10 Holiday Gift Ideas from Terp-founded Companies

Need a last-minute gift idea? Entrepreneurs from Maryland Smith’s Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship have you covered. Whoever you’re shopping for – the foodie, athlete, fashionista, Maryland fan – these student- and alumni-run companies can help you check those last names off your list (or have you to adding items to your own wishlist).  

The aerium, the natural air purifier that uses algae to clean the air we breathe.

AlgenAir – Give the gift of clean air with the Aerium, an air purifier designed by two Maryland PhD students that runs on algae, purifies the air and fills it with as much oxygen as 25 houseplants!

Aurora Tights – Know any skaters, ballerinas or performers of color? Get them tights in their exact skin tone and see their confidence soar. Aurora Tights now come in children’s sizes too! 

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Pitch Dingman Finalist AlgenAir Accepted into ASU Innovation Open

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Pitch Dingman Competition finalist startup AlgenAir has been invited to participate in the semifinal round of the Arizona State University Innovation Open on January 31, 2020, which only invites the best collegiate-led tech startups to compete and showcase for a chance to vie for $300K in grant funding, including two $100K cash prizes. They will be one of twenty-eight startups to compete, having advanced from a preliminary round that included over 100 student entrepreneurs from around the country. The Dingman Center has provided the co-founder’s of AlgenAir, Dan Fucich, PhD ’20, a marine estuary and environmental science PhD candidate, and Kelsey Abernathy, an environmental and molecular biology PhD candidate at UMB, with an E-Fund Award to cover expenses to compete. The Dingman Center reached out to Dan Fucich about AlgenAir’s flagship product, the “aerium”, an algae-powered air purifier; their experiences with Pitch Dingman Competition; and their hopes for the ASU Innovation Open.

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Learning the Mind Palace Technique with Terp Startup NuroSTREAM

On Nov. 20, 2020, Terp Startup NuroSTREAM hosted a free Mind Palace workshop at Startup Shell, UMD’s student-run incubator. The workshop was designed to test their startup’s neuroscience-based study platform. NuroSTREAM is participating in the Dingman Center’s Terp Startup Fellows program pilot, which provides continued resources and funding support for selected graduates from our Terp Startup summer accelerator. The following is one student’s account of her experience in the workshop.

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by: Allison Criswell ’21

Just in time for finals season, NuroSTREAM hosted a memorization strategy “Mind Palace”at UMD. The mind palace technique originated in ancient Greece, when a poet experienced a disaster and was later able to walk himself through the scene in his mind, recalling where each person was sitting when it happened. Beyond remembering where dead people were, NuroSTREAM is bringing this to students as a study method. Students can link facts or sequences with specific locations, senses (smell, touch, etc.), and emotions in order to keep them in their mind when that big exam comes. To explain, let me use the number memorization example given in the workshop.

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Dingman Center Supports Female-Founded Ventures at Technica


Sara Herald, MBA ’11, Ladies First champion and Director of Venture Development, with Blaze Tracker, the winning team at Technica.

The weekend of November 9th, the Dingman Center hosted a table and sponsored a prize at University of Maryland’s Technica, the nation’s largest female and non-binary hackathon. The Dingman Center table was manned by alumnae of the Ladies First Founders program, a 1-credit course for female and nonbinary students to form a community and overcome gender bias issues in entrepreneurship. The course is the flagship program of the Center’s Ladies First Initiative to get more female and nonbinary students at UMD engaged with entrepreneurship. Many students were excited to learn how they can get more involved with the Dingman Center to help grow their business ideas beyond the hackathon. At the end of the 48 hour hackathon on Sunday, the Dingman Center presented a Kate Spade wallet to Blaze Tracker, the best venture at Technica. Blaze Tracker consists of a team of four computer science freshman who created an app to provide information to those affected by the California wildfires in real time, and for others nearby to open their homes as temporary lodging. They were awarded this prize for having an innovative, unique, and profitable idea. We look forward to the next edition of Technica!

Student Insights from the Hisaoka Speaker Series featuring Seth Goldman

On October 30, 2019, the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series invited Seth Goldman, the co-founder and Tea-EO emeritus of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, for an intimate conversation with Robert Hisaoka ’79 at The Clarice. Read on for one student’s insights on Goldman’s talk.


by: Allison Criswell ’21

In a world where obesity is on the rise and Mother Nature is on the fall, “healthy and sustainable” has become something of a societal trend. Eating clean and taking care of the earth has never been cooler. But when it comes to our taste buds, we don’t like to make sacrifices unless the alternative is just as delicious. Lucky for us, Seth Goldman, Co-Founder of Honest Tea and Executive Chair of Beyond Meat, has spent the last two decades making it possible to be an environmentalist and a health nut without giving up flavor.

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Announcing the Semifinalists of the 2020 Pitch Dingman Competition

Semifinals Logos

This year’s Pitch Dingman Competition application phase saw a wide range of applications from undergraduate, graduate and PhD students from across UMD. After undergoing a quarterfinals review from alumni judges, we’re excited to announce the 2020 Pitch Dingman Competition semifinalists. The founders of the semifinalists teams will participate in workshops and receive mentoring to help them further accelerate their businesses, whether or not they make the cut for Pitch Dingman Competition Finals. On Friday, November 22 from 1-4 p.m. in Van Munching Hall, these 10 student startups will pitch their businesses to an expert panel of judges at the Pitch Dingman Competition Semifinals. We’re excited to see who wins the opportunity to pitch at the Finals on March 10, 2020 for a shot at the grand prize of $15,000!

Read on to learn more about each semifinalist team in their own words:

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Catching Up With Ladies First Founder Jasmine Snead of Aurora Tights


by: Hannah Shraim ’20, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

Jasmine Snead ’17, MPP/MBA ’21 is a first year MBA student at the University of Maryland. She is set to graduate with a joint degree in policy and business in 2021. Snead majored in Government and Politics as an undergraduate at UMD and was part of the pilot Ladies’ First Founders cohort. 

We sat down with Aurora Tights Co-Founder and 2019 Pitch Dingman Competition winner Jasmine Snead to talk about her experiences as an entrepreneur. 

Snead was a part of Ladies’ First, a course launched by the Dingman Center to help increase the number of women involved in entrepreneurship at UMD. After launching the program, Dingman saw that female engagement in our programs increased from 25% to 40%. 

While Snead makes it look seamless with her many accolades, starting a venture is no easy feat. After launching her company, which sells apparel for performers of all skin tones and sizes, Snead was in search of guidance and mentorship. 

“I wanted to be in an atmosphere to grow with women founders and discuss [the challenges] we were facing,” she said. Ladies’ First became that community for her. 

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Spilling the (Honest) Tea: 5 Facts About Seth Goldman

NEW HEADSHOT 7.9.18.tif (1)by: Hannah Shraim ’20, Dingman Center Marketing Intern

If you haven’t already heard, Seth Goldman is coming to campus as part of our Robert G. Hisaoka Speaker Series. Goldman is best known for co-founding Honest Tea. You know, Honest Tea — the company that Coca-Cola paid $43 million for.

There’s a lot of hype surrounding this event as the industry pioneer is set to share his experiences as a socially conscious entrepreneur. In light of this, we wanted to share five fast facts about Goldman to get you ready for conversation. 

Seth Goldman has a background in government

Goldman graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in government from Harvard University in 1987. Before his bustling career as an entrepreneur, he worked on Michael Dukakis’ presidential campaign. After attempting to solve social issues through a governmental lens, he eventually switched to business with the same goal in mind. 

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Dingman Sponsors Students for TAMID Fellowship at Israeli Startups


by Kira Cohen ’21, Journalism and Psychology

This summer, fourteen University of Maryland students were granted the opportunity to work in and explore Israel for the summer. The TAMID Fellowship, an 8-week summer internship program, provided these students hands-on experience with Israeli startups as well as exposure to Israeli culture and society. More than just professional development and a trip to a foreign country, the summer was a hallmark of these students’ undergraduate experiences, introducing them to diverse students from other universities and bringing them closer to one another.

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Get to Know the Dingman Center: Lottie Byram


Lottie Byram: Venture Programs Manager

Lottie Byram is the Venture Programs Manager at the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship. In addition to running all of the student entrepreneurship programs, she supports and guides early-stage entrepreneurs across campus to dream big, to embody the courage and creativity of entrepreneurship, and to develop their ideas into viable ventures. Prior to joining the team in Fall 2019, Lottie led operations and evaluation at Circus Harmony, a social circus in St. Louis, Missouri dedicated to making social change through the teaching and performing of circus arts.

Lottie’s work as an entrepreneur, researcher, and project manager in violence prevention and social arts has taken her throughout the country and around the world. She is committed to empowering people from all walks of life to be well and achieve their highest potential. She holds an MPH from the George Washington University and a BA in Anthropology magna cum laude from the University of Georgia.

What excites you most about your job?
I really, really love to hear other people’s crazy ideas. The greatest moment is when someone’s crazy idea completely transforms their life, or the way they view the world and themselves in the best possible ways.

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