Applicants for the Hobbs Faculty Award included Kenneth S. Berenhaut, Associate Professor of Mathematics for Involve—A Journal of Mathematics, Lynn Book, Program Director for Creativity and Innovation for Exceptional Support of the WFU Entrepreneurship Program, Raymond E. Kuhn, Professor of Biology for Aqualutions, LLC, and Jed Macosko, Professor of Physics for BioBotz.
The first Hobbs Award for Faculty Entrepreneurial Achievement was presented to Dr. Jed Macosko for BioBotz. Jed and a group of Wake Forest students’ mission is to inspire young people to learn about science by introducing a young audience to the creative universe inside living cells.
BioBotz is currently partnering with high school students at Atkins Academic Technology High School in Winston-Salem, NC to produce a 3-minute, animated short that features characters based on our molecular machines. The storyline of the BioBotz world includes Kinesin, Myosin, and their sidekick Dynein as they travel up and down the nerve cell they call home. On their travels they meet a wandering messenger RNA named Bruce Spring-gene who teaches the trio about how all machines in the cell are “Born in the DNA.” The product of the animation project will be distributed to all biology middle and high school teachers in North Carolina.
Other projects in different stages of development include an interactive videogame, an interactive storybook for children, plush toys depicting BioBotz characters, and a website that will sell molecular machine-based products. Dr. Macosko was honored for his enthusiasm and his commitment to making science “cool” again.
Applicants for the Hobbs Student Award were Brett Apter and Ben Comer for MySavu Inc., Bill Brown and Jessica Vogel for Stuffed Robot LLC, Uranie (Peppi) Browne-Armstrong, Jessica Dowdy, Kyle Husted, and Park Smith for HDR: Healthy Data Record, Ali Carroll for Adia Beading, Raj Chandrasekaran, Tony Mercado, and Jeff Wilson for Nuvem, Thomas S. DeVita for Akunu Munu LLC, Ryan Edwards for Booty Wax Co., Timothy J. Griesser for Web Capital Solutions, Wesley Johnson, Afton Vechery, and Lacey Robinson for Terrafinity, Inc., Katarina Kesty for Cataract Pack Organization, Robert Laughter and Min Jai Lee for Connective Insights, Jane Lee for Project 20/20, Julie Musgrave, Scott Graber, and Eleanor Smith for Wake Wash LLC, Laura Ormson for Wear to Win, and Dhruva Rajendra, Zahir Rahman, and Ben Lynch for Government Initiatives Project.
This year, the Hobbs Award for Student Entrepreneurial Achievement was presented to two student ventures. The first recipient was Wake Forest junior Laura Ormson for her venture Wear to Win. As a young golfer and member of the Wake Forest Women’s Golf Team, Laura has taken her insight into the world of the young female golfer and used it to create her venture. Wear to Win is a web-based commercial venture that provides unique, fashionable clothing designs and accessories for the teenaged female golfer. The website also provides information and tips from current top-level junior and college-aged golfers. Wear to Win’s trademarked slogan and mission is “Inspiring golfwear for aspiring young women.”
The next recipient of the Hobbs Award for Student Entrepreneurial Achievement for Social Impact was Ali Carroll for her venture Adia, which means “valuable gift” in Swahili. Ali works with Kenyan women to create hand-crafted, beaded jewelry and uses the profits to help support the charitable foundation African Leadership. Adia Beading has hired six Kenyan women, paying them fair wages, training them to create ceramic beaded jewelry and teaching them financial and literacy skills. Ali has purchased a plot of land in Kenya for the manufacturing site and also built a kerosene-powered kiln for firing the ceramic beads in areas without electricity. Carroll is in the process of expanding Adia in order to provide more jobs for rural Kenyan women and possibly other areas in the developing world.
The Office of Entrepreneurship and Liberal Arts is extremely grateful to Russ Hobbs and family for their generosity and support, which makes these awards possible.