Tag Archives: Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Begin your STEM Career in Illinois

While Illinois boasts  the second largest producer of computer science graduates nationwide, there is still a severe lack of STEM graduates.  As such, universities in the region are trying to encourage students to think about the possibilities open to them with a degree in this subject.

One way the schools are doing this is by offering new types of experiential education.  Rather than simply offer the standard projects assigned by teachers and internships, there are now other ways students can learn.

Two years ago, local energy entrepreneur Michael Polsky gave a staggering $35 million to the University of Chicago to set up the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.  Through this, it is hoped that the “next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators [will be] fueled with the knowledge, skills, and experience to make a powerful social and economic impact.”

Then there is the work of Patrick Murphy who realized that students who had not learned coding “struggled to thrive in traditional computer science.” As such, three years ago he set up a 16-week coding academy giving students a real project to practice what they have learned on. He then joined local entrepreneurship and innovation center Blue1647 enabling students to meet off campus once a week to learn basic skills in simple computer language which would add website launching and app development to their skills.

Chicago is clearly on its way to giving its students the steps needed to go out into the job market.


Innovation from the University of Chicago

Tap Recorder works on iOS, iPhone
Tap Recorder works on iOS, iPhone

The results of this past summer’s accelerator program at the University of Chicago are impressive. An app called “Tap Recorder” allows users to make notations on an audio file while recording with an iPhone. The co-founder of the Chicago start-up that developed the app, Dave Thomas, explained:

“It was originally started because we were working with some doctors, and they mentioned that they’d love to find a better way to record some of their consultations and transcribe them,” Thomas said. “It uses basic gestures. Throughout the conversation you could tap it, swipe it, put your hand over it, and each of those gestures would correspond to an annotation, a bookmark or highlights.”

The app was developed with the help of the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, a program which will end with a demonstration day this coming September 9.

The app is in private beta testing now, but is expected to be launched to the public at the end of September. The company is hoping that the final version will include the option for users to have a transcription made of the audio file for a fee.