UD Entrepreneurship students posing for a photo on the beach at Waikiki
A select group of UD entrepreneurship students attended Horn Entrepreneurship's study abroad program in January ‘22 to Hawaii. The students described the program as “an experience of a lifetime.” The students completed course work that focused on entrepreneurship & workplace culture, while being immersed in Hawaiian culture and history. The group took time to visit historic landmarks, networked with entrepreneurs across the islands, attended lectures from accomplished industry professionals, and worked on their own research-based projects, while exploring specific workplace culture issues.
The trip included 14 students from 3 colleges and 8 majors. Nat Measley organized the trip and Madison Topczewski, a recent UD alumna, attended as the teaching assistant. To add another dimension of Horn Entrepreneurship, Tricia Monnig, another UD alumni, was able to meet and work with the group during their stay on the island of Kauai. The study abroad was a micro study abroad from Jan 10 to Jan 26.
Part One - Waikiki Orientation
The program started in Waikiki, a neighborhood in Honolulu famous for its beach life. The sunshine on the first full day enabled an outside classroom, followed by activities discussing each of the students' individual job experiences, to self-evaluate their familiarity with diverse work environments. It helped define workplace culture research questions for their class project. The students then spent time too closely familiarize their new surroundings.
Part Two - Three-Day Experience in Kauai
Although the group spent a majority of time in Waikiki, the group did travel to Kauai for a full three day excursion, where the students first explored Waimea Canyon State Park. Among the various stops during the day, one was Koke’s Lodge, a local eatery surrounded by forest reserves and state parks. The group ended their first day in Kauai by cooking for each other, and had a captivating evening discussion with Stan Stalnaker, Founding Director and Chief Strategy Officer for the Hub Culture Oasis in Kauai, Stalnaker is an early adopter of a cryptocurrency. Later in the trip Stan Stalnaker returned with a lesson about using cryptocurrency for national environmental problems around the world. He is a frequent speaker at various major climate conferences around the world.
Blue Hen students meet Hawaiian chickens outside Koke’s Lodge in Waimea Canyon, Kauai, HI. From the left: students Abubakarr Bah, Samantha Bennett, Jack Sweeney, Miranda Petti, Tony Denney, and Dylan Martinsen all take part in feeding local chickens outside Koke’s Lodge
In Kauai, they toured Common Ground Kauai, exploring their organization culture, start-ups they support, and overall business plans of the former mono-crop plantation that was converted into a regenerative and organic farm and incubator for local and native entrepreneurs in Hawaii. Startups all relate to the different crops and resources at the farm. Discussions with entrepreneurs like Matt Siegel, founder and CEO at Common Ground Kauai shared his venture’s vision and business model while highlighting sustainability and a peek into local cultural trends.
From the left: Jack Sweeney, Josh Patent, Caitlyn Tobio, Tricia Monnig (Horn faculty), Madison Topczewski , Tony Denney, Ben Covell. All are enjoying fresh organic tea and fruits from the farm.
Chef at Common Ground introduced his cultural bounty for the group’s lunch
Part Three - Guest Speakers, Excursions, and final Presentations
Beginning a new week and back in Waikiki, the group participated in an interactive workshop led by Debra Olshan Cooper, a former branding executive who worked with developing and telling world famous brand stories like MTV, Elizabeth Taylor, and others. Students evaluated their own self interests and pursuits in a very self-revealing workshop.
What followed was a workshop on building culture with Wellness and Culture Director & Practitioner, Craig Brown. Brown returned a few days later to lead a workshop on leadership’s different styles, what was the best kind, and to examine the leadership role each person assumed on the trip. Brown was not done yet, he led a design sprint, addressing a specific engagement issue at Brown’s company, Corbins Electric, Phoenix, AZ.
The group had the privilege of hearing from a diverse group of guest speakers, ranging from our own UD alumni, to accomplished entrepreneurs. Two Blue Hen Alumni were Allen Gula, who is the founder of Conscious Impact, and a co-host in Kauai and a Program Manager, Academic Enrichment for Horn Entrepreneurship is Tricia Monnig. Gida Snyder, who is the founder of Slow Island Food & Beverage Co., who talked about her experiences in the food industry.
“The highlight of the mini-winter break study abroad was to see Pearl Harbor. After reviewing the history of Pearl Harbor, its effect on Hawaii, and reading the memorial wall at the monument it gave me goosebumps.” said student Miranda Petti. “It had a similar effect on the rest of the group.”
Student, Josh Patent, speaks about leadership styles’ effect on workplace culture and employee engagement.
Weekends were spent on their own time, but the last full day, Monday, was memorable too. In Hawaii, it may be the only time most students will ever do turtle snorkeling. A popular tourism activity they not only participated in, but also a behind the scenes tour; a workplace culture like no other in Hawaii.
The last day, along with the trip entirely, was full of joy and smiles, despite a final assignment to present research on their question regarding workplace culture. Most felt it bittersweet to head home, but all anyone in the group could think about was the amazing time and relationships they made during the trip. The experience left the group with lessons for a lifetime, and memories that have become a resource for future situations.
Horn Entrepreneurship is offering a four-week program study abroad during winter session 2023 that will examine Thailand through social entrepreneurship and disability studies lenses. Students will engage with educational institutions, community services, government organizations, and advocacy groups to learn about the way people with disabilities live, learn, work, and play in Thailand. Deadline to apply is May 1, 2022
About Horn Entrepreneurship
Horn Entrepreneurship serves as the creative engine for entrepreneurship education and advancement at the University of Delaware. Currently ranked among the best entrepreneurship programs in the US, Horn Entrepreneurship was built and is actively supported by successful entrepreneurs, empowering aspiring innovators as they pursue new ideas for a better world.