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Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Classes Begin

woman standing in front of white board, talking to class

Katie Overfield-Zook shares entrepreneurship insight to cadets enrolled in the Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program.—VMI Photo by Kelly Nye.

Classes have begun for the new Summer Undergraduate Entrepreneurship Program at VMI, a program for cadets who possess the mindset of entrepreneurs regardless of academic major.

Through support from the Jackson-Hope Fund, cadets participating in the program receive three tuition-free elective credits, with room and board provided at no cost to them.

According to Col. Clifford West, Ph.D., Department of Economics and Business professor, SUEP consists of a five-week summer course, field trips to start-up companies and incubators, and interaction with guest speakers chosen from alumni and business leaders.

Katie Overfield-Zook, entrepreneurial ecosystem builder with Shenandoah Community Capital Fund, an entrepreneurial support organization in Staunton, is guest lecturing a portion of the course. “It has been an incredible pleasure getting to work with this group of cadets,” said Zook. “Their excitement about entrepreneurship and dedication to the content is already apparent. So far, we’ve had the chance to learn about what makes a good entrepreneur, how entrepreneurs solve problems in the world, and how they start building businesses that are addressing the problems most near and dear to them. I can’t wait to see what we’re able to achieve over the next three weeks of the program.”

One of the eight cadets enrolled in the course is Cadet Simon T. Bucknor ’25 from Loudoun County, Virginia. As a mechanical engineering major pursuing an aerospace concentration, Bucknor has spent a lot of his time as a cadet repeatedly solving technical problems. “This course allows me to develop an entrepreneurial mindset when approaching different problems. So far, I am enjoying it, and my perspective is already expanding,” he said.