Reflections of an iVenture Fellow

Sanya Rupani

Deciding to stay in the cornfields of Champaign-Urbana for the summer wasn’t the most exciting choice I’ve ever made. Knowing little to nothing about iVenture at the time, I made the call simply based upon the multiple glowing reviews of the program I had heard from those around me. I found out about it through MakerGirl, a nonprofit that I had been working with and a former iVenture project in Cohort 1. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary as an organization and I think we’re a thriving example of the amazing things that iVenture can do for student ventures. MakerGirl’s CEO and co-founders encouraged me to apply as a program fellow and I did so without a second thought. 

I have a bad habit of missing things before they’re gone, knowing that in the near future they won’t be a part of my life anymore. That’s exactly what happened after my first day at the accelerator, a day so energizing and exciting that I knew that the next couple of months would fly by. My role as the Design Fellow was visually marketing the program in the best light possible. Over the summer, I made countless flyers and posters for the program and our startups, worked with the Marketing Fellow to design our outgoing content, and redesigned the website so that interested students and entrepreneurs could visit it and learn everything us as a program. Since I am continuing work for iVenture over the school year, I get to work on even cooler projects, such as making a marketing packet that summarizes iVenture and consolidating data over the past five years to create visualizations of our impact.  

Hearing from our guests was inspiring and educational, the free breakfasts and lunches were amazing, but what really stuck with me as a program staff member was the time I spent with the people there. The student entrepreneurs are so motivated and intelligent. My fellow fellows became some of my closest friends. And because of them, I’m suddenly involved in the university’s incredible entrepreneurship community, something that I wouldn’t have even known about had I stayed within my comfort zones of computer science and design. 

iVenture has the power to change lives and I’m so happy to be a part of it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!