The Shoemaker Scholars program brings together 10 Indiana University Bloomington students from a variety of academic disciplines. They encourage other students to explore their own entrepreneurial and innovative interests, and they oversee the StartupIU website that connects students with university-based startups. John and Donna Shoemaker funded the program, which awards annual scholarships to its members. Travis J. Brown launched and directs the program.
Ryan Evan MacDonald, a junior from Valparaiso, Indiana, majors in international studies in the Hamilton Lugar School of Global and International Studies. This will be his first semester as a Shoemaker scholar. Ryan was kind enough to answer questions for the Crimson Catalyst.
Crimson Catalyst: How did you learn about the Shoemaker Scholars program?
Ryan Evan MacDonald: Talking with Richard Xu, a friend who turned out to be a Shoemaker scholar himself.
CC: What impact do Shoemaker scholars have?
REM: Helping make resources and connections on entrepreneurship available alongside a higher education and not forcing students to choose one or the other.
CC: What is a common misconception students have about entrepreneurship and innovation?
REM: That there’s some fixed “type” of people who are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurship is for anyone who wants to start their own way of living, whether that’s starting your own art studio, bakery or medical practice. All those people are entrepreneurs. Even more so, if someone hasn’t exactly done what you want to do, or your dream job doesn’t exist, entrepreneurship is how you can make it a reality.
CC: How do you share insights with others, as an ambassador?
REM: Asking lots of questions. A lot of times, especially ambitious people, me included, can get caught up in our own heads — we never ask why, just how. The most important thing that I can do is give people a moment to breathe, reflect and ask why they want to start a business. There are a-million-and-two people more than happy to help them with the how legal services, accounting, etc.
CC: What are your own entrepreneurial endeavors?
REM: Some sort of enterprise is in the works for me. Part of why I joined Shoemaker scholars was to put it on better footing. I’ll be able to help people while I’m going through the process along with them.
CC: What do you enjoy most about being a Shoemaker scholar?
REM: The connections I get to help make for the people this program is for. It can be confusing and scary to even think about entrepreneurship, but just talking to other people who can say it’s not that bad, or at least not as bad as you imagined, can do a lot of good. I like taking away some of the stress of pursuing a dream.
More information about the Shoemaker Scholars program is available at the following websites: