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 Joseph, a senior from Bloomington, Indiana, majors in informatics in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering. He has been a Shoemaker Scholar for three semesters.
“I’m looking forward to going back to campus because I get to serve my student community and help foster skill development among my peers,” Joseph said. “I’m excited to share what I’ve learned this summer and pass it on to incoming students, and to provide help to students at a greater scale than I could in person.”
Crimson Catalyst: What is the biggest impact Shoemaker Scholars have?
Davis Joseph: The Shoemaker Scholars exist and are driven to foster creativity within students and empower them in these endeavors regardless of what school they are involved with. It is a cross-campus student group dedicated to innovation and intersecting multiple disciplines. The biggest impact Shoemaker Scholars have is one that’s 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 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. We highlight and support creators so that they can learn deeply and inspire the next class of IU students to maximize their time at school.
CC: How did you learn about the Shoemakers Scholars program?
DJ: I was fortunate to attend many of professor Brown’s talks and meet previous Shoemaker Scholars as a freshman and a sophomore. Through connecting with them and talking with them, I learned about the purpose and mission of the Shoemaker Scholars and then had the chance to join them.
CC: What do you enjoy most about being a Shoemaker Scholar?
DJ: 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.
CC: What is a common misconception students have about entrepreneurship and innovation?
DJ: People think that entrepreneurship and innovation exist only for students of certain disciplines, usually those involved with tech and/or business. But I say innovation is about making life better, and that is evident in history in multiple forms. We like to refer to entrepreneurship and innovation under the umbrella term “creatorship” because it is not conventionally field specific.
CC: How do you share insights with others, as an ambassador?
DJ: I get to know people personally and talk to them. I listen to people I come across out of these little talks here and there. I get curious and love learning about new things like computing, cooking, ethics, singing and so on, and by meeting people with similar and different interests, I get people talking to each other, even with people they’ve never met before. It’s through 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?
DJ: As of right now, I don’t have any endeavors that I can truly call my own, but I’ve worked for a startup, an open source development team, as a consultant for multiple nonprofits, and for Microsoft as a program management intern. I’m thinking about getting into podcasting, though! 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. To me, mentoring and my understanding of the world go beyond teaching and instructing. Mentors, such as Melinda Gates, live their lives supporting and uplifting people, creating moments of lift for all people. I believe everyone has the capacity to be a mentor and that we are asked to be for others around us.
More information about the Shoemaker Scholars program is available at the following websites: