John Melas-Kyriazi describes how Stanford University's Mayfield Fellows Program and StartX opened his eyes to the world of technology entrepreneurship.
M.S. Student, Materials Science & Engineering
As an undergraduate researcher at Stanford, a colleague and I identified a gap in the literature on solar cell device physics. During my junior year, we decided to take action and started up a research project that came to involve about ten scientists from Stanford and EPFL in Switzerland. Managing this overseas collaboration was a challenge, but after less than a year we had achieved significant results and published a paper. This was my first experience leading a small team to produce something truly tangible. The feeling was intoxicating, and I wanted to do it again.
During my senior year, I became a Mayfield Fellow at Stanford. The Mayfield Fellows Program was a life-changing experience that opened my eyes to the world of technology entrepreneurship and Silicon Valley. Through this program, I realized that my passion for technology and working on small teams could be used to make a significant impact on problems that I care about. It finally hit me that I had discovered the career I had spent all of college searching for.
As I continued my education and enrolled as a graduate student at Stanford, I knew that I wanted to get involved in building Stanford’s entrepreneurship ecosystem. That’s when I joined StartX. StartX is an educational nonprofit affiliated with Stanford Student Enterprises, the legal and financial arm of the Stanford student body, and its mission is to accelerate the highest potential entrepreneurs coming out of Stanford through experiential education. We take no equity or fees, and provide founders with an optimized education system that allows them to leverage their peers for their knowledge, feedback, and networks. We also provide a variety of mentorship programs and infrastructural resources such as free legal services and banking through our partners. StartX is run by a team of full-time staff and Stanford student volunteers.
At StartX, I help to lead corporate partnerships and work on our organizational strategy and operations. Along with my colleagues, I run our accelerator program and work hands-on with founders – as well as their mentors and advisors – who are tackling problems in a variety of fields, from cleantech to enterprise software. Every day, I’m immersed in entrepreneurial experiments, failures, and successes.
Working at StartX is an inspiring experience. Our vision is that StartX will be the best place in the world for founders to develop, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of realizing that ambitious vision.
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