Zachary Sperske from the University of California, Santa Barbara provides opportunities for entrepreneurial engineering students who want to explore the digital frontier.
University of California, Santa Barbara
Class of 2013
Major: Computer Science
Ever since I sold my first chocolate bar to raise money for a trip to Washington D.C., I’ve known that I want to be my own boss. During high school, I came to realize that the great frontier of my generation is a digital one that provides nearly limitless opportunity for imagination and innovation. This realization led me to pursue a degree in computer science at the University of California, Santa Barbara, in order to equip myself with the tools necessary to chart my own path across today’s electronic ocean.
During my junior year at UCSB, I noticed that there was a void in the computer science program. Although the College of Engineering at UCSB is on the forefront of providing opportunities for learning to engineers who are aspiring entrepreneurs, I felt more could be done for computer science students in particular. I decided to create a student organization, the Entrepreneurial Computing Club (ECC).
The ECC is committed to bringing together students interested in exploring what it takes to start a technology venture. We recruit from all majors in order to assemble a comprehensive team that is focused not only on the technical aspect of a technology business, but on advertising, monetization, sales and all the other essential components of a successful venture. Our current projects include a note-taking application targeted specifically towards students in science and engineering disciplines; a textbook-trading service aimed at saving students money; and a housing tool intended to allow students a single location to browse housing listings, view floor plans and read reviews from previous tenants. I hope to establish a lasting organization that will provide driven undergraduates with the experience and opportunities to become successful entrepreneurs.
In addition to founding the ECC, I’m also working with a team that finished second in the New Venture Competition at UCSB, which is run by the Technology Management Program, a certificate program in the College of Engineering which is also focused on student entrepreneurship. Our team is working on an app connected with Facebook which uses a complex search algorithm to suggest ideal gift choices for your friends and family.
The desire to build something from nothing is what drives me to continue to explore using today’s technology in new and exciting ways. In the words of the late Steve Jobs to Stanford University graduates: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.”
Entrepreneurial Computing Club: orgsync.com/48215/chapter
New Venture Competition: tmp.ucsb.edu/nvc
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