Our students are following that passion…

It was just the other day…I received another note in the mail from one of my students. I love it. They always let me know how they are doing, where they are going, and the dreams they are chasing.

There is this massive debate…how can we take South Carolina’s educational system and turbo charge it, innovate, and move ahead of the pack.

I think it is pretty simple…quit teaching and start inspiring. Move away from the regurgitative learning process and aim towards engaging conversation. If we want to create change, build a brighter South Carolina…why not inspire students to do more than just be students.

Institutional learning has it’s place…but there is a new student emerging in South Carolina. More and more students I work with in higher education…the more I realize there is an underlying need to take part in social justice. These students want to be a part of the solution…they want to create not only “their” tomorrow but also solve age old problems.

It seems so simple…but this is so hard to execute. Why, we have to change the way we think, we teach, create curriculums, the way we grade, the way we prepare these students for industry, and on and on. But what do we have to lose…nothing!

We have so much to learn from this new class of students…we should take off our teacher hat and put on our student hat. We should start learning from those who are inspired to learn. That is why I am sharing the video above…I learned so much from Riley Csernica.

Riley had a few dreams:
1) 3 degrees by the age of 23
2) Start a business in South Carolina

We educators, business people, legislators have a lot to learn from the Riley’s of the world. We better get out our note pads, take some notes, because her class of innovators will be leading us into the next century.

Here is a story from the GSA Business concerning the first MBAe Class at Clemson. Riley was one of those students and I had the tremendous pleasure working with…each of them were extremely special!


From GSA Business
Clemson students recently finished competing for $40,000 in seed funding to launch their businesses.

First place: Brenda Morris-Wilson’s received $20,000 for her company to continue developing a clothing line for baby boomers residing in assisted living and nursing home facilities.
Second place: Riley Csernica of Tarian Orthotics received $6,000 to further commercialization of a more mobile and functional brace for those with shoulder dislocations.
Third place: Team Dabble, comprised of Carlisle Kennedy, Brendan Lopes and Josh Lopes, earned $4,000 to help expand the team’s mobile application from Clemson to other universities across the Southeast. The app aims to connect college students through events.

The students had to apply to the MBA program with a business concept in mind. The yearlong program aims to equip them with the resources needed to launch their concept. The students will graduate in August.

“The goal is to help these young people launch a successful business,” said Gregory Pickett, the director of Clemson’s new MBA program. “Each student comes into the program with an idea that gets them started. Throughout the year, they evaluate that idea and refine it, or pivot from it.”

Students learn from business people, both in and out of the classroom, about software and app development, intellectual property laws and financing, for example.

Students also work to secure capital and build on their business plans. They put the MBA concepts into practice, getting a head start on their startups while earning their degree.