Guest star at Queens University’s new course on startups

It’s that time of year again.

Bookbags packed, Apple Pencils charged, maybe even a snazzy new pair of socks to celebrate the occasion. Fall isn’t yet in the air, but it’s back to school for K-12 and college students alike across Charlotte — except that, at Queens University, something’s changing.

This fall, a new course on customer discovery, social impact and startups has been added to the curriculum, and we want you to be a part of this awesome new opportunity.

As part of a new interdisciplinary program for undergraduate students, the course is part of a first-of-its-kind endeavor that sees Queens leading the way in transformative undergraduate education. Students are dually enrolled in a class in the sciences where they’re learning how to “brew up” new products to test in their local marketplace.

The Customer Discovery class meets once a week, on Tuesday nights, and involves members of the local innovation and entrepreneurial ecosystem as “guest stars” who lead interactive workshops, share their business and startup expertise and, as students make progress on launching and testing their own ventures, give feedback to fledgling “companies.”

Customer Discovery adopts a “flipped classroom” model — a leading format in experiential education and new modes of pedagogy (the study of teaching and learning). It’s designed to support 21st-century learners, most of whom will graduate into a workforce markedly different than the economy we joined in our early 20s.

Instead of spending in-class time listening to faculty lectures, students review readings and video content prior to weekly meetings, then come to class ready to discuss, make, break, fix and learn with, rather than from, their instructors.

Here’s where you come in.

Every time this class meets, there are opportunities and needs for members of our ecosystem to share their experiences and stories — about failure, success and the highs and lows of learning-by-doing in our growing startup scene.

Our students also need real, honest feedback. Every week, they’ll be presenting an updated business model canvas, including their learnings from interviewing prospective customers on the streets, and the new direction or pivots they’re taking as a result.

They need to hear from you.

You don’t have to be an expert in “the lean startup” to make a meaningful contribution. You need passion for learning, adaptability and an interest in bringing up the next generation of entrepreneurs — the way you were, once upon a time, or maybe still are.

For most entrepreneurs, there’s a “pay-it-forward” chapter to their startup story. We’d love to be yours.

Contact Hannah Levinson at hannah@lahayim.co to learn more and become part of what they’re building at Queens.

Hannah Levinson is the founder and managing director of Lahayim Cooperative.

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