Unleash Your Inner Entrepreneur at the NYU Leslie eLab

Photo credit:  Judi Polanco 

Students filled the Leslie eLab at New York University’s Entrepreneurial Institute on October 24 to learn the answer to one question: what does it take to get accepted to the Startup Sprint intensive program for entrepreneurs?

Rebecca Silver, associate director, held the Startup Sprint Information session for the two-week intensive program offered to aspiring entrepreneur teams as they launch their startups.

Frank Barish Horowitz, who founded five companies during his time as a student of New York University, has benefited from the program.  “The connections and mentorship offered is priceless according to Horowitz.  “I’ve met my mentor, Kyle Bergan, and countless partners exclusively here.” Horowitz’s suggestion to students interested in becoming entrepreneurs to “take advantage of the resources offered at the institute now!”

As part of the selection process, entrepreneur teams are encouraged to apply to this two-week intensive program to learn about how to launch a venture while being offered expert startup coaching, funding, training and community support to help build a business.  A few of the qualifications needed to participate include having teams of two or more and making sure that, at minimum, one of the co-founders must be a student, faculty or researcher from New York University. Female or under-represented founders are highly encouraged to apply.   Selected teams will receive a $1,000 grant, $5,000 in perks in addition to daily coaching and working alongside other startups.

For Emily Long, founder of PivoTtag, going through the startup experience was the best decision she made for her company.   “As founder, it pushed me to get out of the building and actually talk to people that I otherwise would not have done.” Emily highly recommends it to everyone.  “It’s one of those things you won’t regret!”

75% of startups fail to return investors’ capital, while 42% fail because there is lack of market need, according to Silver. The startup training assists in increasing the chances for a startup to succeed by making starting companies less risky.  In the Startup Sprint two-week training, teams will gain experience getting customer feedback before building and launching their ideas.
Startup Sprint trainings are held in the winter, and in the summer, when regular classes are not in session. Silver states that, “even if you don’t get accepted to the program this time, come in for coaching and apply again.” Entrepreneurs have access to one-on-one coaching and numerous programs that will assist in pitching, fundraising and growing a team. Sergel Revzin who is a coach at the entrepreneur institute states one-on-one coaching is an important resource offered. Revzin said that in his experience it has been  “great working with founders! The group is eager to learn and very coachable, applying what they learn immediately.”

Reyna Bhandari, an aspiring entrepreneur with an app idea that will revolutionize the way doctors and patients manage pain, said that she found out about the Leslie eLab during her welcome week tour at NYU. “They offered to work with me and help me find a team to develop the app.” Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who need help developing a business idea is to ask themselves “what is something that you have heard other people complain about more often than not? Pause, think about it again, approach it from another angle, and voila, you might have an innovative idea to improve the lives of others. Modern-day society, especially NYC, promotes a culture thriving on convenience, accuracy, reliability. People are always looking for newer, better, faster. So, think about an idea, whether the effect is minuscule or magnitude, and use the Leslie eLab to see if it has the potential to make a difference.”

The Leslie eLab located at 16 Washington Place is available to aspiring NYU entrepreneurs across all NYU’s schools. The facility can be used as a co-working space for meetings and events of developing startups at all stages. No startup experience necessary. NYU students, faculties and researchers are encouraged to visit.  

These Young Riders Are Not Just Horsing Around: Equestrian Sport in The Bahamas

Camperdown Equestrian Centre is a not-for-profit riding facility that was founded in 1970 in the Camperdown neighborhood in Nassau, The Bahamas. Equestrian Bahamas, which became a federation in 2013, has partnered with Camperdown, The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Bahamas Olympics Committee to bring more awareness to the sport, more international exposure and to train riders and horses for international and Olympic events. 

How a Family Tragedy Sparked My Fascination With a Mental Health Book

How a Family Tragedy Sparked My Fascination With a Mental Health Book

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

My great-grandfather committed suicide in his late 20’s because he struggled to provide for his four children.

My grandfather was only four years old in 1928 and had to grow up fatherless. When I got to high school I read my grandfather’s memoir that included details about the horrific day, including quotes from my great grandmother. I asked my grandfather about his father and his mental health, but he seemed to be too upset about the topic and the idea that his dad may have had a pre-existing mental illness.  

Then I started school at John Jay College of Criminal Justice where I took a forensic psychology course that introduced me to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The manual fascinated me. I found it intriguing that mental health clinicians can refer to this booklet of criteria and symptoms, and simply flip through its pages to diagnose someone with a mental illness. 

The DSM is published by the American Psychiatric Association and covers all categories of mental health disorders for adults and children. In 2013 the latest version was released: DSM-5. 

As I was able to lay my hands on the DSM pocketbook version; I have carried it in my bag for over ten years. Carrying a DSM without being a mental health clinician may be a bit odd. However, growing up in an environment where discussing mental illness was taboo encouraged me to do so.

DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. This does not include treatment. DSM has been periodically reviewed and revised since it was first published in 1952. Many new mental health disorders have been added or deleted from the book through the years. Homosexuality was once listed as a mental health disorder and has been removed from the DSM. 

Today, licensed professionals still rely on it in their daily work. Gisell Perez, a Behavioral Health Therapist at St. John Episcopal Hospital in Queens, uses DSM-5 to assess all of her adult and pediatric patients. According to Gisell “The DSM-5 is what assists me in beginning to understand the enigma of symptoms impacting a patient’s life.” The DSM lists criteria for diagnosing psychotic disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and others.

The most fascinating fact is for each disorder, there is a list of specific symptoms and behaviors that must be present in order for the illness to be diagnosed. 

For example, for depression the DSM-5 has the following diagnostic criteria: The individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms from the following list during the same two-week period, and at least one of the symptoms should be either depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure.

Here is DSM’s list of symptoms required for a diagnosis:

  1.  Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day. 
  2. Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
  3. Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
  4. A slowing down of thought and a reduction of physical movement (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down).
  5. Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day.
    Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide.

While I continue to carry the DSM book in my bag, mental health clinicians advise against purchasing this book in hopes of diagnosing yourself or others. Instead, anyone with questions should reach out to a professional for help. Today, there are social services available to people of all socio-economic backgrounds, resources that I wish had been available to my great grandfather.

What is the DSM-5? from Judi P on Vimeo.