2018/2019 Patricelli Center Fellows Reflect on Learnings

On May 7, twelve Patricelli Center Fellows gave their final presentations to an audience of peers, former Fellows, Wesleyan faculty and staff, and community members.
The Patricelli Center Fellowship is a year-long, project-based, cohort-style learning opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship, innovation, and social change. Some Fellows designed their own venture, while others seek pathways to impact as intrapreneurs, activists, researchers, organizers, conveners, artists, and more.

In the past, students presented their work pitch-style, focusing on their business plans and their greatest needed. This third cohort of Fellows did their presentations a little bit differently this year. They reflected on their journeys through the Fellowship: what they learned, some of the challenges along the way, as well as what they plan on doing next.

On the final class check-in form, Makaela Kingsley asked them the following reflective questions:

What would you say is the single best thing you did, learned, or accomplished as part of your Fellowship this year?

I don’t need to start something of my own

How to take the next elegant step

I learned skills that I’ll apply for the rest of my life!

The video calls with wes alum were amazing

Learning how to see “failure” or “good not great” as a marker of moving forward–done is better than perfect!

Making a change, no matter how small to prototype your ideas is so important and will make all the difference

To trust my instincts and not think so rigidly

your project and ideas will only go as far as you push them

What do you wish you knew earlier or did differently as a Fellow?

Offer yourself as a source of advice sooner!

I wish I acted with more confidence.

I wish I could’ve collaborated more on projects with other fellows!

The networking skills I’ve obtained now from experience. How to follow up with people and maintain a connection with your potential network.

That it’s okay for my priority to be learning, and not necessarily my project or final product

I wish that I’d made use of the other Fellows for advice and collaboration

I wish that I had not been so hard on myself.

Take more leaps of faith with projects outside my comfort zone.

Jordan Bonner ’19 used the 2nd annual Cardinal Community Classic as a way to bridge the divide between Wesleyan and Middletown. His event raised over $5,000 for breast cancer patients and a number of Middletown community members participated, including Middletown Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Conner.

Luke Lezhanskyy ’20 talks about the future of Foster Care Support Project, a mentoring program connecting college students to youth in the foster care system.

Zoe Reifel ’21 urges us to “consider design as a process and a solution.” Some of her recent design campaigns include flyers educating students about Eco-to-go containers and creating a Facebook Chat Bot to encourage voting in the midterm elections.

Benny Soran ’21 summed up his Fellowship journey by stating, “my biggest takeaway I have is I know nothing.” His journey from wanting to create a telemedicine app called WeSchedule led him to getting a summer telemedicine internship in Israel, where he looks forward to learning all he can.

Meet the Fellows

Words of advice to future Wesleyan entrepreneurs and changemakers