Carnegie Mellon University

2019 Innovation Scholars

John CurcioJohn Curcio

Dietrich College, Statistics and Machine Learning, B.S. anticipated 2019

During the summer of 2017, John Curcio consulted and interned as a data scientist for several Pittsburgh-based startups. These included BlastPoint, which has developed a tool for smaller organizations to analyze high-dimensional geographic data, and BehAIvior, which is developing an AI to predict relapse in recovering heroin addicts from wearable data. John is interested in the possibilities that arise when a population of independent agents pool their data for mutual benefit, allowing for the creation of automated expert systems. He intends to use his time as an Innovation Scholar to probe this paradigm for entrepreneurial opportunity.

John maintains a medium blog, where he writes about subjects like machine learning tutorials, statistical signal processing and the economics of data

John's LinkedIn page

Stella HanStella Han

School of Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2019

Stella Han is a junior in the School of Computer Science, minoring in machine learning. Stella is passionate about inventing the future, especially in the world of healthcare IT.  She has interned as a software engineer and product manager on the Cortana team at Microsoft and is also the Microsoft-CMU ambassador. On campus, she is the co-president of the Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Association and the director of the CMU Venture Challenge, an international business competition that brings in top, up-and-coming start-ups from around the globe. In her spare time, Stella enjoys playing the violin and building intelligent computer-based musical instruments.

Stella's LinkedIn page

Shuli JiangShuli Jiang

Carnegie Institute of Technology and School of Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2019

Shuli Jiang is a rising Junior at Carnegie Mellon pursuing dual degrees in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Computer Science. She is passionate about entrepreneurship and believes entrepreneurship is an important way of impacting the society. She has served the 6th CMU Summit, a student-organized annual entrepreneurship conference, and will continue serving the student organization in the following year. As a receiver of the Buncher Entrepreneurship Award, Shuli will spend this summer working closely with a Machine Learning startup company in Haifa, Israel as a software engineer. She’s currently leading a personal start up project, IdealHOME, a platform for DIY home design, under the guidance of CMU Swartz Innovation Center.

Shuli's LinkedIn page

Jiaxuan LiJiaxuan Li

Carnegie Institute of Technology, B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and Robotics anticipated 2019

Jiaxuan Li is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon, pursuing a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with an additional major in Robotics. Jiaxuan is extremely passionate about technology, especially in the smart home and wearable devices space. He loves bringing his ideas to life with innovative products and hopes to one day do the same with his visions as an entrepreneur. Jiaxuan has been involved in robotics and model rocketry since high school and continued his interest in product development with numerous personal projects at CMU ranging from gimbal quadcopters to drawingbots. During the summers, he worked as a product launch intern at Lily Robotics and worked on mechanical integration at GE Power. Jiaxuan is excited to work with likeminded individuals to not only learn about various industries but also further the spirit of innovation in the community.

Jiaxuan's LinkedIn page

Yuqing MaYuqing Ma

Carnegie Institute of Technology, B.S. in College of Engineering, minor in Business Administration, anticipated 2019

Two summers ago, Yuqing was very fortunate to participate in a summer program in the startup nation, Israel, where she witnessed first-hand how entrepreneurs were using technologies to translate their passions and strengths into tangible social changes. It made Yuqing realize that technology, social good and entrepreneurship exemplify a holistic solution to help address many of the issues that people face today. As technology advances, we already possess many useful tools; however, we need entrepreneurship to enable technology to be made usable and useful to those who are in need. Driven by this very belief, Yuqing hopes to keep searching for better ways to effect change in more people’s lives.

Yuqing's LinkedIn page

William MengWilliam Meng

School of Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2019

William Meng is a junior at Carnegie Mellon University with a major in computer science and minors in both machine learning and robotics. He is interested in not only pushing the bounds of machine learning and artificial intelligence, but also applying these emergent "intelligent" technologies to relatively traditional industries, such as manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture and logistics.

In the summer of 2016, William worked at RoBotany, an automated vertical farming startup that was working out of Project Olympus at the time. Since then, RoBotany has moved on to raise it seed round and settled into a 15,000 sqft production facility, while William found his passion in applying computer technology to another traditional industry--residential construction.

In the year since, William has been actively working on a project that aims to make the residential construction more efficient by utilizing the latest data analytics and operation research technologies. William believes that, one day, both residential and commercial construction can be highly integrated from end-to-end, guided by an extensive and intelligent system to deliver a level of user-experience and efficiency that would not otherwise be possible.

William's LinkedIn page

Maxwell MirhoMaxwell Mirho

Tepper School of Business, B.S. anticipated 2019

Max Mirho is a rising third year student in Business Administration, taking both a focus and a minor in entrepreneurship. He currently focuses his attention on making the right connections, and has networked with many successful entrepreneurs on both the east and west coast. Previously involved in the nonprofit space, Max is currently working with a venture backed technology startup in Seattle, as well as scouting for a successful Seattle venture capitalist firm. He believes strongly in the power of both networking and intellectual property to help startups succeed, and he hopes to soon try his hand at running a startup company. In his free time, Max enjoys exploring, and he looks forward to working with every member of the Innovation Scholars closely.

Max's LinkedIn page

Zach PanZach Zhengyuan Pan

Carnegie Institute of Technology, B.S. anticipated 2019

Zach is majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering. After spending three years at CMU, he finds CMU a perfect combination of technology innovation and entrepreneur magnet. On the technology side, Zach is exploring new technologies that transform areas related to human itself, specifically healthcare and tech applications that empower humans to achieve more. On the entrepreneurship side, Zach has been committing to the CMU Summit on US-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship for two years, and will be one of the Co-Presidents next year, continuing bridging new technologies, capital, talents and new ventures from the US and China. He has met a lot of talented entrepreneurs in CMU and Pittsburgh, and believes CMU Summit is able to help them achieve more.

Zach's LinkedIn page

Sean TaoSean Hengxiao Tao

School of Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2019

Sean is a Computer Science major at Carnegie Mellon University and has always wanted to have his own tech startup. His technical interests include cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence. One day, Sean hopes to create a company which utilizes these new fields to change the way we think about how to define intelligence. He has experience working at Microsoft in the Azure SRE division. Sean also likes to play soccer and watch all the Pittsburgh sports teams.

Sean's LinkedIn page

2018 Innovation Scholars

David BeinhartDavid Beinhart

Tepper School of Business, B.S., and Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Creative Writing, B.A. anticipated 2018

David Beinhart is a second year Business Administration student with an additional major in creative writing. Passionate about interdisciplinary studies and problem solving, he has participated in numerous business case competitions and lectures given by visiting authors. With previous experience at the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership as a research intern, he worked closely with city resources to promote small business development and entrepreneurship. This summer he will study at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology where he will also be interning at a startup in Haifa. In his spare time, David loves to read, play tennis and to promote the sport of disc golf. He is excited to continue to explore new ventures through the Innovation Scholars’ curriculum, and to contribute to the entrepreneurial community at CMU.

Dominique BrychDominique Brych

College of Engineering, B.S. anticipated 2018

Dominique Brych is a rising junior in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon who believes that innovation and entrepreneurship are the biggest ways for her to make an impact on society. She also believes that when many people with different backgrounds and experiences come together, great ideas are born. Dominique worked as a professional magician at the Magic Castle in Hollywood and attended the performing arts high school Orange County School of the Arts, Santa Ana, Calif. for six years before pursuing engineering at Carnegie Mellon. She believes that while the arts and sciences seem different, they are really quite similar. As an Innovation Scholar, she is looking forward to exploring possibilities to create a startup that will combine these two fields.

Kate BurgessKate Burgess

School of Drama, BFA anticipated 2018

Kate is pursuing a major in dramaturgy at Carnegie Mellon School of Drama with a minor in business. Kate is passionate to involve creative fields with entrepreneurial ventures. She has worked for a number of theater companies focusing on arts administration and has written and directed two shows. She enjoys building new projects from scratch and in her free time, writing plays, composing and cooking. She is excited to use the knowledge she gains from the Innovation Scholars Program to develop a startup that uses creative techniques to establish innovative business models and problem-solving strategies.

Ryan FrancisRyan Francis

Tepper School of Business, B.S. anticipated 2018

Ryan Francis is a rising junior in Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business. He is currently pursuing a business administration degree with focuses in entrepreneurship and business technology, and a minor in innovation & entrepreneurship through the Integrative Design, Arts & Technology Network (IDeATe). By concentrating his academic studies in these areas, Ryan looks to combine his interests in business, technology and entrepreneurship to learn creative ways to take ideas and transform them into real-world innovations. These academic pursuits are coupled with his extracurricular work, where he has contributed to several ventures, ranging from online affiliate marketing to his most recent startup endeavor called MyBusinessGenie, a cloud based, business management platform for small to mid-sized businesses. Ryan looks forward to expanding his entrepreneurial passion further through the Innovation Scholars Program, and eventually building and running his own startup business.

Akshay GoradiaAkshay Goradia

Dietrich College, Information Systems, B.S. anticipated 2018

Akshay Goradia is a rising junior at Carnegie Mellon, pursuing a B.S. in information systems with an additional major in human-computer interaction. Akshay is extremely interested in startups and venture capital, and he serves as a co-editor at Requests for Startups where he writes about tech and venture. The summer after his freshman year, he gained experience working with startups from the VC side at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator, a seed-stage fund and startup accelerator. Simultaneously, he worked on product in the adtech space at one of ERA's portfolio startups, MuseFind. Akshay has developed iOS applications with thousands of downloads, currently works at UPMC on an enterprise-scale data governance initiative, and will study abroad at the University of Oxford in the fall of 2016.

Portrait of Glen WiseGlen Wise

Dietrich College, Information Systems, B.S. anticipated 2018

Glen Wise is a rising Junior in the Deitrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences majoring in information systems with a minor in music technology. Glen’s passions have always offered guidance when choosing his extracurricular activities both at home in New Jersey and here at CMU. Since the summer before his sophomore year, he’s had the opportunity to combine his love of music and technology with an internship at LivingTonal, a fast growing audio identity firm based in New York City. Due to the startup nature LivingTonal possesses Glen’s been able to make a wide range of contributions to the business on a daily basis; from building and maintaining relationships with clients to producing and curating original content. It’s been this eye opening experience which set him on the path to becoming an Innovation Scholar. By further honing his entrepreneurial skills in this program, he aspires to be a positive force for change both on and off campus as well as within Pittsburgh’s burgeoning tech startup ecosystem.

Betty Yimin XieBetty Yimin Xie

Mellon College of Science, Mathematics and Tepper School of Business, B.S. anticipated 2018

Betty is double majoring in mathematical science and business administration, and minoring in innovation and entrepreneurship. Betty is passionate and has always practiced entrepreneurship, starting in childhood. She believes that entrepreneurship is about creating products and solutions not only to please customers, but also to improve their lives. At Carnegie Mellon, she served as vice president for the fifth CMU Summit on U.S.-China Innovation and Entrepreneurship, where she recruited over 30 renowned venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, organized panel discussions and the New Venture Competition, and raised over $20,000 for the conference. She will serve as president for next year's Summit with her dedication, leadership skills and most importantly, passion for entrepreneurship. Betty's exposure to active entrepreneurs and venture capitalists throughout these experiences has further inspired her to build a startup that could revolutionize an industry after graduation. For the summer of 2016, Betty will intern at RoboTerra,Inc., a high tech educational robotics startup based in Silicon Valley. The Innovation Scholars Program will provide her with a dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystem in which to learn and interact with other innovators and "out of the box" interdisciplinary thinkers.

Angelina ZhouAngelina Zhou

Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2018

Angelina Zhou is pursuing a computer science major with minors in robotics, human-computer interaction, chinese, and drama. She has experience working with various startups and marketing and software development companies. She is also an instructor for the University of Pittsburgh sailing club and has a diverse background in dance and photography.

2017 Innovation Scholars

John ChoiJohn Choi

Computer Science and Art, B.S. anticipated 2017

John Choi has been learning electrical, mechanical and software engineering as well as game development for the last seven years and continues to do so whenever he can. As part of Carnegie Mellon's Robotics Club and Game Creation Society, John knows what it takes to lead innovative hardware and software projects either independently or as a collective effort. So far, John has developed a 2.6-ft humanoid robot for use in animation research, and it is already being used by several roboticists around the world. As part of the Innovation Scholars Program, John intends to launch a service robotics company and bolster technology in education and beyond.

Portfolio Website:

John's LinkedIn page

Jonathan 'JD' DyerJonathan "JD" Dyer

College of Engineering, B.S. anticipated 2017

Jonathan believes that entrepreneurs have a vital role in society summed up by Margaret Mead’s quote, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." Jonathan has a love for being on the ground floor of ventures and a knack for ensuring their success. In high school, he was a part of his school’s first ever championship football team and ran the school’s first ever shoe drive, raising over 500 pairs of shoes. In his time at Carnegie Mellon he helped found Alpha Sigma Phi Alpha Gamma Chapter, the fastest chartering chapter in his fraternity’s history, and ran their A Dollar Does It drive, raising over $3,200 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Pittsburgh. Jonathan interned at Millennium Engineering and Integration in the summer preceding his sophomore year and spent the summer after his sophomore year taking courses on Arduino and working on his business ideas. He is a member of the football team and a mechanical engineering major pursuing a minor in entrepreneurship for the creative industries. With the knowledge gained as an Innovation Scholar he plans to build a startup that creates consumer products that revolutionize an industry.

Jonathan's LinkedIn page

David Lu David Lu

Computer Science, B.S. anticipated 2017

David Lu is a junior in the School of Computer Science, with an additional major in mathematics. In his freshman summer, he built a fantasy sports startup that was backed and funded by Microsoft Ventures, and spent the summer at their accelerator program. In his sophomore summer, he worked as a computer science researcher on a NASA project, helping research and develop planning systems for NASA. On campus, David has been a teaching assistant and is currently an undergraduate researcher for the HCI Institute. David's interests lie in building products that create intrinsic value for the consumer.

David's LinkedIn page

Michael MawhinneyMichael Mawhinney

Tepper School of Business, BS anticipated 2017

Michael Mawhinney is a business administration major in the Tepper School of Business, with a track in entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship runs in his blood, and he began at a young age when he started a local odd jobs business with his brothers when he was eight years old. He loves every step of the entrepreneurial process and is putting them into action with a potential new startup company, LatteMatic, where he aims to provide a convenient and fully-automatic gourmet coffee maker for in-home use. Michael has strong verbal and written communication skills, putting them to use when writing and analyzing baseball in self-run websites, as well as being a songwriter in his spare time. He is also an assistant track and field coach at his high school alma mater.

Michael's LinkedIn page

Mohak NahtaMohak Nahta

Computer Science and Economics, B.S. anticipated 2017

Mohak Nahta is a junior economics and computer science double major at Carnegie Mellon. Mohak is passionate about disruptive technologies and social innovation. With the Innovation Scholars Program, Mohak looks forward to engaging with entrepreneurs at the forefront of their industries and giving back to the innovation ecosystem at CMU. In his free time, Mohak likes to read about politics and sports.

Mohak's LinkedIn page

Hannah SalinasHannah Salinas

College of Fine Arts, Industrial Design, B.A. anticipated 2017

Hannah Salinas is a third-year student studying industrial design and human-computer interaction. She is interested in the role design plays in the medical
industry and integrating healthcare into the lifestyle of patients. Hannah has interned as a designer at Foursquare and Solepower on teams with programmers and engineers. She enjoys working with interdisciplinary teams and balancing seemingly crazy ideas with realistic possibilities. With the Innovation Scholars Program, Hannah anticipates jumpstarting her own company in medical design and offering whatever help she can to other students also interested in entrepreneurship. In her free time, Hannah enjoys hiking, cooking and is heavily involved with Juntos, a cross-cultural service organization.

Hannah's LinkedIn Page

Albert TopdijanAlbert Topdjian

College of Fine Arts, Industrial Design, B.A. anticipated 2017

Albert Topdjian is a third-year industrial design student with a minor in entrepreneurship for creative industries at Carnegie Mellon University on his journey to find ways to combine his interests in design, human interaction, biomedical engineering, and psychology. Some of Albert's experiences include working with children with autism and teaching them play behavior skills, being a research assistant for a Ph.D. candidate at Seton Hall University under Leadership in Health and Sciences, as well as working for the IDeATe program here at CMU. The Innovation Scholars Program will help Albert reach his aspirations as he believes that entrepreneurship is a great way to bridge barriers and bring people together to teach, learn, motivate and apply their passions to create something beautiful.

Albert's LinkedIn page

2016 Innovation Scholars

Benjamin AlderotyBenjamin Alderoty

Tepper School of Business and Human-Computer Interaction Institute, B.S. anticipated 2016


Benjamin Alderoty is studying business and human-computer interaction at Carnegie Mellon University. Ben consults with startups about marketing, websites and methods to set their company apart. He founded to show people how useful Twitter can be. Ben plays varsity soccer and enjoys a leadership role in Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Daniel GorzigliaDaniel Gorziglia

College of Engineering, B.S. anticipated 2016

Daniel's LinkedIn page

Eleanor HaglundEleanor Haglund

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Creative Writing, B.A. anticipated 2016

Eleanor Haglund is a third-year creative writing student at Carnegie Mellon with minors in psychology and Integrative Design in Arts and Technology. She has experience working in the cosmetics and health care industries. Eleanor is extremely organized and self-motivated. In her spare time, she sings in an a cappella group, cooks with her friends and volunteers as an EMT. She is looking forward to using what she learns from the Innovation Scholars Program to build a startup that creates innovative new products.

Eleanor's LinkedIn page

Baek Kyoum KimBaek Kyoum Kim

Robotics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, B.S. anticipated 2016

Baek Kyoum Kim believes that entrepreneurs with innovative ideas use their skills to add value to society in a way no one else can. As an Innovation Scholar, he focuses on technology entrepreneurship with special interests in wearable technology and bionics. Previously, Baek worked at Bank of America Merrill Lynch as a financial technology analyst during his sophomore summer. He was also a student engineer on the Google Lunar XPRIZE team led by Dr. Red Whittaker. The team built a lunar robot that will be launched to the Moon with SpaceX Falcon 9. On campus, he is a proud brother of Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity and serves on the board of directors for the Business Technology Club.

Baek's LinkedIn page

Yiru YaoYiru Yao

College of Engineering, B.S. anticipated 2016

Yiru Yao is passionate about interdisciplinary innovation. With her major in electrical and computer engineering and potential minors in machine learning and media design, she is constantly exploring creative ways to combine media, design, sociology and data. She enjoys working with people from different backgrounds and has been involved in several on-campus research projects including BodyTrack, Romibo and Google Lunar XPRIZE Rover Development. Most recently, she interned at TripAdvisor, working as a software engineer on the Partnership team. With the Innovation Scholars Program, she looks forward to involvement in the dynamic entrepreneurial community as a problem-solver and gap-connector.

Yiru's LinkedIn page