Scholar Hero is accepted into the Idea Foundry’s Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program!


(from left) Technical Director Michael Butler, Founder and Executive Director Lee Ngo, and Idea Foundry Program Manager Gary Gardiner

Amazing news for Scholar Hero! On November 5th, 2013, we have accepted our invitation to join the Idea Foundry’s Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program! The Idea Foundry ( is one of Pittsburgh’s premiere technological and business startup accelerator programs in southwestern Pennsylvania. Their Entertainment & Ed Tech program is unparalleled in the region, and it is perfect for Scholar Hero’s current aspirations.

For Scholar Hero, this is a terrific milestone. This program provides the company with its first official investment, just nine months after its incorporation and barely a year after its initial conception during Startup Weekend Pittsburgh #2. The Idea Foundry also provides mentoring, advisement, and other standard resources that come with a prestigious, competitive accelerator. We haven’t been this excited since being selected as part of the inaugural class of the Thrill Mill Hustle Den incubator program!

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo pitching at Google Pittsburgh for the Thrill Mill Thrival Innovation series.

Scholar Hero founder Lee Ngo pitching at Google Pittsburgh during Thrill Mill’s Innovation Series.

Another great perk about the Idea Foundry is its close proximity to Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, schools with students, professors, and staff that we hope will be among the first early adopters of our platform. Testing and validating our product could not be made any easier for us now, and we hope that more established partnerships might emerge as well from the improved locations.

Moreover, because of our acceptance into the Entertainment & Ed Tech Accelerator Program, we are also being evaluated early for Idea Foundry’s highly competitive Core Program as well. Potentially, this puts us in a position to receive more funding! (One step at a time…)

The Scholar Hero Development Team hard at work on our first prototype.

The Scholar Hero Development Team hard at work on our first prototype.

“We are truly ecstatic and grateful to have the support of the Idea Foundry as we continue to develop our platform and build our potential user base,” says Lee Ngo, founder and executive director of Scholar Hero. “Program Manager Gary Gardiner and the Idea Foundry have provided us with wonderful feedback over the course of the year, and they have been a major influence in our overall conceptual, technical, and business development. We look forward to our continued partnership over the next three months and beyond.”

We hope that this is the first of many future successes to come! Our selection into this renowned accelerator program provides further validation for our unique and innovative concept, but now the pressure is on for us to deliver! We hope to do you proud, Idea Foundry!

To learn more about Scholar Hero, visit or fill out the contact form below:

Lee Ngo is the founder and executive director of Scholar Hero, Inc. All rights reserved.


The Mathematics of Music: Tool’s Lateralus

Music is equal parts art and mathematics; however, some bands take this relationship to an extremely fascinating depth. Tool’s 2001 album, Lateralus, deals heavily with metaphysical themes built upon mathematical structures, such as the Fibonacci Sequence.

The Fibonacci Sequence

        The Fibonacci Sequence is a numerical pattern in which each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers. As an equation, it is expressed as Fn=F(n-1)+F(n-2), and it looks like this: 0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13… It is a sequence that has become particularly interesting due to its recurring presence in computer programming, nature, and in this case, music.

Fibonacci Fractal. (Source: Anders Sandberg

The Golden Spiral

The titular track on Lateralus contains the most prevalent use of the Fibonacci Sequence. For one, it alternates between three unusual meters (9/8, 8/8, and 7/7) that together comprise the sixteenth number in the sequence (987).

More convincing is the vocal pattern of the lead singer during the first verse. The syllables in each line are sung as follows: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 5, 3, 2, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 8, 5, 3. These ascending and descending sequences tie thematically to the “spirals” mentioned later in the lyrics by mimicking “The Golden Spiral”—a special shape that expands infinitely by a constant factor and it is the very factor the Fibonacci sequence presents.

The Golden Spiral. (Source: Helen Stevens

“The Holy Gift”

        To go a step farther and incorporate the whole album into this theory, fans have rearranged the order of the tracks on the album into a similarly shaped sequence. The key to the order was placing track 13 in the middle and arranging the other tracks in additive pairs on either side. The songs  are said to match up with each other in a more sensible way, and makes for the “proper” order.

        Unconvinced? Here is a video, with song accompaniment, that makes a more in depth argument: 


Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Smart and Simple Last Minute Halloween Costumes

Did you forget about the faculty Halloween party? Are all of the last minute costumes too daft to even consider wearing? Well, here are five costumes that are as intelligent as they are easy.

(Almost) Superman

(Property of DC Comics.)

Everyone wants to be Superman. He is powerful, intelligent, and has an unwavering sense of justice. While you too may have these traits, you probably do not have the cape. Well, the sensitive, everyman of Clark Kent is here to save the day. Just unbutton your Oxford to reveal the Superman shirt you that were probably wearing anyway.

The Doctor

(Property of the BBC.)

If you know anything about The Doctor (or have read our previous post), you know that this time-traveling astronaut is the perfect choice for an intelligent costume. While he can be manic at times, his outfit conveys the intellect and deliberation within. It may be a bit traditional, but most people will have a jacket and bow tie laying around. The Fez is optional.

The Son Of Man

If you are really in a pinch, then it is time to grab your bowler hat and raid the lunchroom. The Son Of Man by Rene Magritte is a instantly recognizable image that will resonate with art experts and art amateurs alike. Getting the apple to float may be a bit tricky though.


(Property of FOX Broadcasting Company.)

With a B.S. in Physics and an M.D. from Stanford, this FBI agent was the stern and scientifically minded counterpart of Mulder on the X-Files. Despite being an excellent role model for women, Scully also makes a smart choice for Halloween costume. Pin a printed out FBI badge on to a simple, black suit and start looking for the truth that is out there.

The Invisible Man

Between Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Wolf Man, classic film has been a valuable source for costume ideas. However, one of the most overlooked also happens to be one of the easiest to achieve. A robe, a pair of sunglasses, and head’s worth of bandage is enough to achieve this iconic image. Of course, you could really become The Invisible Man and just not show up to the party at all.

What smart costume did you wear this Halloween? Let us know in the comments!

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

The Simple Essentials of Publishing

The process for academic publishing can appear frustrating and overwhelming, even for the most practiced scholar. It is tempting to get too caught up in the intricacies of research, publishers, and the peer community; however, focusing too much on the larger issues and forgetting the fundamentals can lead to a stressful and unproductive journey through the process.  The following basic tips can help when entering the rewarding world of publishing.

There is a place and a time for writing. Have a firm idea of where your workspace is and when you will be working there. It is important to pick a place and a time that will be reliably free of distraction. Keep it consistent from day to day.

Do not try to conquer the world all at once. You may be eager to start impacting minds, but it is often more fruitful to work in smaller, more productive sessions. Trying to get it all down at one time can over-tax your time and energy.

Keep it close until it’s done. It is tempting to share your work with others to make certain that you are on the right track. The input of others, at this stage, could blur your original intent and negative feedback can convince you that your concept is overdone and not worth pursuing. Remember, this is your work and what you create will always be original.

Open up and share. When your draft is complete, bring in as many trusted peers as you can round up. Not all of their advice will be helpful, but be receptive to it. Ask them to be as descriptive in their feedback as they can, and notice trends between critiques.

Rewrite until you get it right. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Get feedback the entire way.

Know your publishers before they get to know you. Research the journals or publishing houses that you intend to send your manuscript to. Recognize what subjects they tend to print and verify that they are the right ones for your work. If you are unsure, e-mail the editor. Don’t waste time and resources sending to publishers who have no interest in your particular piece.

Don’t give up. Scholars, especially those new to publishing, will face a lot rejection. It is important to see each one as another stepping-stone towards an eventual success. Keep writing and rewriting. Keep submitting.

Good luck to academic authors! Let us know of your publishing experiences in the comments below.

Dishonesty in Higher Education: A Look at Cheating

The integrity of a university education is something that should be celebrated. Unfortunately cheating does happen, even at the most prestigious of institutions. A recent survey reveals an increase in exam cheating and homework dishonesty among students at Harvard University. These results are particularly disconcerting, as they come in the wake of a 2012 cheating scandal at the very same university that saw dozens of students guilty of exchanging exam answers. The reaction from the school administration has been to institute new anti-cheating policies, while reactions from the public have varied between shock, dismay, and cynicism. However, the fundamental issue is not being addressed: why are students cheating?

Knowing the reason that students cheat, and being able to address it, could very well be the most effective way to ensure that students succeed with honesty. Here are a few symptoms of the cheating mentality:

·      Pressure to excel

·      Heavy course load

·      Time constraints

·      Unsupportive professor

·      Lack of motivation

While solving a trend of cheating is far from simple, the reasons behind it are understandable and approachable.

One approach is to deter students’ need to use each other for answers by giving them the means to rely on each other for support. Students need a reliable system that can work on their own schedule. The internet and mobile technology seem to be the best means to ensure that students have infinite and easy access to networks in which they can share their course work, give each others feedback, and connect without adding additional pressure to their lives. Cheating can never be condoned, but technology’s helpful, easy answer could prevent pressured students from looking for easy answers of their own.

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

From Prague To Pittsburgh: An International Writer’s Festival

Between The University of Pittsburgh’s Contemporary Writers Series and the Pittsburgh Speakers Series, there is a veritable treasure trove of intellect and wit available to both academics and enthusiasts alike in Pittsburgh this autumn. One event is of particular significance: the Prague Writers’ Festival, organized for the first time outside of the Czech Republic.

Michael March established the Prague Writers’ Festival to allow European authors to inspire and create within a literary refuge. Today, this not-for-profit organization uses its donations to unite writers who speak towards internationally important themes.

Michael March (Photo Source:

Of all places, why is the festival in Pittsburgh? Our city is actually the location of the signing of the Pittsburgh Agreement, which led to the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. This particular festival commemorates the 95th anniversary of that historic national event.

Prague, a writers haven. (Photo Source: Letizia Barbi

The theme this year is the “Pursuit of Happiness” and a nation’s role in ensuring it. Point Park University will host the event. For more information, visit:

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Should College Campuses Ban Mobile Technologies?

Should college campuses ban mobile technologies?

Remember what universities used to be like before the onslaught of personal technology in every classroom? Wyoming Catholic College does, and they are eager to bring their university back to a simpler time. Students are now required to turn in their cell phones to student leaders at the beginning of the semester. Students may access their phone for emergencies, and their phone is returned to them when they leave campus.

In addition, television and most websites are not permitted in WCC residence halls. Many students have been surprisingly amenable to these policies, claiming that the create a culture of “true friendship, true virtue, true study.” All of this is done in the name of improving academic success, but is it an efficacious strategy?

Many studies do show that limiting mobile technology in the education domain has a positive effect. Cell phone addiction, after all, is a near universal phenomenon, with many alarming trends:

  • 30% of people admit to check their phones while dining with someone else.

  • 40% check their phones on the toilet.

  • 24% admit to checking their phones while driving.

  • 9% check their phones during a religious service at a house of worship

  • 54% check their phones “while lying in bed” — in the middle of the night, before going to bed, or as soon as they wake up.

On the other hand, implementing this policy at every university campus might be far more difficult. A study published in the Journal of Behavioral Addiction claimed that cell phone users undergo withdrawal symptoms on par with being separated from a romantic lover. Moreover, social activities are not the sole purpose of mobile technologies, and many use them for professional, artistic, educational, and other beneficial purposes.

We at Scholar Hero argue that the problem is not the technology itself; it’s the way that the technology is used. There are far too many apps and widgets for distracting, frivolous activities and not nearly enough for constructive ones. For this reason, our development team is driven to add more clarity and purpose to the IT sector before more campuses take away the means of access to our services.

What do you think? Is it better to change the technology or simply remove it altgether?