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Team Agora

Team Agora: (l-r) front row: Mike DelPrete ’01, Stefanie Teare ’04, Eric St. Onge ’04; back row: Tim Jones ’01, Lee McOmber ’05, and Jonathan Dance ’04.

Incubator Center

Hands-On Training

Eight undergraduates are getting hands-on experience in entrepreneurship at a company in Rensselaer’s Incubator Center. They work for Agora Studios, a start-up founded and run by Rensselaer alumnus Michael DelPrete ’01. The company — launched July 1, 2003 — develops interactive online communities, and employs the eight as interns or on a full- or part-time basis.

“The Agora staff members have pretty different backgrounds and areas of expertise,” says DelPrete, president of the company, who received a bachelor of science degree in electronic media, arts, and communication (EMAC) in 2001 and a master’s in technical communication with a focus on human-computer interaction in 2002. “We have an EMAC major, a computer science major, and a biotechnology major. Having all of those different perspectives represented really helps when we’re developing a product.”

The sophomore, juniors, and seniors are working with DelPrete on a growing list of projects, including www.incubator.com, a global network of venture capital firms and start-up companies sponsored by Rensselaer’s Incubator Program; www.technologyroadmap.org, an inventory and overview of research and development resources in the Capital Region for the Center for Economic Growth in Albany; and http://nrelgrowthlink.incubator.com, an online community of clean energy firms for the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Stefanie Teare, Agora’s director of communications and a senior at Rensselaer majoring in communications, says she is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with such high-profile organizations and gain real-world experience at the company simultaneously. “Working for Agora and going to class at the same time has definitely been an eye-opening experience,” she says, admitting that she sometimes thinks about her job during class. “I’ve been able to learn a lot about running a business, and add something unique to my resume. And I’ve had fun doing it, which is also a plus.”

For more information on Agora, go to www.agorastudios.com.

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Rensselaer Magazine: Spring 2004
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