Innovation & Entrepreneurship with Denver

Segment #1 from University of Portland


Let’s meet Denver, a UP senior who puts learning into action to help others. That’s an essential part of student education at UP, where internships, practicums, and service work are built into the curriculum. Inspired by that, Denver harnessed support from faculty, staff, and fellow students to build a hydroponic farm right here on campus. Tell us more, Denver.

– Thanks Alex, as a kid, I spent a lot of time attending sporting events at UP and the camaraderie I experienced on campus left a big impression. So when I started looking at colleges, I knew that the University of Portland was the right fit for me. UP really encourages you to explore your interests and test your ideas with full support from faculty and staff. Take me for example, even though I’m studying computer science, I wanted to do something about food insecurity, so I built a hydroponic garden to grow food indoors. My next challenge was to scale it up for large populations, I proposed building a hydroponic farm with an automatic harvesting system as a capstone project. UP agreed and even let me build it right in the basement of our Shiley Hall, our engineering building on campus. I received awards from the Pilot Venture Challenge and grants from the city of Portland, that allowed me to turn my idea into a 501 nonprofit. Not only have I grown food for those who need it, I’ve also built an organization that supports another capstone team as an industry sponsor. This kind of hands-on experience is such a big part of UP, more than 80% of students participate in experiential learning opportunities, and our new Shiley-Marcos Center for Design & Innovation offers more than 45,000 square feet of maker spaces, labs and studios. Students from all majors can design, build and test their ideas together, under one roof. Since every project in the Shiley School of Engineering is paired with an industry advisor, I’ve been able to gain real world experience and build my professional network at the same time. My career is still undecided, but I know that UP has given me the tools I need to succeed no matter where I go next. Back to you Alex.

– Denver, what you’ve accomplished as an undergrad is absolutely incredible. Thanks for showing us how UP supports students in their drive to make positive change in the world. Engineering for impact is the Shiley School of Engineering’s motto and you’ve clearly taken that to heart. Thanks again for sharing.

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