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  • Writer's pictureBaker Institute Team

Student Spotlight: Emma Kwasnoski '20

As part of Emma's Independent Study with Baker, she designed the Design Thinking section of our website. Design Thinking is the foundation for how we teach entrepreneurship and we think she did a great job outlining the concepts and how they are put into practice.

Get to know Emma and learn what she is working on now!

Emma Kwasnoski '20

Major | IDEAS: Mechanical Engineering & Product Design

Minor | Entrepreneurship

Hometown | Newtown, PA

Baker Institute Involvement | Hatchery 2018, Independent Study

Are you currently working on a startup?

Yes! I’m leading a project called Take Back the Trail. I’m working with two other students, Jess Osgoodby and Cole Redfern, and our goal is to enable female runners to protect themselves from harassment and physical harm. As of right now, our product is essentially Waze for harassment. It’s an app in which female runners can report locations in which they are harassed, share this information in real-time with other users, and ultimately find a safer route.

What appeals to you about entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship is a way to solve problems that I’m passionate about. In Engineering and Product Design, I’m constantly solving problems, but I don’t really get to choose them. Also, entrepreneurship is empowering. The problem I’m attempting to solve with Take Back the Trail is one that I personally face. Rather than passively accepting it, I’m trying to come up with my own solution.

How has your entrepreneurship education affected your experience at Lehigh? You can’t be tentative and also be an entrepreneur. You have to really put yourself out there and essentially ask a bunch of strangers for help—to tell you about the problems they face, and to test out the solutions you’ve made. You also have to admit and embrace failure. We spent months completely immersed in this product idea, but once it became clear that we weren't truly solving the problem, we had to let go of all that work and start over. It pushes you to grow in a way that no other class can. 

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