The Garage is excited to announce the newest cohort of Little Joe Ventures Fellows! Now in its fifth year, the Little Joe Ventures Fellowship is awarded to five Northwestern sophomores who have demonstrated immense entrepreneurial potential. Fellows receive unparalleled personal development opportunities, funding, networking, and once in a lifetime experiences throughout their time at Northwestern and beyond. This year, we are most excited for the many ways we hope to bring participants together though in-person activities!
These five sophomores represent a diversity of backgrounds and schools across Northwestern. They were all nominated by faculty and staff because of their demonstrated talent and promising entrepreneurial potential. Learn more about each of the students in the 2022 cohort below.
Lauren Huttner, Medill ’24
Lauren, from Denver, Colorado, is studying Journalism and History with a minor in Business Institutions. Her interest in entrepreneurship started during the pandemic when she interned for a female mentorship startup. After exploring marketing, social media and growth, she decided to focus her efforts on community building. Since then, Lauren has helped Youtubers build Discord communities through the Garage startup, Authentic Media Ascension, consulted TikTok collective, “The Wave House,” on how to best engage their followers and learned how blockchain technology can foster meaningful interactions. Lauren is excited to continue bringing people together in person and online while working on her new web3 education startup, Shift.
Steven Jiang, Weinberg ’24
Born and raised in Harbin, China, Steven is studying Economics with minors in Entrepreneurship and Business Institution. His entrepreneurial journey started with founding HPMS Venture, a non-profit consulting startup helping underprivileged, young musical talents earn scholarships from top music schools in the world. Currently, Steven is developing Overture Games – a game design startup making practice fun for musicians. Steven posts fun videos on TikTok aiming to make classical music accessible to everyone with a following of over 325,000. He is the host of VirtualCoffeeHouse where he talks about music education and business with Grammy Award winners, international soloists, major orchestra conductors, and other leading figures in the music industry.
Kevin Kaspar, McCormick ’24
Kevin is originally from Charlotte, North Carolina studying Manufacturing and Design Engineering and Entrepreneurship. Kevin’s passion for entrepreneurship began back as a freshman in high school in 2016, when wildfires ran rampant throughout the Appalachian Mountains near his hometown. Since then, Kevin has been building InfernoGuard, which aims to reimagine remote wildfire detection. He is particularly passionate about high-impact, mission-driven ventures focused on sustainability and enjoys sharing his passion for entrepreneurship with students interested in getting involved at The Garage through student Office Hours. Kevin has pitched in dozens of pitch competitions and received over $160,00 in non-dilutive funding, aiming to launch InfernoGuard’s services this upcoming wildfire season.
Stephanie Shields, Weinberg ’24
Stephanie is studying Political Science and Entrepreneurship. Originally from Hillsborough, CA, she was raised with an entrepreneurial spirit that has included founding two nonprofits, coding three apps, and creating a program to increase fundraising efficiency that she has used on several political campaigns. At Northwestern, she is involved at The Garage and she serves as a senator for the Associated Student Government, a writer with Spoon University, a tutor for Books & Breakfast, and on the corporate team of MayFest Productions. She is currently a Project Manager at AmbassCo, a student-led startup translating teens’ honest feedback, insights, and ideas into actionable social, product, branding, marketing, and investment strategy.
Isaac Winoto, McCormick ’24
Isaac Winoto is a sophomore born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia studying Computer Science, Data Science, and Entrepreneurship. If Isaac’s life had a theme, it would be building solutions that make a difference in other people’s lives. Following this passion, in November of 2018, Isaac founded GenDigital (Generation of Digital Learners), a digital literacy movement aimed to mentor and empower underprivileged Indonesian children through coding and foundational logical thinking skills. Today, GenDigital has taught more than 1000 new learners in 10 locations all over Indonesia over the last 3+ years, collaborating with unicorn companies and renowned non-profit organizations throughout the nation to pursue this vision. Here in Northwestern, Isaac is building Skuy, a community-focused discussion and news aggregation mobile platform, where he leads a Resident team made up of 10 students in The Garage. Even in his non-entrepreneurial endeavors, be it when managing the truck transporter experience in Indonesian logistics startup Kargo, or when developing Augment-EAT, a menu app that uses augmented reality to visualize a 3D model of your food, Isaac’s main passion has always been to solve human-first problems. In his free time, Isaac’s interests include everything basketball (playing, watching, analyzing), playing the electric guitar, beatboxing, and learning the cultures of new places around the world.
Kevin shared that “joining the LJV community is particularly rewarding because I’m joining a tight-knit community of dedicated entrepreneurs who have previously paved the way and inspired my own entrepreneurial pursuits at Northwestern.”
When asked about the program and her admittance, Stephanie told us, “I cannot wait to engage with all of the LJV opportunities—from traveling, to attending events, to bonding with my LJV peers—to expand my entrepreneurial and leadership skills. I am so excited to be surrounded by peers and mentors who share the same drive to make an impact in the world.”
The Little Joe Ventures Fellowship has been thoughtfully designed to offer undergraduate students from across various schools at Northwestern the opportunity to participate in programming, travel, and a $5,000 financial award to pursue an entrepreneurial project or unpaid professional opportunity. The annual fellowship begins each spring during the cohort’s sophomore year and continues beyond graduation.
Mike Raab, associate director of The Garage commented, “Five years into the Little Joe Ventures Fellowship, it’s more clear than ever the impact this program has on the selected fellows and their journeys. We’re excited to once again welcome an exceptional class of diverse Northwestern sophomores and help them follow their interests and realize their potential.”
The Little Joe Ventures (LJV) Fellowship in Entrepreneurship is made possible by a generous gift from Tony Owen ’93, ’03 MBA, and his wife, Monique. To stay up to date on programs at The Garage, including the Little Joe Ventures Fellowship, sign up for our monthly newsletter here.