollar they are given.”

“Non-profit put such a huge twist on it. I’ve done six or seven case competitions and this is the one I’ve enjoyed the most because the nature of the case made if feel more fulfilling because I felt like I was contributing to a greater cause,” said Robert Ma. The students were also able to dedicate more of their efforts in areas, which may not receive as much attention in typical business case competitions. “Because it’s a nonprofit we didn’t just focus in on revenue,” said Jane Tedjajuwana. “We didn’t look at the financial projection at all in the first round because they just wanted to hear our ideas and gage how realistic it was because ideally they wanted to be able to implement the solution.”

The team also enjoyed meeting other competitors from outside of the U.S. and hearing their global perspective on the case. “It provided a really unique experience for all of us. We appreciated how international it was. We met people from Hong Kong, Australia, Germany and Singapore,” said Robert Ma.

After taking a closer look at non-profit organizations, all of the team members said they would now definitely consider working with non-profits after college.

The trip was not all work. The group managed to find time to visit the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and made sure to make a pit stop at Georgetown Cupcake.

 

Junior Jeffrey Li Working to Make Positive Changes to Medical Research

JeffLiJeff Li was drawn to UT by the roaring school spirit, high-caliber academics and top-notch funding for research. When he started at UT he found a land of opportunity as he made the transformation from Biochemistry major in his freshman year to a double major in BHP and the Dean’s Scholar Honor’s Program in natural sciences. He also received the Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarship, which is one of the most prestigious continuing student scholarships offered by UT and has also become heavily involved in research, “I’m so thankful that I chose UT because there are a lot of opportunities here that I don’t think I would’ve found elsewhere,” said Li.

Jeff LiLi has always known that he wanted to go into healthcare and research, interning at the Texas Medical Center immediately after graduating high school. Now as a junior in the BHP, Li has found a new interest in examining how healthcare and business intersect, “I want to learn more about how to take the business principles from my BHP courses and cross-apply them to make healthcare more efficient. I want to make a big contribution in this area,” said Li.

He is specifically concerned with how research funds are allocated and the extended time gap between when a medical breakthrough begins at the laboratory bench to ten plus years when it reaches the patient’s bedside. “It’s interesting to me how someone puts a quantitative value on someone’s potential research. I think business concepts and risk management can play a big part in improving this decision-making process by decreasing possible risk and subjectivity,” said Li. “Something McCombs is really good at is teaching us how to make the best choices with a limited amount of information and that’s something I want to continue to learn here and apply to interdisciplinary healthcare and science fields.”

As for the time gap in the research process, Li would like to find improvements to promote efficiency. “What I want to do is leverage education and sustainable business models to develop new therapies for things like Alzheimer’s and cancer, and create new technologies,” said Li. “And I’d like to accelerate that development – get the necessary approval, get it to the patient’s bedside and then bring the information you collect from the patient’s bedside back to the lab bench creating bi-directional communication.”

Jeff Li (front) with Learn To Be

Jeff Li (front) with Learn To Be

Shortly after beginning in the BHP, Li discovered another passion for education through Learn To Be, a non-profit organization that offers free online tutoring services to underprivileged children across the country. Li became involved with the UT chapter, started by a group of BHP students, after learning about the group’s mission. “A lot of times tutoring doesn’t make it to the areas that need it most,” said Li. “What most schools in the nation do have is a computer and internet access, which is really all we need.” Learn To Be has over 600 tutors across the nation made available to students in grades 5–12 via different pre-existing technologies.

Ultimately, Li is working towards creating a better world for generations to come, “I believe that people should not be a victim of their DNA. People should not be a victim of the zip code from where they grew up. Everyone should have the right to aspire to something,” said Li.

Jeff LiLi’s outstanding contributions on campus have not gone unnoticed. He was recently chosen as a recipient of the Texas Exes Presidential Leadership Award, which recognizes undergraduate students who have demonstrated outstanding leadership within the student community at UT Austin. “It means the world to me,” said Li. “I really love that the UT community rewards students for taking a blind leap of faith to make real changes in this world, holding true to the motto, ‘What starts here changes the world,’” said Li. He also encourages his peers to find their passion and take action, “A lot of people think they’ll wait to create change until they get a job or finish graduate school, but you can make a difference right here, right now.”

Li will graduate next year and plans to continue on to medical school. His hope for the future is to work as an intermediary improving the health of others by further opening the valve between research and healthcare.

 

 

 

 

 

Kyle Campbell Competes For Mr. McCombs Title In Style

Kyle Campbell with escort Jemma Miller

Kyle Campbell with escort Jemma Miller

Written by Kyle Campbell

On Friday, Jan. 31 I had the amazing opportunity of representing HBA in the Mr. McCombs Pageant. This fundraiser, organized by the org reps of the Undergraduate Business Council, pits representatives from other McCombs organizations against each other in a fight for the title of “Mr. McCombs.” The winner also gets to choose which charity the proceeds go to.

This experience was grueling, competitive and exhilarating all at once.  The other contestants and I spent at least a month practicing the choreography for our opening dance, and trust me it took a LOT of practice until we were ready for the big stage.  Every week we would show up to rehearsal, and our choreographer, Tenci, would ask if we wanted to run through the whole thing to see what we remembered.  After stumbling through the few twists and fist pumps we could recall, we would share embarrassed looks, pat each other on the back, apologize to Tenci, and start learning the dance all over again.  The coolest thing is that after suffering through a dance none of us had any business attempting we became friends.  We added our own moves, started to learn about each other, and we were no longer competitors, but just 10 guys trying to get through a performance without embarrassing themselves because a few of our cheekier friends tricked us into agreeing to compete (Natalie Parma if you’re reading this I’m talking about you.)

Students that heart Kyle, showing their support at the pagaent

Students that heart Kyle, showing their support at the pageant

Finally the night of the competition came.  We all had to somehow make it through a choreographed dance, Q&A period, swimsuit competition and talent portion without falling or fainting from the pressure of performing in front of hundreds of UT students. As the opening notes of “I’m Too Sexy For My Shirt” started to play I wiped the sweat off my palms, ran out on the stage, chest bumped Archie Agarwal, the UBC Representative, and began maybe the most exciting hour and a half of my college career.  While being escorted by the lovely Jemma Miller and wearing a batman onesie, I talked about how if I could have lunch with anyone it would have to be Dr. Seuss. I showed off what I would wear to the beach.  But the highlight of the night definitely came out of the talent portion.  I began by playing Chopin’s “Revolutionary Etude” on my piano, but after about half a page I ripped the sheet music off and broke into what I hope was an extremely moving and powerful rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”

In the end I lost the crown, but I came away from the experience with nine new friends, and memories that will probably stay with me for a very long time.  The Mr. McCombs pageant was an incredibly fun and fulfilling way to raise $2,158.81 for a great cause, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been a part of it.