CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The summer 2020 Teen Entrepreneur Challenge (TEC) at Penn State Lehigh Valley has been revamped into a virtual program. TEC is in its fifth year and prides itself on educating, training and preparing the next generation of innovators for success. Rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors will learn key strategies for starting a business or business concept, and how to develop an entrepreneurial edge.
This year, the virtual TEC program will introduce students to various public health issues the nation is facing and teach them how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to create business solutions to address these issues. Students will complete two projects during this program, including:
1) Develop Public Service Announcements (PSAs) highlighting a public health concern.
2) Utilize entrepreneurial thinking to develop a business profile that will address their highlighted public health topic.
Formal online instruction will take place Monday–Thursday from July 6 to 16 for approximately three hours per day. Additional time will be required outside of the “classroom” hours to complete assignments. Experiences and outcomes include:
- featured speakers from local businesses and virtual field trips
- real-world case studies and problem-solving activities
- explore ideas on sustainability, improving existing processes, and adaptability
- effectively articulate and present a public health issue and produce a quality public health message
- develop and enhance new technology skills
- explore STEAM educational programming
- program culminates with a pitch competition including prizes for top pitches
The schedule is evolving, but a tentative schedule can be found here.
Sponsoring organizations, Bosch Rexroth, Victaulic, and Lehigh Valley Health Network/The Pool Trust will contribute as judges, key speakers, virtual field trip hosts, and more.
“STEM careers will continue to grow at Victaulic and within the construction industry as innovative technologies continue to increase productivity at all phases of a building project,” said Megan Longenderfer, manager, corporate communications, Victaulic. “Considering seven out of 10 of the largest STEM occupations are computer-related, conducting a virtual Teen Entrepreneur Challenge provides relevant experiences incorporating the realities of critical thinking, business entrepreneurship, and innovative, problem-solving programming. Victaulic is committed to collaborating with our educational institutions and our community to promote and grow STEM education within the Lehigh Valley.”
“Increasingly we understand that health is largely determined by social factors such as education, nutrition and safe and healthy housing. The Teen Entrepreneur Challenge is a wonderful opportunity for students to think of innovative business solutions to improve public health communication, particularly for people in their neighborhoods and of their age,” said Edward F. Meehan, executive director, The Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust.
The student groups will submit their pre-recorded pitches to a panel of judges and the program will culminate in an online Q&A session where the judges will choose a winning team based on pre-determined criteria.
The program cost per student is $350 and the deadline to register is June 19. Limited scholarships may be available based on financial need and the deadline to apply for scholarships is June 5. Students can apply for scholarships on the TEC website.
While “field trips” and experiences will be held virtually this year, the programming, experiences, and life-long friendships realized in the past will persist.
“My son, Jason, loved the program! He felt as though he gained a great deal and had fun at the same time. I think TEC ranks among the best summer programs he has attended,” said Judy Dones of San Antonio, Texas, whose son Jason attended TEC in 2018. “I was delighted about the caliber of professors and administrators who ran, contributed to and participated in the program. I was also impressed by all the connections that Jason was able to make with professionals in their respective fields. … TEC is a fantastic program and I'm very glad that Jason attended.”