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.
Davis T. Joseph, a junior from Bloomington, Indiana, majors in informatics in the School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. This will be his first semester as a Shoemaker scholar. Davis was kind enough to answer questions for the Crimson Catalyst.
Crimson Catalyst: How did you learn about the Shoemaker Scholars program?
Davis T. Joseph: I was fortunate to attend many of Dean Brown‘s talks and meet previous Shoemaker scholars during my freshman and sophomore years. Through connecting with them, I learned the purpose and mission of the Shoemaker scholars and had the chance to join them.
CC: What impact do Shoemaker scholars have?
DTJ: The biggest impact is one that is invisible, not because its impact can’t be seen but because the group acts as infrastructure. Our members connect students to other students, student groups, resources and ideas. We are like a search engine that is reactive and reliant on the group’s collective expertise to be an end-to-end solution for cross-campus innovation.
CC: What is a common misconception students have about entrepreneurship and innovation?
DTJ: People think that entrepreneurship and innovation exist only for students of certain disciplines, usually those involved with tech and/or business. I’d say innovation is about making life better, and that exists — as is evident in history — in multiple forms.
CC: How do you share insights with others, as an ambassador?
DTJ: I get to know people and talk to them. I listen to people I come across at talks here and there. I get curious and love learning about new things like computing, cooking, ethics, singing, etc. By meeting people with similar and different interests, I get them talking with people they’ve never met before. It’s those interactions that people unconsciously meander through that birth insight. Insights that I’ve gained and shared experiences I’ve lived or learned from are just talked about; it’s as simple as that.
CC: What are your own entrepreneurial endeavors?
DTJ: I don’t have any entrepreneurial endeavors that I can truly call my own, but I’ve worked for a startup, for an open-source software development team and as a consultant for multiple nonprofits. I’m thankful because I have had many mentors in my life, and hopefully I’ve acted as a mentor in other capacities than being a Shoemaker scholar. Mentors go beyond teaching and instructing. They live their life supporting and uplifting people — like Melinda Gates, creating moments of lift for all people. I believe everyone has the capacity to be a mentor and that we are asked to be such for others around us.
CC: What do you enjoy most about being a Shoemaker scholar?
DTJ: It is the most diverse group of individuals I’ve had the pleasure of being in and working with, and with our collective experience we get things done and done well. It’s fulfilling, honest work.
More information about the Shoemaker Scholars program is available at the following websites: