Inside Rensselaer
Exemplars Certificate Program Launched

To provide Rensselaer students with a comprehensive approach to acquiring entrepreneurial perspective and skills, the Office of Entrepreneurship has launched the new Exemplars Program. The certificate program offers students an opportunity to earn points for their participation in entrepreneurship-themed Rensselaer programs and events that include more than 100 course offerings in Rensselaer’s five schools that have embedded entrepreneurial content, class projects, Office of Entrepreneurship competitions and speaker series, workshops, internship, mentoring, or a venture launch.

“On the Rensselaer campus, there are numerous resources and opportunities to help students develop entrepreneurial ideas,” said Rob Chernow, vice provost for entrepreneurship. “Our new ‘Entrepreneurship Exemplars Program’ is specifically designed for those students who clearly have a higher level of interest in complementing their education by acquiring an entrepreneurial perspective and skills.”

“Our new program is designed for those students who clearly have a higher level of interest in complementing their education by acquiring an entrepreneurial perspective and skills.” — Rob Chernow

To participate in the program, interested students must enroll as Exemplars members by visiting the Office of Entrepreneurship site, and also join the Exemplar’s Facebook group. Once registered, students have access to the Exemplars Handbook and the Facebook group where special events and member-only invitations will be posted.

In addition, during most live events, students are able to simply swipe their Rensselaer ID card with RIN number in a card reader to validate their participation. In competitions, entries submitted by students automatically record earned points. For other activities, students will be advised on how to ensure points earned are recorded. Exemplars members are able to keep track of their earned points through their Exemplars online account. Throughout the program, students will receive awards at various point levels, such as business cards, special sessions with NYC-based entrepreneurs, etc. By accumulating at least 100 points during their time at Rensselaer, students will become eligible to receive a Certificate of Achievement in Entrepreneurship and a personal letter of recommendation from the vice provost of entrepreneurship.

“The dictionary defines an exemplar as someone who is worthy of imitation; a model; something or someone that is commendable,” Chernow said. “In developing this program, one of the key ways to develop an understanding of how to succeed is to recognize the primary traits that are common to most successful entrepreneurs. The traits include opportunity recognition, passion, adaptability, problem solving, bias for action, leadership, risk management, networking, communication, and success through failure. Throughout the process, we have mapped out these qualities and descriptions as a guide to help students see how they embody those traits.”

Established in 2006, the Office of Entrepreneurship has worked to strengthen the culture of entrepreneurship that across the Rensselaer campus, within the local business community, and among alumni. The office builds on Rensselaer’s established strengths in scientific and technological entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary inquiry, and interactive learning, as well as the intellectual foundations of all five Rensselaer schools, the Severino Center for Entrepreneurship, the Rensselaer Technology Park, and the Emerging Ventures Ecosystem, the Institute’s recently launched distributed incubation program designed to help young businesses grow and succeed.

For more information about the Exemplar’s Program, visit

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 4, March 4, 2011
©2010 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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