MakerSpace Under Construction in Falmouth Hall!

Remember when there was a bookstore in the basement of Falmouth Hall? Well that is long gone, and there is a brand new MakerSpace under construction for College of Engineering students.

I have been reviewing campus-wide data on student participation in experiential activities like Research Coop, Community Coop, Enterprise Coop. These are different from the Career Services Coop, and provided opportunities for hands on work with students in local organizations or ventures under the guidance of a professor.  We have very low participation compared to other colleges:  2014-2015 AY3 MSB, 13 Health Science, 12 FAHSS, 42 Engineering 2013-2014 AY1 MSB, 11 Health Science, 10 FAHSS,   8  Engineering  (My suggestions below rOne area where the MSB has limited univers

Looking towards Pasteur, from Loading Dock Entrance.

This new space will include a prototype design and printing center (including 3D printers and laser cutters), electronics workstations and other milling and machining equipment.

 Prototype Development Space

Looking into the Prototype Development Space.

Dean Hartman, a champion for the construction of the MakerSpace, envisions a creative builder space where COE students can design, create and build 24 hours per day. He anticipates the placement of capstone courses in the space during the day and student builders creating at night.

Maker Space

Looking out toward the back wall – lots of space here!

Look for a soft opening late spring semester!

Innovation Hub Under Construction!

Hey DifferenceMakers!

Did you know that UMass Lowell is building out 22,000 sq ft. of Innovation & Entrepreneurship space in Lowell – at 110 Canal St?  One floor will house an expanded M2D2 medical device incubator while the other floor will support other types of technology startup companies.  The facility is scheduled to open by June 2015, but here are some photos to keep you updated.  Perhaps the 2015 Idea Challenge winners will have space in a brand new IHub!


“Phone Booths” for startups at the IHub Tech Incubator.


Loooking into the IHub Board Room – they haven’t yet installed the moveable, glass walls.


Flex offices on the Canal St. side.


Looking from the entrance toward the Admin & Prototype Lab.

Entrance to IHub

Welcome to the entrance of the Innovation Hub at 110 Canal Street, Lowell.


College Competitions Winners 2014

FAHSS Creative Venture Competition:

The FAHSS Creative Venture Competition took place December 3rd from 6-9pm in O’Leary Library 222 on South Campus. The judges were Glenn Morgan, Co-Founder SkyWorld, Inc., Michael Ratner, CEO of Skyworld, Inc., and Jack Ford, a UMass Lowell alumni.


The Team “May Day”, made up of team members Ofa Liz Ejaife, Alessandro Simone Agnello, and Cibhi SelVen, pitched an innovation to prevent sexual assault and won the competition. They won a top prize of $5000 that was awarded by UMass Lowell alumni Glenn Morgan and Jack Ford, and another $750 that was awarded by the FAHSS department. A total of $5,750 was awarded to the team at last night’s FAHSS event.

Congratulations, May Day!!

The DifferenceMaker Program would also like to recognize the teams that made it to the Finals:

1) 33a – Jennifer Costa

2) Everybody’s Everything Project – Catherine Giunta, Niyah West, and Miguel Landestoy

3) First Call System – Kevin Goddu, and Jeremy Inhaber


MSB & DCU Innovation Competition:

The DCU Innovation Competition took place December 3rd, from 6-9pm in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus. The judges were Jim Regan, President and CEO of Digital Federal Credit Union, David Araujo, VP of Information Systems at Digital Federal Credit Union, Scott Latham, Interim Dean of the Manning School of Business, and Holly Butler, the Director of the DifferenceMaker Program. Professor Steven Tello, Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development of UMass Lowell, MC’ed the event.


“The Bears”, made up of team members Joseph Baglio and Meghan Foster, won the top prize of $500 each, in addition to $200 for making it the finals. The team won a total of $1,200 in prize money. They pitched an idea for a subsection budgeting banking system app for DCU. This app will help DCU clients budget their money into different categories to promote organization and assist visual learners.

Congratulations, The Bears!!

The DifferenceMaker Program would also like to recognize the teams that made it to the Finals:

1) Team Avici – Prajwal Yashasvi and Bharadwaj Balaji

2) UMass Golfers – Stephen Aghiarian, Jonathan Burgin, and Harry Hulme

3) UPlan – Kenneth Rogers and Mikayla Essigmann

4) You Can Sell Time! – Phat Nguyen Bui and Evan Carnevale


Engineering Prototyping Competition

The Prototyping Competition took place December 4rd, from 6-9pm in the Saab ETIC Atrium on North Campus.The final judges were Laura Deming, the Senior Vice President of Engineering at Columbia Tech, Marianne Downing, who is of Counsel with Daly, Crowley, Mofford and Durkee, LLP, Mike Fahey, the Acting CEO of Sensi, Rick Spitz, a technology entrepreneur, and Jack Wilson, President Emeritus of the University of Massachusetts System and University Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation. The event was introduced by Professor Steven Tello, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, and led by the Engineering Department’s Dean, Joseph Hartman.

The Honorable Mention of $250 went to “May Day”, a sexual assault prevention solution. Team Members: Cibhi SelVen and Alessandro Simone Agnello.



The Third Place Award of $500 went to “Prototooth”, an affordable denture product. Team Members: Casey McRae and Cormac Hondros-McCarthy.


The Second Place Award  of $750 and Fan Favorite went to “Kender Armour”
, a durable and affordable sportswear material. Team Members: Stephen Kender, Laura Kender and Elizabeth Kender.


The First Place Award of $1,000 went to a Hydraulic Walker
, which allows people who use walkers to easily go up and down stairs and be more mobile at an affordable price. Team Members: Peter Klausmeyer and Ryan Andrews.


Lowell & Lawrence Celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014

From November 17th to 23rd, over 140 countries around the world will celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014. Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll), UMass Lowell DifferenceMaker, the City of Lawrence, the City of Lowell, and the Northeast Legal Aid are partnering together to join in this worldwide celebration by holding three free events:

Monday, November 17th | “Legal Issues for Small Businesses”

This workshop (held in Spanish) will help you learn about the laws that you will need to comply with in order to maintain your business

Location: Lawrence Public Library. 51 Lawrence Street—Lawrence, MA

Tuesday, November 18th | “Intellectual Property Protection Workshop”

Learn tips on how you can protect your venture’s idea.

Location: UMass Lowell. 31 University Avenue. Kitson Hall #308 –Lowell, MA

Thursday, November 20th: 6pm-8pm | “How Failure Led to My Success”

A panel of successful entrepreneurs will talk about their failures and how it helped them succeed later in their careers.


  • George Peters – Co-Founder of the Kettle Pizza (sold in over 50 countries)
  • Glenn Morgan – Founder of SkyWorld Interactive
  • Tom O’Donnell – Visiting Faculty Member – UMass Lowell Manning School of Business (moderator)
  • More Panelists TBA!

 Location: EforAll Office. Wannalancit Mills. 175 Cabot Street, Suite 100—Lowell, MA

Learn more here!




Registration Deadlines Nearing for Fall Competitions

Student Entrepreneurs, Inventors & DifferenceMakers! Don’t miss the registration deadlines for three exciting College–based Innovation Competitions underway this fall! Below are the Competitions:

Digital Federal Credit Union Innovation Contest | Sponsored in collaboration with the Manning School of Business and DifferenceMaker – top prize of $500 per team member (register by Oct. 24).

Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition | $1,000 first place team award (register by Oct. 24).

Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Creative Venture Competition | $5,000 first place team award (register by Oct. 31).

Application and registration details for each competition are available on the DifferenceMaker College Competitions page. If you have questions please contact, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @DifferenceMakerUML. Also, feel free to stop by DifferenceMaker Central at Lydon Library on North Campus (next to Starbucks).

Entrepreneurial Speaker Series: Tech Start-ups

Last night, DifferenceMaker kicked off its Entrepreneurial Speaker Series. The topic for discussion was Tech Start-ups. Steven Tello, the Associate Vice Chancellor of Entrepreneurship & Economic Development and founder of the DifferenceMaker Program introduced the event. Following his introduction, Steven Geyster, Vice President of ESTECH,and Daniel Sullivan, Faculty of College of Engineering, spoke about the challenges and lessons of being involved in tech start ups.


Above is a photo of the speakers, Steven Geyster (left) and Professor Daniel Sullivan (right).

Geyster said that there are four “keys to success” for starting a new business, as listed below.

1)   Protect Your Work: In order to make sure that you aren’t building a business based on something that is already invented, and to make sure that no one can copy your work, you need to research patents and find a way to protect your invention/s. Entrepreneurs can protect their work and intellectual property through Trademark Protection, Patent Protection, and/or Trade Secrets.

2)   Build a Team & Network: Building a team and network is crucial. Geyster credits much of success to networking at events and in his daily life. Also, a crucial part of building a team, Geyster emphasized, is seeking help from a financial advisor that has experience and has some “skin in the game”.

3)   Plan & Plan Some More: Geyster says that as a rule of thumb, everything takes twice as long as you expect, and costs three times more than you initially estimated. He also says that if you want to meet your goals and expectations, you need to have a plan to direct you. Finally, he suggests that entrepreneurs learn practical skills such as accounting, project management, and quality management to help them reach their goals.

4)   Have a Customer Focus: You may have a good idea, but do you know who will pay money for it? Geyster emphasized that getting feedback from as many people as possible is important to improving your product before officially putting it on the market. He also mentioned that ease of use is vital. It doesn’t matter how great your product is; if customers cannot use it easily, they won’t continue to use or purchase it.

Professor Daniel Sullivan concluded the evening by saying that it takes more than just a good product to succeed as an entrepreneur. He told the audience that you need everything from a set of morals and beliefs for your company, to brand development and knowledge of your market.


Above is a photo of engineering students who attended the event.

To see photos from the event, and to stay in tune with future DifferenceMaker events, connect with us via email at differencemaker@uml.eduFacebookTwitter, or Instagram @differencemakeruml.

Press Release | Entrepreneurship Month Kicks off at UMass Lowell

DifferenceMaker Program awards startup funds to students for best new ideas

October is Entrepreneurship Month at UMass Lowell, when students will learn entrepreneurial skills from business professionals, faculty mentors and alumni and put their ideas to the test in a variety of competitions.

Students will be introduced to the DifferenceMaker Program at an event on Thursday, Oct. 9 at 6 p.m. Now in its third year, the initiative challenges them to work in teams to develop a product or service that answers a real-world need in business or the community. Teams then pitch their ideas to expert judges, vying for seed money for their ventures. Last year, 70 teams participated in these contests.

Event speakers are expected to include Glenn Morgan ’86, co-owner of SkyWorld Interactive; David Araujo, vice president of Information Systems for DCU; the program’s founder, Steven Tello, UMass Lowell’s associate vice chancellor for entrepreneurship and economic development; and student winners of previous DifferenceMaker competitions. The event will be held in the Perry Atrium of the university’s Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center on North Campus at 40 University Ave., Lowell.

In the coming weeks, teams will gain inspiration from the DifferenceMaker Entrepreneurial Speaker Series, which will explore a variety of topics from intellectual property to venture funding. It will begin on Thursday, Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. with a session on how to launch startups in engineering fields.

Beginning this month, student teams may enter one of three semester-long competitions that align with their interests. The final rounds of these contests will be held in December. They are:

  • The DCU Innovation Contest, for students who have developed innovative ideas in banking and finance. Last year’s winners took home $1,500 for their idea to develop a hybrid credit and debit card that allows users to build credit without banks assuming risk. The contest is presented by UMass Lowell’s Manning School of Business and DCU.
  • The Creative Venture Competition, for students who have developed products, programs or business ventures that provide a social service. Last year, the contest awarded $2,500 to the student whose idea for a web platform called DreamLink. The contest is presented by UMass Lowell’s College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • The UMass Lowell Francis College of Engineering Prototyping Competition, a new contest this year that seeks the best prototypes for electrical and mechanical devices, software applications or integrated systems.

In December, students will also have a chance to enter the 2015 DifferenceMaker $35,000 Idea Challenge, which will award cash prizes for winning ideas in a variety of categories during the spring semester.



Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or

Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or

Season Kickoff | October 9, 2014


October is Entrepreneurship Month at UMass Lowell & the DifferenceMaker Program is celebrating with our Season Kickoff Event! We invite current DifferenceMakers, prospective students, friends, alumni, faculty, and staff to join us on October 9th at the Saab Emerging Technology and Innovation Center on North Campus from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Below is a list of activities that will take place during the event.

  • Student teams will showcase their posters
  • Networking will take place between students, alumni, faculty and staff
  • The UMass Lowell Mentor Program will be launched
  • Three college competitions (Manning School of Business, Francis College of Engineering and Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences) will be announced
  • Winning DifferenceMaker student teams; Nonspec, Bright Future Generation, and Support our Students, will discuss their successes since winning funding from the 2013 and 2014 Idea Challenge events
  • Refreshments will be served
  • And MUCH more!

We look forward to seeing YOU there! For more information, connect with us via email at, FacebookTwitter, or Instagram @differencemakeruml.

Young Professionals of Greater Lowell | Chester Elton

“How can I get my people to be just as passionate as I am?” If every manager actively tried to think this way, the world would be a much different place. Chester Elton, a motivational speaker and author, writes and speaks about how to promote a strong and positive culture in the workplace through thought processes like this one.

DifferenceMaker LLC students were fortunate enough to attend last night’s Young Professionals of Lowell event that featured Elton as the keynote speaker. Elton inspired students and other audience members by engaging them with interactive prompts and questions with rewards such as carrot stuffed animals, wristbands, and a copy of his new book, All In. Elton explained to the crowd how being active in creating a thoughtful, positive, and fun environment in the workplace can make a difference to the overall happiness and productivity of employees.

The most inspiring aspect of Elton’s presentation was how clear it was that he applies these theories and beliefs toward his own life. Upon doing so, Elton’s success in his professional and personal life is due largely to his positive mental attitude and the supportive culture he creates amongst himself and his network of friends, family, coworkers, etc. He is living proof that attitude toward yourself and those around you truly makes a difference in quality of life, the culture of the workplace, and the likelihood of reaching goals and maintaining success.


Here, Elton posed with DifferenceMaker LLC students, MSB LLC students, and Honors LLC students at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium.

To see photos from the event, and to stay in tune with future DifferenceMaker events, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @DifferenceMakerUML.

DifferenceMaker LLC Event | September 24, 2014


Last night the second DifferenceMaker LLC event was held on the third floor of Fox Hall. DifferenceMaker LLC students, faculty, and team, Hive, met to discuss how to get involved in the Program, and the benefits of doing so.

Hive, previously named Notoja, was the team that presented at the event. The team created a school enrichment collaboration application, which provides modules for student note-taking, book trading, and discussion groups. They won second place in Innovative Technology at the 2013 Idea Challenge.

Hive presented their pitch to the LLC students and explained how the DifferenceMaker Program has helped them reach their goals as entrepreneurs. They then left room for questions and discussion. Many of the questions that followed were from the LLC students who were wondering how challenging being a DifferenceMaker is. They asked about time commitment, idea generation, team building, and potential for success.

Overall, both Hive and the LLC students benefited from the evening through networking and the in depth discussion of the Program.

Tonight is the next DifferenceMaker LLC event at the 9th Annual Business Leadership Forum hosted by the Young Professionals of Greater Lowell. The event will take place at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium from 5:30 to 8:00pm. The keynote speaker for the event is Chester Elton who is an author, motivational speaker, trainer, and employee engagement expert. To learn more about the event contact Project Manager, Ha Pho at or connect with us through social media, as listed below.

To see photos from the event, and to stay in tune with future DifferenceMaker events, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram @DifferenceMakerUML.