to doctoral programs. It further provided a pathway for career re-entry after prolonged time away from the field. The students indicated that the skills developed during the PSM degree were versatile and portable, thus encouraging career flexibility. Finally, they emphasized that the opportunity for internships provided real-world work experience that enabled them to negotiate career transitions. In this way, PSM programs are able to encourage science-related entrepreneurship by attracting students who may otherwise choose not to pursue these careers.
Finally, Teitelbaum stated that PSM degrees have received tremendous support and enthusiasm from industry in the form of funding, placements, and mentorship opportunities. He noted that government agencies have launched equally encouraging programs through the American Competes Act and the National Science Foundation. Through this continued support, Teitelbaum suggested that the expectations for PSM degrees remain high and the Sloan Foundation envisions the PSM degree becoming a “normal” graduate degree and a favorable pathway for science entrepreneurs.
Jessica Townsend introduced the unique academic and engineering training space created by the 1997 charter at Olin College. She explained that Olin College has specifically addressed the undergraduate-level educational challenges associated with merging science, engineering and business. As a result, all students at Olin College are required to take three classes with an entrepreneurship focus:
• Fundamentals of Business and Entrepreneurship
• User Oriented Collaborative Design
• Senior Capstone Project for Engineering (SCOPE)
All first-year students complete the Fundamentals of Business and Entrepreneurship, where students interact directly with successful entrepreneurs, learn business basics, and are expected to use their advice to complete a project that challenges students to develop a new small venture. The second course, User Oriented Collaborative Design, is focused on identifying needs and opportunities within a group of people. For example, one group of students completed a course project about the needs of the bike messenger profession. The students spoke with bike messengers, learned their values, and even attempted bike messengering. Later, the students brainstormed products that could be developed to meet the needs of bike messengers and pitched them to bike messengers for feedback. Townsend emphasized that this course immersed the students in the fundamentals of understanding a market and determining technologies that would be relevant and successful. In the third experience, SCOPE, businesses challenge groups of approximately five students who are asked to tackle a real-world industry problem over the course of an academic year. Similar to above, students determine the values of their customers and then generate products to meet the determined needs.
“When women have an idea, they want to share. When men have an idea, they want to start a business.”
-Jessica Townsend, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Olin College
Townsend further explained that students have the option of specifically concentrating on entrepreneurship. Students