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

Yay!

(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 (www.ideafoundry.org) 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 http://www.scholarhero.com or fill out the contact form below:

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

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The Reinvention of Pittsburgh

Looking down at Pittsburgh from a Mt. Washington, it’s difficult to imagine it as the city of steel and smoke it used to be.

The Pittsburgh of today. (Photo Source: ctj71081 http://www.flickr.com/photos/55267995@N04/)

The Pittsburgh of today. (Photo Source: ctj71081 http://www.flickr.com/photos/55267995@N04/)

For over one hundred years, Pittsburgh was a mecca of industry: the primary provider of metal supplies throughout the nation. In that time, Pittsburgh became known for its diverse workforce, high culture, soot-filled sunless skies, and urban revitalization. The one constant that supported all of this was steel—and then the industry collapsed.

A steel mill long out of operation. (Photo Source: Melissa Dooley http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkdooley/)

A steel mill long out of operation. (Photo Source: Melissa Dooley http://www.flickr.com/photos/mkdooley/)

Not a single steel mill operates in Pittsburgh today, but the city continues to thrive as heavy industry has been replaced by medicine, technology and education.

UPMC East. (Photo Source: daveynin http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveynin/)

UPMC East. (Photo Source: daveynin http://www.flickr.com/photos/daveynin/)

The hospitals of Pittsburgh are the city’s largest employers, and The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) is one of the leading health care providers in the nation.

Google makes a new home in an old landmark. (Photo Source: kezee http://www.flickr.com/photos/kezee/)

Google makes a new home in an old landmark. (Photo Source: kezee http://www.flickr.com/photos/kezee/)

There are over 1,600 technology companies based in Pittsburgh. One of the most notable near-ubiquitous Pittsburgh branch of Google, which takes up residency in an old Nabisco cookie factory not too far from Scholar Hero’s own offices.

 

Duquesne University. (Photo Source: Ronald Woan http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwoan/)

Duquesne University. (Photo Source: Ronald Woan http://www.flickr.com/photos/rwoan/)

Pittsburgh is home to some of the most accredited universities in the country: The University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duquesne University, among many others—demonstrating that this city once built on brawn now uses its brain to ascend to new heights.

Pittsburgh is one of the most remarkable examples of urban reinvention. Innovative corporations occupy historical buildings, and established universities push progressive healthcare and technology programs. Pittsburgh is the best example of an old dog with new tricks, and it continues to change itself through diversity, adaptation, and improvement.

Sources:

http://www.changinggears.info/2010/11/15/changing-gears-presents-reinventing-pittsburgh-part-1/

http://www.businessinsider.com/google-pittsburgh-office-2011-2?op=1

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Pittsburgh#Reinvention_.281973.E2.80.93present.29

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Where “U” Rank: World’s Top 100 Universities of 2013

How prestigious is your university? Times Higher Education recently released this year’s reputation rankings for colleges across the globe. The meticulous methodology for their survey (found here: http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2012/reputation-ranking/methodology) leaves little in the way of surprises, although some universities should be pleased at the changes from previous years.  Here are some highlights:

The first three positions on the list remain unchanged since 2011 with Harvard University as number one and MIT and Cambridge to follow, but Oxford moves up two ranks from last year to round out the top four.

Rank Number One: Harvard (Photo Source: Patricia Drury http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciadrury/)

Rank One: Harvard (Photo Source: Patricia Drury http://www.flickr.com/photos/patriciadrury/)

The United Kingdom occupies two positions in the top ten while The United States takes up an outstanding seven. The University of Tokyo, coming in at rank nine is the only one in the top twenty.

Rank Nine: The University of Tokyo (Photo Source: Hideyuki KAMON http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyougushi/)

Rank Nine: The University of Tokyo (Photo Source: Hideyuki KAMON http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyougushi/)

In Scholar Hero’s own backyard are Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, who both managed to remain in the top 100. Carnegie Mellon jumped an impressive eleven positions from last year to achieve thirty-seventh. However, Pitt continues to fall in the rankings, going from the sixties to the seventies.

A view of CMU with Pitt's Cathedral of Learning in the background. (Photo Source: Filipe Fortes http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortes/)

A view of CMU with Pitt’s Cathedral of Learning in the background. (Photo Source: Filipe Fortes http://www.flickr.com/photos/fortes/)

You can read more about the data and see all of the rankings here: http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/mar/05/world-top-100-universities-reputation-rankings-times-higher-education

Let us know where your university ranks.

 Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.

Why I Became A Scholar Hero: An Anecdote from Nathan Repp

When asked to introduce myself, I wondered what I should say:

  • I’m excited to be enlisted by an outstanding startup.

  • I’m an English graduate from the University of Pittsburgh.

  • My favorite band is someone you’ve totally never heard of, or

  • I sometimes cry during the third act of The Last Samurai.

While all of that is true (except the last one…), it says little about me or how I fit into Scholar Hero’s mission. The best thing to do is to provide an anecdote that first sparked my interest in changing academia:

The English Room at The University of Pittsburgh. (Photo Source: iris http://www.flickr.com/photos/irisphotos/)

The English Room at The University of Pittsburgh. (Photo Source: iris http://www.flickr.com/photos/irisphotos/)

As an English major, sharing work was an absolute necessity. When peer review was a course requirement, the method of distribution and response was archaic: e-mailing, printing, and physical circulation. Good responses were valuable but limited by the size of the class and the number of assignments.

For all of my other pursuits, there were few collaborative options, such as workshops for my other classes, and a commuting student like myself struggled to attend everything.

A common view for a commuter at Pitt. (Photo Source: Desiree Williams http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddhakiwi/)

A common view for a commuter at Pitt. (Photo Source: Desiree Williams http://www.flickr.com/photos/buddhakiwi/)

Since then, I’ve found circles to share my work, but after a year out of the university, I often get the impression that it’s “me vs. world.”  If any environment should have accessible support for scholarly pursuits, it’s academia.

Am I alone in my sentiments? Please share your own academic experiences in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero. The views and opinions expressed of this particular blog belong solely to those of the author and not of Scholar Hero, Inc.

A Pillar of Education: The University of Pittsburgh Cathedral of Learning

How many feet does it take to inspire a city? John Gabbert Bowman (chancellor at the University of Pittsburgh from 1921 to 1945) had the answer to that question when he commissioned the construction of The Cathedral of Learning. The awe-inducing building that soars over the Pitt campus was completed in 1937 and reaches 535 feet, making it the tallest educational building in the United States. Today, it stands as a testament to higher education but even during construction, it was an idea being built for students by students.

Nowhere to go but up. (Photo Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlwelsh/)

Nowhere to go but up. (Photo Source: jlwelsh http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlwelsh/)

The Cathedral of Learning was a practical solution to the space shortage problem produced by a tremendous swell of student enrollment just after the first World War. Although, such an ambitious answer did not go without its obstacle, primarily money concerns. In response, Pittsburgh proved its resilience: over 97,000 school children contributed their coins to the Cathedral’s construction through a “Buy a Brick” program.

A view from the inside. (Photo Source: Brian Donovan  http://www.flickr.com/photos/58621196@N05/)

A view from the inside. (Photo Source: Brian Donovan http://www.flickr.com/photos/58621196@N05/)

Beyond the towering neoclassical design, the Cathedral is home to the equally impressive nationality rooms. These meticulously designed classrooms represent the varied world cultures that come together at the University of Pittsburgh, all in the pursuit of academic achievement.

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The Austria Room (Photo Source: Brandon Shea http://www.flickr.com/photos/95269083@N00/)

Personally, during my time at the University of Pittsburgh, the heights of the Cathedral of Learning always seemed to make me stand a little taller and aim a little higher. Its presence carries with it a sense of pride and empowerment. It has to be seen to be felt, but fortunately for all Pittsburgh residents, all you need to do is look up.

A beacon of enlightenment. (Photo Source: dano272 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hpdpro/)

A beacon of enlightenment. (Photo Source: dano272 http://www.flickr.com/photos/hpdpro/)

Sources:

http://www.nationalityrooms.pitt.edu/about/cathedral-learning

http://www.phlf.org/2008/06/30/cathedral-of-learning-trumpets-education/

Nathan Repp is a writer for Scholar Hero, Inc.