Since 2016, Students+Startups has placed Tigers right in the middle of San Antonio’s exploding startup scene. The program looked a bit different this summer, but Trinity students were still making moves and earning their stripes while working from home.
The program matches students with internships at a variety of San Antonio startups for the summer. This initiative is funded by the 80|20 Foundation and run in partnership with Geekdom, a unique coworking space in downtown San Antonio. This summer, more than 20 Tigers interned with local startups, including:
Will Symonds ’21 is an accounting major who has been paired with Culinary Health Education for Families (CHEF). CHEF is a San Antonio-founded nonprofit that was conceived and incubated by the Goldsbury Foundation (Kit Goldsbury ’66). The program teaches basic nutrition and culinary skills to school-aged children in Bexar County with the long term goal of reducing diet-related chronic disease in our community.
Over the summer, Will played an instrumental role in the organization’s strategic development plans, researching and analyzing data to help make informed decisions about the best places to expand CHEF. Utilizing resources like Texas 2036 data, Symonds identified schools and populations where CHEF’s impact could be most helpful.
“We are looking at grant funding as well as expansion in the schools that CHEF partners with, so I have been researching new markets, health and economic indicators, and the impact of COVID-19 on local food banks, schools, and cities as a whole,” Will says.
Currently, Will is doing his best to help CHEF look at data in context of the pandemic, which has caused a significant shift in the data across the state. “Obviously, the data is great,” he said. “But we’re not in the same world we were in before this started, so we’re just trying to do what we can to keep all the relevant data in our hands.
Neha Kapur ’22
Neha Kapur ’22 has been spending her summer interning with VelocityTX in San Antonio.
“The Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF) and VelocityTX are San Antonio’s champions for driving economic development in and around emerging technologies,” Neha explains. “We fund and develop innovative ventures, building San Antonio’s bioscience and technology economy.”
Neha is using her major in business analytics and technology for a Bioasset Mapping project called BioConnectSA at VelocityTX, locating and compiling all of the potential resources for entrepreneurs in the healthcare and bioscience industry in San Antonio. That includes conducting personal interviews and community outreach with UT Health San Antonio, Southwest Research Institute, and several other major players in the San Antonio healthcare ecosystem. Once Neha compiles all of the information, VelocityTX will create a searchable database for entrepreneurs to easily navigate all of the available resources in the sector.
Abby Watson ’22
Abby Watson ’22 is double majoring and worked as the business intelligence intern at Enflux this summer. Enflux provides a powerful decision support platform for higher education. Siloed and static data are curated into insightful, actionable reports in real-time, helping institutions provide data-backed performance metrics to federal and accreditation agencies.
Watson worked closely with Tableau developers, who analyze academic data pulled from siloed sources to transform this data into insightful, actionable dashboards. She assessed the data needs of clients to create and support the development of Tableau dashboards. Watson was an integral component of Enflux’s data analytics team, working to deliver the right data and actionable dashboards to the right educator at the right time.
Danilo Collins ’21
Danilo Collins is a senior economics and political science double major who has spent this summer working with Braustin Homes, a startup that sells mobile, factory-built homes across Texas and New Mexico. Danilo helped with everything from giving home tours, offering customer service, and working with the marketing team, to disinfecting homes in between tours to be as safe as possible in this new reality.
“My experience working with customers at Braustin has already greatly impacted my personal development. I’m not a particularly extroverted person, so when I found out that a major part of my job would include talking to customers face-to-face, I was a little nervous. But that fear went away as I got to learn the Braustin system,” Danilo said. “Beyond working with a great team, getting to work closely with customers has been a valuable experience. I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with customers at various points throughout the buying process. It is the most rewarding part of my job.”
Lizzie Ruestchle ’21
Lizzie Ruetshcle ’21 spent her summer working at Go Smart Solar. Go Smart Solar provides solar services for San Antonio residents, including a community solar program that allows residents to own solar panels without having them installed on their own rooftops.
Lizzie worked as a software development intern–a perfect match for her computer science major–on a project that will allow customers to view the status of their solar panels and how much they save on their electricity bill by being involved in solar energy production.
“I'm learning a lot about the solar energy industry as well as improving my skills as a software developer, so I'm very grateful for this opportunity!” Lizzie said.
Victory Ogubuike ’22
Victory Ogubuike ’22 spent the summer as an intern for Mailgun, an API-based email delivery platform. Most of her projects centered around integrating a European-based email services company that Mailgun acquired last year.
Victory says it was a fun and positive environment; everyone is constantly pursuing excellence, and she learned a lot by being a part of it.
“I’ve started to explore a career in industrial-organizational psychology/human resources, so I was ecstatic when I was matched with Mailgun as a human resources/operations intern,” said Victory, who is double majoring in economics and psychology. “Mailgun is a very fast-paced environment so I’m constantly adapting and multitasking to meet deadlines, which I love. Despite the world’s current situation, the remote onboarding process has been amazing.”
Jake Exler ’22 is a political science and economics double major from Gaithersburg, Maryland. He spent his summer working with Students+Startups as an intern with Launch SA, an organization that helps small business owners and entrepreneurs develop and grow by providing personalized assistance and events to build a community.
Exler helped work out the logistics for the online San Antonio Entrepreneurship Week. Jake loved talking to local small business owners and had a great time getting to know some of them, as well as seeing his work behind the scenes come to fruition and help the week run smoothly.
After Entrepreneurship Week, Jake worked on a project to analyze data sources and offer tailored suggestions and insights to Launch SA. Jake’s goal has been to help Launch SA track their impact more easily and efficiently in order to better serve the San Antonio community.
As a political science major, the implications of his work are most interesting to Jacob. “I know my work will eventually help us tell a better story of Launch SA and secure funding and resources from the city,” Jake said.