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Ideas In Action

With a new vice provost for entrepreneurship, Rensselaer is working to infuse the spirit of entrepreneurship across campus and in every student

By Jodi Ackerman Frank

Robert Chernow first ventured into the world of entrepreneurship in 1970 during his Peace Corps mission in a poverty-stricken village on the Brazilian coast where he started a successful fishing cooperative that still operates today. “That was a true venture,” says Chernow, vice provost for entrepreneurship. “I had an idea and had to bungle my way through a different culture to make it work.”

It is this entrepreneurial spirit — trusting an idea, taking risks, plunging into the unknown, and harnessing innovation to turn a concept into a thriving enterprise — that Rensselaer wants to instill in every student, from the freshman to the Ph.D. candidate.

“College campuses are idea incubators where people learn skills and forge work habits and relationships that serve them all their lives,” says Chernow. “We know there’s an entrepreneurial spirit sweeping across college campuses today, and I am thrilled to build on this momentum so that entrepreneurship becomes a natural and vital aspect of the Rensselaer experience.”

“Our plan for entrepreneurship education encompasses every aspect of the Rensselaer experience,” Chernow says. “We plan to integrate existing courses and develop new ones, provide more experiential learning opportunities, new seminars, a speaker series, and networking opportunities for all our students.”

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