What problems are facing today’s high school students and how can we solve them? That was the big question posed to Holy Trinity students in our NFTE/Corporate Experience class on Wednesday, September 19, 2018, by student leaders from Northwestern University’s EPIC club.

Northwestern students Charbel and Aishwarya gave HT students a crash course in the five stages of Design Thinking. From defining the problem to gathering research and designing a solution, small groups were equipped with new, effective ways to make a difference in the business world and beyond.

“We had a lot of fun, we had a blast, to be honest,” says Miguel Flores ‘20. “Design Thinking is new to me. It’s different than how I’ve thought about problems in the past. I can see myself using this process to achieve my goals, helping my family, finding ways to have a solution for others.”

“In the past, I was part of a project where I had to come up with a business idea, and it was a lot harder because I wasn’t shown the steps on how to be successful,” says Jalante Honeycutt ‘20. “When the students from Northwestern taught Design Thinking to us, it made so much more sense. I now know what steps I need to take to make my idea a great one.”

For teacher Angela Miceli, the workshop is helping HT students prepare for the main project in their course: creating a business plan and competing in NFTE’s pitch competition. “The students all provided positive feedback not only on the material but how it was presented,” says Ms. Miceli. “They shared that it was really comforting for them to know that the Northwestern students actually went through the process and could help guide them better.”

This collaboration between EPIC and the NFTE class is thanks to the Farley Family Charitable Foundation, supporters of both Holy Trinity and  Northwestern University. Last year, the foundation first introduced Holy Trinity to the Farley Center at Northwestern, providing HT students the opportunity to attend NUvention events. This new partnership allows Holy Trinity students to gain practical, hands-on entrepreneurial skills while giving EPIC students the opportunity to hone their craft of inspiring innovators.

The next step is for Holy Trinity students to visit The Garage at Northwestern’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, where EPIC leaders will guide them through prototyping and testing. “I can’t wait!” says Miguel, “ because Northwestern is one of the schools I want to go to.” Jalante is also eagerly anticipating the next experience. “I’m pretty excited to keep my ideas flowing, processing in my brain.”

About the Farley Center at Northwestern
The Farley Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation was endowed in 2008 to foster student interest in entrepreneurship and to create a community of student innovators equipped for future entrepreneurial success. The gift was made by the James N. and Nancy J. Farley Foundation. The Farley Center is facilitating the next generation of interdisciplinary learning at Northwestern by integrating many different disciplines to create innovative curricula like NUvention, which offers courses in creating web, medical, energy, and social impact companies.

About EPIC
EPIC is a student-led group sponsored by the Farley Center that supports and inspires the student entrepreneurs, pioneers, innovators, and creators of Northwestern University. EPIC curates inspirational events, hosts an annual venture challenge competition, and brings networking and job opportunities to all students of all disciplines.

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