Category Archives: Mission and Purpose

Cal State Fullerton Teaches Kids STEM and Entrepreneurship

STEM Entrepreneurship Awards CeremonyOne of the big keys to success for entrepreneurs is putting together strong teams and that is what the Center for Entrepreneurship, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, and the College of Education did with a recently concluded STEM grant.

Together, these three Cal State Fullerton Colleges won a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation to teach entrepreneurship and STEM to local middle school students. For the last three years, these Colleges collaborated on the creation and implementation of an innovative after school curriculum for disadvantaged middle school students. The mission was to provide these students with lessons in STEM and entrepreneurship so that they will have the skills that will help them tackle the challenges of our interconnected and increasingly technical world.

Center for Entrepreneurship Director John Bradley Jackson summed up his team’s mission as a way to “increase awareness and encourage interest in entrepreneurship and STEM as a choice of education but potentially also as a career for these students. Our goal was to make STEM cool by gamifying the experience with Entrepreneurship”.

“The fact that we three Colleges are collaborating is very significant,” states Director Jackson. Bringing together people from different disciplines is the best way to achieve success. Entrepreneurial members of the CSUF team helped teach the kids lessons in how to develop a business concept, test its feasibility, and how to bring their innovations to market. The engineering team members taught the students lessons on engineering and how to code. And members from the College of Education synthesized these lessons into a framework that was accessible for these young students.

The CSUF team was represented by Program Leader Dr. Jidong Huang and Dr. Pradeep Nair from the College of Engineering and Computer Science along with Dr. Amy Cox-Petersen and Professor Kim Case from the College of Education. Professor Jackson represented Mihaylo College of Business and Economics. Additionally, numerous CSUF student mentors coached the middle school students in the after school classroom.

The $1 million grant is the second largest grant won in Mihaylo College’s history and was used to fund the mentors, faculty, and materials needed to maintain the after school program.

After three years of running this program the CSUF faculty and student mentors, the middle school students, and middle school teachers who participated in this program celebrated their accomplishments at their annual showcase. Participating middle school students presented their solutions and inventions using a poster-style format to showcase what they have learned to the hundreds of people in attendance, including Mihaylo College Interim Dean Morteza Rahmatian and College of Engineering and Computer Science Interim Dean Susamma “Susan” Barua.

“The parents are just super enthusiastic. Here’s a chance for their kids to get introduced to entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, and math and take a possible interest in getting more education for their career,” said Director Jackson.

Working with these students was a joy for Director Jackson and the CSUF team and they are confident that once the studies about their program’s efficacy have concluded later this summer they will find that thanks to their STEM Inc. program participating students will be shown to have a greater appreciation and fluency with entrepreneurial and STEM concepts. This is a big thing because these skills are absolutely necessary for their success.

Building on these early successes, the goal is for the participating middle schools to continue to run the program and help enrich the lives of students for many years to come.

This article was written by Traci Muldoon


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:

An Actor and an Entrepreneur – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story Ryan David Tsang ’13

Ryan David Tsang '13 - CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

Ryan David Tsang ’13 – CSUF Entrepreneurship Success Story

When deciding to create a business, an entrepreneurial student must first examine the market in order to see if their idea is feasible. By comparing their idea to others and seeing how they can make an impact in the market, students begin to understand how much work will be needed in order to make their future business a success.

However, for the students who choose to press forward by adapting to the challenges they often end up far more successful than they could have imagined. For Cal State Fullerton alumni and entrepreneur Ryan David Tsang, his journey as a business owner has led him to flourish not only in the world of entrepreneurs but also in that of film and television.

While originally an entrepreneur major, Ryan took a break during his sophomore and junior years of college to explore the world of film and television. Working in the field enabled Ryan to hone his craft as an actor and eventually led to him to enroll under the Radio-TV-Film major. As a student with a double major, Ryan decided to create a business that would reflect both of his majors. In 2011, Black Canvas Entertainment was founded by Ryan and his business associate Justin Lee. This first step into the world of entrepreneurship would prove crucial for Ryan as he continued his career after college.

Upon graduating from Cal State Fullerton in 2013 Ryan began to expand upon his acting career where he was featured in a multitude of different shows and commercials. Working with the companies that hired him, Ryan was able to make connections that would not only help him expand his portfolio but would also lead to more clients for his business.

Interestingly enough, the use of Ryan’s entrepreneurial skills worked well with those of his acting skills. While both fields are different, the similarities they shared in terms of networking, communication, and developing skills proved to be a perfect fulcrum in which Ryan could use to help him become a better business owner as well as actor.

One valuable lesson that Ryan learnt early in his career was that networking was king when trying to expand his horizons. As a firm believer of not limiting himself, Ryan would attend events even if it meant not knowing any of the people in the room. To many, this situation would be something that they would be instantly uncomfortable with. However, by branching out and speaking with new people, Ryan was able to land several successful contacts that later led him to being referred to work because of the connections he had made.

Another valuable lesson that many students often ignore during networking events is to not go with the intention of landing a job. While seemingly nonsensical at first, students who only attend networking events with this mission give off a different vibe than those who go just to interact and speak with one another. By getting to know a person with no ulterior motive, people feel that a person is less needy and therefore more willing to refer them in the future.

Ryan also quickly learned that Facebook makes following up with people a perfect tool in cultivating a professional relationship after initially making contact. By learning these lessons early on, Ryan was able to adapt to the rigors of working in Hollywood and flourish as an actor.

In terms of his business, Ryan began to realize that while passion and dedication proved to be great concepts to work off of, reasoning and logic are just as valuable. This proved to be true when Ryan began examining his schedule and noted that he was working well over a hundred hours every week. Realizing that he was getting too caught up in his work, Ryan began making changes in order for him to experience life and be happy again.

With his schedule adjusted and more time allocated for things he wanted to accomplish, Ryan once more was able to grow and become stronger in his fields. Currently Ryan is helping to give back to the school that enabled him to be so successful. By working as a mentor in the classroom, Ryan has helped in the creation of a platform that will allow actors to connect and find jobs. While there are currently only 2-3 sites that use this concept, Ryan’s connections and skills as an entrepreneur will aid him as he works to create an even better site that expands on the concepts already in use.

Ultimately, Ryan’s dual career path has helped him climb the ranks as an actor while helping him to grow and succeed as a business owner. It is clear to see that the skills and knowledge from both of his majors played a large role in helping him not only become a successful actor, but also a business owner.

While Ryan’s path may not portray the typical entrepreneurial story of creating a business, his journey makes him unique among entrepreneurs due to his dedication and passion for the things he loves. This kind of journey is one that illustrates to students that nothing is impossible if students have the motivation and drive to follow their dreams.

We also reached out to Ryan to get his thoughts about the one piece of advice he would give to current CSUF students. Here’s what he had to say:

ADVICE: Change your mindset from “What can I get?” to “What can I give?”

As an aspiring Producer, I wanted to get my foot in the door and make connections at Fox Studios, so I accepted a 4 week temporary position as an Assistant in Legal & Television Distribution. First day on the job, working in a quiet, gray cubicle, I thought this was not a good fit for me. So, I plugged in my earbuds, completed my assigned tasks, and went home. However, the next morning and each day afterwards I went into work with a totally different mindset – “what if I take every single opportunity to do something positive while I’m here?” From the moment I parked my car, I would talk to strangers in the elevator, hold doors open for the morning rush, learn what my co-workers love and care about, buy donuts for the office, pick up trash in the bathroom and clean up someone else’s coffee spill in the break room.

The result was beyond expectations: I looked forward to each day of opportunities. I made lifelong friends. My supervisor even gave me a thank you card with a gift card inside. As my term neared its end, 7 employees at Fox helped me look for a permanent position. Two directors on my floor gave me direct referrals to a job opportunity that wasn’t even listed! I got an interview the next week and was offered the job the following day.

Now, I’m utilizing my Producer skills to coordinate a department responsible for overseeing every single film Fox releases outside of North America, which represents 2/3 of all Box Office revenue!

Photo credit: Ryan David Tsang.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Knowledge @ CSUF Entrepreneurship video series:


CSUF Business Plan Competition Winner Announced!

Yannick Lambrecht and Jonny May at CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

Yannick Lambrecht and Jonny May at CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals

We hosted the CSUF Business Plan Competition Finals last week and it was an amazing event! The participating student-entrepreneurs all did great and they will all receive part of the more than $20,000 in scholarships and in-kind services to help them with their startups.

And, as you will read in this week’s CSUF Entrepreneurship Insider, we have a special event planned for this Wednesday at 6pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator titled: Self Mastery for Entrepreneurs that we hope you can attend.

The results are in and the winner of the 2017 CSUF Business Plan Competition is Piano with Jonny!

It was an amazing event and all of the finalists did exceptionally well. They all did commendable jobs presenting their concepts and ably weathered our judges’ incisive questions. After all was said and done, the finalists are not only going home with their portion of the more than $20,000 in scholarships and in-kind services but also with the experience that comes from participating in a competition like the CSUF Business Plan Competition.

We will be publishing more content about the competition over the next week or two and I will be sure to let you know about it.

But, as you know, entrepreneurs are always looking ahead and this Wednesday at 6pm at the CSUF Startup Incubator we welcome CSUF Entrepreneurship alumnus Matthew Gallizzi in to give a passionate talk titled Self Mastery for Entrepreneurs. As every entrepreneur quickly finds out, being an entrepreneur takes a certain mental fortitude to withstand all of the trials and tribulations that comes with launching a business. It’s tough work and Matthew will be going into detail about how he helps the entrepreneurs he works with become the “master of self”. We hope to see you there!


John Bradley Jackson
Director & Professor
CSUF Center for Entrepreneurship, CSUF Consulting,
& CSUF Startup Incubator

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CSUF Student’s Passion Leads to Good Works in DC Internship

Rachel Herzog Cal State Fullerton student interning in Washington DC

CSUF student Rachel Herzog at the 2017 Presidential Inauguration. Rachel is in DC to do an internship that aides sufferers of mental illnesses and their families. She is also taking classes focusing on political issues while interning there as part of the California State DC Scholars Program.

Interning is a rite of passage for many college students and some internships have a profound impact on students by shaping the way they view the world and their place in it. One Cal State Fullerton student, Rachel Herzog, is currently doing one of those internships and is having an experience of a lifetime in our nation’s capital.

Rachel’s search for a consequential internship led her to the California State DC Scholars Program, where she found an internship she loves and it has enabled her to attend school in Washington, DC for the spring 2017 semester. In this program, Rachel is currently interning for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), an organization that provides education, support groups, and courses about mental illness across the country. NAMI also has a team that advocates for individuals with mental illnesses.

Rachel’s tasks for NAMI consist of working in the call center where she counsels individuals in distress and their loved ones. It’s not an easy job but Rachel is the kind of person that loves to take on challenges.

Rachel has thoroughly enjoyed her experience at NAMI, “[Working at NAMI] is dynamic because every call is different and every person has their own situation.” The experience has also been one she is quite passionate about, as obstacles she has once gone through are “struggles that are being used to help others.” If possible, Rachel would like to align her interests in mental health issues and entrepreneurship to improve the care in that industry.

Rachel also has been able to enjoy some of DC’s historic and must-see sights, including the presidential inauguration, “I have a list outlining everything I want to do and see while I’m living in DC, including museums, memorials, historic restaurants, cultural events, and heritage trails, and I have a goal to check at least seven items off every week.”

Checking those seven items off every week can be a difficult task because Rachel interns during the day until 4 p.m., and then attends class in the evenings. Per the requirements of the California State DC Scholars Program, Rachel is taking a variety of political science classes; ones that have challenged her with a unique selection of topics and advanced discussions.

While the classes are challenging, Rachel wouldn’t have it any other way: “It’s unique, unlike anything I’ve done before. It’s opened my eyes to a lot of new things. There are topics I’ve never learned about before and this program allows me to do that in a special way…. The insights I’m gathering are relevant to more than just my education or career, but actually to all of life.”

Upon returning to California after the spring semester, Rachel looks forward to spending more time working and staying involved on the Cal State Fullerton campus. She will also continue to work with CSUF Startup Incubator graduate Aidtree by helping it launch its philanthropically inspired service in and around Cal State Fullerton. While uncertain about post-graduation plans, Rachel is passionate about working in travel, e-commerce, and mental health-related fields, and also plans to pursue her Master’s degree in the near future.

Rachel enthusiastically recommends the California State DC Scholars Program to prospective and current students who are looking to step out of their comfort zone and gain real life experience before graduating. “It isn’t necessarily for everyone, as the nature of living in DC is to be immersed in a very political environment, but the rich history of the United States that is so well preserved and accessible makes it a wonderful, unique experience… Participation has made available for me copious exciting resources and a brilliant network, as well as the experience of a lifetime!”

Way to go Rachel!

Written by Traci Muldoon. Edited by Travis Lindsay.


For more details on CSUF Entrepreneurship:

For more details on how we help people become entrepreneurs:

For more details on how CSUF Consulting can help businesses thrive:

Attend one of our events for entrepreneurs or sign up for a free mentoring session:

Building a For-Profit Mission-Driven Culture @ CSUF Startup Incubator

Jeff Scott will be speaking at the CSUF Startup Incubator this Wednesday at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

Jeff Scott will be speaking at the CSUF Startup Incubator this Wednesday at 6pm. We hope to see you there!

A startup’s culture is its destiny. That is why it is incredibly important for entrepreneurs to set the tone at their startups from day one and do things that strengthen that culture. Jeff Scott is an expert at this in his own right with one of his successes being the creation of Software Anywhere, a for-profit company that develops software solutions that also has a sincere focus on philanthropic activities. Through its high school technology internship program that awards full college scholarships to interns that stay on full time at the company, Scott and his company has had a $10,000,000 positive impact for the local community in less than a decade!

Come listen to his story and to learn how you to can develop a strong culture for your business! Get your ticket here.

Entrepreneurs face many challenges when creating a corporate culture that fosters innovation and retains the talent required to create a successful exit. The Power of 10 is Software Anywhere’s living case study of how companies can achieve for-profit success while giving back at an extreme level. Jeff Scott is going to share his model and approach on how a team of 10 people achieved a goal of providing $10M in community impact in less than 10 years.

Jeff Scott’s Bio:

For Jeff Scott, “embracing life” is not just a lofty ideal; it is his way of life. Jeff has been building innovative tech startups in Orange County since 1995. Software Anywhere, Scott’s mission-driven for-profit software company is proving that companies can incorporate extreme philanthropy, while still achieving their for-profit goals. Scott leads the company as the CEO and lead technical architect developing applications on the platform.

Inspired by the Salesforce Foundation, Scott and his team spend over 33% of their time working on community projects. Software Anywhere has also launched a cutting-edge high school technology internship program that extends to a full college scholarship for students who stay on full-time. December 2016 marks the 10-year anniversary of giving and by the end of July his team of 10 full-time employees will have achieved their most significant milestone yet — providing over $10,000,000 of sustainable community impact since the program started in 2007.

While working hard, Jeff’s “embracing life” mantra also drives him to play hard. He is an accomplished musician and sailing fanatic. With his strong commitment to family, Jeff considers his role as devoted husband and father of three the most rewarding of all.

#CSUFEntrepreneur #CSUFStartup

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CSUF Entrepreneurship Mentor Bob Kreisberg Rediscovers his love for the Saxophone



As a mentor in our program, Bob Kreisberg has helped hundreds of students understand the importance of how different personalities affect entrepreneurial ventures. As the founder of Opus Productivity, Bob counsels companies on how to hire people with the highest likelihood of fitting in with a company’s culture and how to get the most out of new and existing employees. Bob has a great mind for business and is a very valuable member of our entrepreneurial community.

But that’s not the point of this post. For those of us who know Bob personally we know that he is a kind and generous person. Having beaten cancer Bob is also a fighter. One thing many people, even some of his closest friends, didn’t know is that Bob used to love playing the saxophone and it was that love of this instrument that recently got him profiled in the Orange County Register.

In the story Villa Park man rediscovers saxophone 46 years after illness I learned about Bob’s sojourn to find the perfect saxophone that he last played decades ago:

Kreisberg remembered clutching the raw brass relic for the first time. He was standing beside an orchestra’s worth of forgotten instruments and between the shelves of power tools and sharp-toothed handsaws, and he held the sax next to his heart.

He was reunited with an instrument – no, not the same instrument, but one just like it – that he hadn’t played in 46 years.

“This was a magic,” he said of the new/old sax. “This had to have been played by a musician.”

You really should read the whole article to learn about this personal pursuit of one of our mentors.

Event: Successful Women and How They Think Differently in Business

Women on Building & Thriving in Business - CSUF Entrepreneurship EventOn January 14, 2015 the Center for Entrepreneurship is proud to host the Critical Mass for Business program as they discuss the topic “Successful Women and How They Think Differently in Business.” Richard Franzi, the CEO for Critical Mass for Business, will moderate a panel comprised of the following people:

John Bradley Jackson (Director, Center for Entrepreneurship)

France Helfer (Entrepreneur & CEO Hal Healthcare, Inc.)

Darcie Harris (Trainer & Speaker for Women Entrepreneurs)

Tomilee Gill (President Executives Unlimited)

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