Accolades: UVA Community Well-Represented at Local Innovation Awards Gala

May 24, 2017


Several University of Virginia-related people and entities were honored at the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council’s annual CBIC Gala, held May 18 at the Boar’s Head Inn. The non-profit council, founded in 1997, has as its mission “to educate, celebrate and advocate for Charlottesville’s technology community and to accelerate technology innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.” Read More...


Class of 2017: Artist, Entrepreneur Finds New Life After Emigrating From Iran

May 18, 2017

Golara Haghtalab moved to Charlottesville from Iran five years ago. Here she wears the traditional Turkmen dress donned for special occasions in her hometown in the northern region of Iran. (Photos by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Golara Haghtalab was 21 and in her final year of architecture school in Iran when her family decided to move to the United States, ultimately settling in Charlottesville. Five years later, the 26-year-old is on the cusp of graduating from the University of Virginia, where she transferred after two years at Piedmont Virginia Community College, re-accumulating the class credits that did not transfer from Iran. Read More...


Reddit Co-Founder Ohanian Talks Tech Entrepreneurship and Life in the Spotlight

May 5, 2017

Ohanian is a 2005 graduate of the University and the co-founder of the successful website Reddit.

It’s been a busy few years for Reddit co-founder and University of Virginia alumnus Alexis Ohanian. The tech entrepreneur was dubbed “Mayor of the Internet” for his outspoken defense of the open internet in 2015, rejoined Reddit full-time that same year and, in 2016, further expanded his seed-stage venture capital fund, Initialized Capital.

Ohanian is making headlines again in 2017 on several fronts. As renewed debate begins over net neutrality – the principle that internet service providers should have to enable equal access to all content, regardless of the source – he’s using his raised profile to continue the fight to preserve the open internet. He’s also joining the growing number of young tech entrepreneurs who are learning to balance their public work lives with their growing families. Ohanian and his fiancée, tennis star Serena Williams, recently announced the impending arrival of their first child later this year. Read More...

Student Start-Up Shrinks Degrees of Separation Between Celebrities and Fans

April 20, 2017

Sam Boochever, left, and Maximillian Huc are second-year Darden students and cofounders of the celebrity connection app 1Degree. (Photos by Dan Addison, University Communications)

On what started as a quiet day of classes in 2016, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business hosted a rare collision of worlds – a meeting of MBA students and ABC’s “The Bachelorette.”

The surprise discussion between “Bachelorette” runner-up contestant Robby Hayes and student fans of the show was made possible by 1Degree, a new social media app founded by second-year Darden MBA candidates Maximillian Huc and Sam Boochever. “This was right after the show was ending, so Robby was really famous in the moment. He had just downloaded our app and was creating an auction to test it out,” Boochever said.

Huc and Boochever credit the Darden School and the UVA iLab with helping them make connections and build their platform. Read More...

Richmond-Area Student Leader Wins UVA’s Coveted Sky Alland Scholarship

April 14, 2017

C. Malcolm Stewart of Midlothian will have his tuition and fees covered as he serves as senior resident adviser on the Lawn during the 2017-18 academic year. (UVA Alumni Association photo)

C. . Malcolm Stewart, a student leader inside and outside the classroom, has won the University of Virginia’s Sky Alland Scholarship.

Stewart, from Midlothian, rose to the top of a multistep selection process that uses criteria of leadership, achievement, enterprising spirit, humility and devotion to the University to recognize a rising fourth-year student who embodies “a can-do attitude and bias for action.” The award will cover his full tuition and fees for the next academic year, plus a stipend.

Stewart, a student in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, is majoring in public policy with a minor in social entrepreneurship. He’s a fellow in UVA’s Meriwether Lewis Institute for Citizen Leadership. Read More...

’Hoos Take a Leading Role in the Sixth Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival

April 5, 2017

Downtown Charlottesville becomes a hub of activity throughout the week of Tom Tom. (Photo by Tom Daly)

The sixth annual Tom Tom Founders Festival, expected to draw its largest crowd yet – nearly 40,000 people over the course of seven days – kicks off Monday. This burgeoning tradition has become a staple of Charlottesville and the University of Virginia’s spring calendar, bringing the community and hundreds of visitors together to celebrate art, entrepreneurship, education and local cuisine.

“Each year, Tom Tom partners with UVA departments, business initiatives and student organizations,” festival director Paul Beyer said. “Dozens of faculty will be speaking at the festival this year, and hundreds of students will be engaged as volunteers, pitch participants and speakers. UVA is a major force in Charlottesville culturally, intellectually and economically, and Tom Tom is a major showcase of UVA’s impact in the community.” Read More...

Student Entrepreneurs Take on Health Care’s Biggest Headache: Communication

April 4, 2017

Third-year University of Virginia student Kamran Pirasteh was immediately intrigued by Slack, the instant messaging software that became one of the world’s fastest-growing startups just three years after its 2014 launch.

Specifically, Pirasteh was interested in applying similar technology to the health care industry, where most hospitals still rely on pagers and landline phones to share information among doctors, nurses and technicians. Innovation in that industry – with its immense scale, privacy requirements and tremendous social impact – is a high-risk, high-reward proposition.

“I was looking for industries where a really efficient platform could make a difference, and health care is one of those industries,” the McIntire School of Commerce student said. “So many student entrepreneurs focus on consumer-facing businesses, and while those can be great, they’re going to have the same kind of impact that health care can have.”

The U.S. Needs More Affordable Housing. This Alumnus Is Leading The Way

March 17, 2017

This year, University of Virginia alumnus Jason Bordainick’s company, Hudson Valley Property Group, has rescued more than 2,500 affordable housing units from the chopping block and made them more livable and sustainable than ever, while still remaining affordable to the current tenants.

Affordable housing is a growing problem in the United States. One recent report from U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, found that a dramatic increase in renters, a 13 percent decline in existing affordable housing units and stagnant wage growth have caused the demand for affordable housing to outstrip supply. Read More...

How To [Spring] Break Into The Tech Industry

March 16, 2017

UVA students visited Instagram as part of their spring break tour of technology companies in Silicon Valley. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Wright)

Twenty-five University of Virginia students spent their spring breaks visiting alumni and employees at some of the world’s most influential technology companies.

McIntire School of Commerce associate professor Ryan Wright took 12 students to San Francisco to visit 15 companies, including tech giants like Google, Pixar, IBM, Facebook, Instagram and Accenture, as well as startups like Airbnb, Hotel Tonight and Expensify.

“I wanted to expose students to different ways of thinking about their careers in technology companies and technology startups,” Wright said. “We saw a lot of startups that UVA alumni are involved with in the Bay Area, and even one – Virta Health – that officially launched the day after our visit.”

Meanwhile, in London and Dublin, associate commerce professor Nicole Montgomery took 13 students to the international offices of some of the same companies, as part of the Commerce School’s Global Commerce Immersion program. Read More...

UVA Innovator of the Year Teaches the Civic Duties of Science

March 15, 2017

Brooks Pate, right, works to pass on a sense of civic duty to the next generation of scientists. (Photos by Dan Addison, University Communications)

Although he’s earned many titles and honors for his advancements in molecular research, Brooks Pate sees himself first as a citizen-scientist. The University of Virginia’s William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Chemistry is committed to conducting basic research for the public good.

Pate and his research team are most known for developing a new method for rapid molecular analysis called “chirped pulse Fourier transform molecular rotational resonance.” It shortened the standard time for molecular analysis from days or weeks to mere minutes. This analytical ability is opening new doors in everything from pharmaceutical research to the study of interstellar matter.

After its creation, Pate worked with the UVA Licensing & Ventures Group to license the technique to the Charlottesville start-up BrightSpec, which began developing it for wider commercial use.

In recognition of this work and his commitment to research for public benefit, the Licensing & Ventures Group named Pate the 2017 Edlich-Henderson Innovator of the Year. Read More...