By Stephanie Wagner, USI Opportunity Development Communications Intern
Each summer, the University of Southern Indiana holds a program known as the Technology Commercialization Academy (TCA). TCA is a 12-week program that teaches students how to start with an idea and take it to market. Selected students work alongside local companies who are seeking new ventures, wanting to launch a new product or looking to develop commercial opportunities. Students gain experience in putting together a business model, technology commercialization, as well as marketing and communication.
Jamie Schaefer, USI human resources administrator, conducts mock interviews with students who are preparing for graduation. Doing so, she sees the benefit TCA has for students who have completed the program.
“Students not only show great enthusiasm in this experience, but they receive so much more than they realize,” said Jamie Schaefer. “I see that they are able to provide very thorough examples to questions like, ‘Tell me about a challenge you experienced working in a group or team.’ This program, in some cases, can be more beneficial than a part-time job or internship, due to the direct experience they receive.”
TCA prepares students for the workforce, while also providing them with a competitive advantage over other potential applicants. Students from last year’s TCA say that this program was one of the most influential parts of landing a job after graduation.
“I learned a lot through TCA, but the most important skills I developed were how to effectively work in a multidisciplinary team and how to be more productive while developing ideas.” said Isaac Morris, a 2016 TCA student. “The design methods we learned have helped me push the boundaries of what my education has taught me and start applying it in new and unique ways.”
At the conclusion of the program, students have the opportunity to present their projects and receive feedback from local business leaders, regional entrepreneurs and USI faculty and staff. The 2017 final presentations are scheduled for July 28 in the Business and Engineering Center Atrium. These presentations are open to the public.