Thanks to COVID-19, most of our summer plans are looking a lot different than usual. But that isn’t stopping a group of enterprising students in Macalester College’s MacNest program from pairing up with local businesses to gain insight and experience in the startup realm.

Over the next couple weeks, we’ll be shining a summer spotlight on the MacNest 2020 participants to learn more about what they’re getting out of the program, and what they like most about the startup world.

You just might get some hot summer jam recommendations, too.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the MacNest 2020 student participants.

 

Abby Hinds MacNest

Abby Hinds

Abby Hinds

Graduation Year and Major: 2021, Economics & Russian Studies

Hometown: Orlando, FL

Startup Pairing: Weathervane Labs

What made you want to participate in the MacNest program?

I was really interested in working with a start-up and I believed that MacNest would be to best way to get introduced with some awesome start-ups. How businesses grow and make decisions is part of my study at Macalester and I wanted to learn first-hand how that happens.

What are you hoping to learn during the program?

I hope to learn more about the entrepreneurial process and how entrepreneurs develop their ideas into profitable companies.

Weathervane LabsWhat’s the allure of working with a startup?

You get to see first-hand all the work that goes into making a business successful. You are helping develop the building blocks of a successful business.

What do you find most interesting about the startup you’re working for?

I find it really interesting that my startup is trying to create a weather app experience personalized for the user.

Outside of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, what are your
hobbies?

I love baking, swimming, and playing video games.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve gotten
about entrepreneurship?

Success is not a linear path.

 

Alex Thomas MacNest

Alex Thomas

Alex Thomas

Graduation Year and Major: 2022, Environmental Studies with a Sustainable Design Emphasis & Studio Art

Hometown: Kerala, India

Startup Pairing: Office of Cultural Work

What made you want to participate in the MacNest program?

I was drawn to MacNest because it highlights learning as a collaborative and adaptive process through conversations as a cohort and the opportunity to work with ever-changing startups.

What are you hoping to learn during the program?

Working in a creative field brings with it a lot of uncertainty. With the added pressure of a startup and a global pandemic, I know my work with Office of Cultural Work is going to teach me to how to better navigate constantly changing environments. In using a variety of software and tools, interacting with clients from different industries, and learning to manage projects and my time, the experience will teach me a lot about myself-what I am capable of and how I can use my experiences to change the world around me.

Office of Cultural WorkWhat’s the allure of working with a startup?

Being in a small team with direct access to founders and creators allows you to learn from them in a very raw way. You learn about challenges they have faced and will face, but also have insight into how they overcome and grow in those situations.

This is a different version of organizations that I have otherwise been exposed to. In a startup, the energy around an idea is contagious and pushes you to work harder without the hurdles of bureaucracy or mitigating risk. There is a sense of fearlessness that is inherent to entrepreneurship, and that is arguably necessary for students as we begin our professional lives.

What do you find most interesting about the startup you’re working for?

The variety of work and how relevant it is to both my professional development and my values. Through projects with clients of Office of Cultural Work, I have the opportunity to develop skills in everything from web development to 3D rendering to working with power tools.

I think these experiences tie in well with wanting to become an architect-by having a range of media and tools to pull from and ideate and make. Additionally, the projects I work on are underlined by values of social and environmental justice, values that are especially important when designing buildings, cities, and environments.

What are some of your entrepreneurial goals?

I see my interests in the natural environment, social justice, and architecture manifesting in my designing environments and structures that promote a healthy relationship with nature and the community around us. It is easy for architecture to take the place of a forest and to put up walls near our neighbors, but I think good design needs to be motivated by a deeper understanding of society, one that recognizes the importance of nature and a just and inclusive community.

Outside of the entrepreneurial lifestyle, what are your
hobbies?

I enjoy playing the piano, being around nature, drawing the world around me, and having food with people I love.

What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve gotten
about entrepreneurship?

Be willing to learn what you don’t know.

What’s the summer jam of 2020?

Don’t Start Now – Dua Lipa. Best bassline I’ve heard in a while. 😉