Meet University Innovation Fellow, Mike Tantum

By Karli Thode, Communication Intern The Office of Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship

“I think that all students from various backgrounds and majors should be exposed to the study of entrepreneurship. I don’t think that enough students are aware of the resources available to them on campus. So many students at Wake have multiple majors, minors, and interests. Combining those facets has the potential to lead to very interesting discoveries and new ventures.”

As a National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) University Innovation
Fellow for Wake Forest, senior Mike Tantum truly understands the benefits of creativity and innovation across all disciplines. A Biology major and Chemistry and Entrepreneurship double minor, Tantum’s interests speak volumes about the importance of interdisciplinary study. He remarks that “encouraging students to combine these facets has the potential to lead to very interesting discoveries and new ventures.”  

Tantum is also an entrepreneur himself. He is currently working to develop a new venture, Sun Tape, alongside two other students. This exposure to the world of entrepreneurship has provided him with first-hand experience, something that he hopes to leverage during his time as the Wake Forest University Innovation Fellow.

As for his duties as the 2013-14 University Innovation Fellow, Tantum is responsible for hosting the third annual TEDxWakeForestU, set to take place on February 22, 2014. The TEDx conference is designed to encourage innovation and entrepreneurial activities in the Piedmont community and within the Wake Forest community. Tantum plans to bring in speakers from a variety of different entrepreneurial perspectives. “My greatest hope is that people will leave Wait Chapel and think about the world in a different way than before.”

In addition to TEDxWakeForestU, Tantum is currently working on conducting an in-depth analysis of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in order to properly assess the barriers and obstacles that students face as entrepreneurs on campus. Through this analysis, he hopes to mitigate the identified pressures in order to encourage more students to harness creativity and innovation in pursuing their ideas as young entrepreneurs.

A native of Langhorne, Pennsylvania, Tantum is also the President for the Christian Medical and Dental Association, a Wake Forest President’s Aide, and an active volunteer at the local community center, LaDeara Crest. He plans to attend Medical School post-graduation, but would also like to incorporate his entrepreneurial experience in the future.