During the business skills and innovation summer program MiddCORE, Margaret Santinelli ’18 worked with top business leaders, college educators and fellow entrepreneurial-minded students to develop creative solutions for real-world companies as well as their own “innovation ideas.”
Organized by Middlebury College and hosted at Sierra Nevada College, the four-week program centered on collaboration. Students were grouped with each other and with featured mentors — including Jim Douglas (former Vermont governor), Marc Randolph (founder of Netflix) and Elise and Rick Wetzel (founders of Wetzel Pretzel and Blaze Pizza) — to develop skills in finance, networking, and persuasive and visual communication.
“MiddCORE was by far one of the most fulfilling programs I have ever been a part of,” Santinelli says. “The unique teaching style allowed me to focus on my creative thinking and explore new ideas I didn’t know I had.”
Santinelli’s innovation idea, which she presented the final week of the program, earned the MiddCORE Exquisite Design Award. With CollegeSitterMatch.com, Santinelli plans to connect college students interested in babysitting with faculty who have children. During the program, she surveyed administrators and professors with young children, drafted a financial plan and built a prototype website, which she hopes to implement at HWS.
Outside of the intensive, 40-plus hour per week schedule, Santinelli and the other participants reflected on their work in the scenic Lake Tahoe area, with opportunities “to explore, take many sunrise and sunset hikes up beautiful mountains, boat and jet ski on the lake, and relax on beaches like Emerald Bay,” she says.
An environmental studies major and education minor, Santinelli was community manager of HWS Spoon University, an online publication that features articles about food and well-being. She will study abroad in Galway, Ireland this fall, and has been named an EcoRep for the spring 2017 semester.
In the photo above, Margaret Santinelli ’18 (center) works with fellow participants in the MiddCORE program.