Purdue computer science sophomore to participate in Thiel Foundation Under 20 Summit

November 12, 2014  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University computer science major Spencer Brown has been invited to participate in the upcoming Thiel Foundation Under 20 Summit, an event focused on promoting independent thought and teenage entrepreneurship.

The Thiel Foundation event this weekend (Nov. 15-16) in Las Vegas includes inspirational keynote speakers, office hours with Thiel Mentors and the opportunity for one-on-one collaboration.

Launched by PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel, the Thiel Foundation welcomes young entrepreneurs of all interests. With past participants going on to create successful social networking applications and launch Internet startups, teenagers with a passion for technology are among those who thrive in this inspirational environment.

"I enjoy working hard on interesting things and exercising my leadership skills. And entrepreneurship is perfect for that," said Brown, who also is enrolled in Purdue's Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation program. "The risk and energy involved are really exciting to me."

Brown hopes the summit, along with knowledge gained through the entrepreneurship and innovation program, will prepare him to create his own business-to-business (B2B) tech company. At Purdue, he also has participated in Purdue Hackers, the Entrepreneurship Club and is director of BoilerMake, Purdue's hackathon.

"Being in Purdue's program has reinforced my interest in entrepreneurship, which has contributed to me pursuing the summit," he said. "The certificate program is sponsoring my trip to the summit, which is another reason that they are a fundamental part of why I'll be going."

He also is excited to hear the keynote lectures at the summit, including Ivy Ross, head of Google Glass at GoogleX; Kay Koplovitz, founder of the USA Network; Rose Broome, CEO and cofounder of HandUp; and Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com.

Spencer was invited as part of an application process that included a personal video and a two-year plan outlining his career goals. To defray trip expenses, he received a Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation grant from its Collegiate Entrepreneurship Opportunities (CEO) program funded by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation.

The Thiel Foundation event is sponsored by the Center for Applied Rationality, Dorm Room Fund, Janssen Healthcare Innovation, the Foundation for Economic Education, We are Family Foundation, UnCollege, Upstart, SugarCRM, Tappy, Blastos, Waypaver, Code2040, Praxis, DevelpHer and Downtown Project.

For more information about the Thiel Foundation Summit and future events, go to http://summit.thielfellowship.org/.

The Purdue Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program, led by technology leadership and innovation professor Nathalie Duval-Couetil, serves more than 1,800 students each year and continues to integrate 300 new students each semester.

By the end of 2014, the program anticipates more than 5,200 student participants and 1,700 certificate recipients since it began in 2005. Similar to a minor, students complete a series of five courses or experiential learning programs to earn the certificate.

Housed in the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship and led by the Purdue Office of the Provost, the program is available to Purdue undergraduate students in all majors. Its purpose is to make entrepreneurship an accessible career option by providing students with the skills and knowledge to succeed in business on their own terms. 

Writers: Emily Sigg, 765-494-4719, esigg@purdue.edu

Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 

Sources: Spencer Brown, 740-405-3797, sb@purdue.edu

Nathalie Duval-Couetil, 765-494-7068, natduval@purdue.edu

Jeanette Greener, 765 494-3805, jgreener@purdue.edu 

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