Students Participate in StartupGSSM Day

August 22, 2014

Students from the South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics (GSSM) will participate in StartupGSSM Day, a unique exploration of entrepreneurship and design thinking, both on campus and across the state on Friday, August 22, 2014.  

Juniors will remain on GSSM’s Hartsville campus for an introduction to Design Thinking, a methodology and process for solving real-world problems developed and popularized by the IDEO Corporation and the Stanford University Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( The session will be led by Bobby Hughes, who began at IDEO and then moved to the, and Judy Lee, also from IDEO and a host of the PBS series Design Squad Nation.

An afternoon session will challenge students to conceptualize and prototype an autonomous (self-driving) vehicle. Dr. David Smith from the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and a group of the program’s graduate students will attend to share their expertise and to learn from the ideas of GSSM students.

“We are excited to collaborate with students at the SC Governor’s School for Science and Math and to share with them some of the exciting work our graduate students are doing at CU-ICAR,” says Dr. Smith.  “I am sure that amongst the students at GSSM are some of our future design leaders, and we look forward to seeing them in action.”

GSSM’s seniors, who participated in a similar design thinking workshop last year, will divide into three groups and travel to Charleston, Columbia and Greenville for tours of SC-based tech startups and other innovative businesses.  These “tech treks” have been organized by economic development organizations in the three cities: the Charleston Digital Corridor, EngenuitySC and NEXT, respectively.

Tours will introduce students to leaders at new tech startups and innovation centers as well as at established companies creating jobs in fields related to STEM. Destinations include Clemson’s Biomedical Engineering Innovation Campus (“CUBEInC”) in Greenville, the Tminus6 business accelerator in Columbia, and the software company Blackbaud in Charleston, among others.

StartupGSSM Day is an initiative of GSSM’s BlueCross BlueShield Economics & Finance Institute. The Institute, which was founded to incorporate economics and entrepreneurship education with GSSM’s STEM-focused curriculum, features six-week summer internships in economics and entrepreneurship; advanced courses in entrepreneurship, accounting, finance and economics; and tech treks to Silicon Valley, New York and Boston.

“The goal of StartupGSSM Day is to help students gain knowledge about tech-centric business building—an area where I truly believe our students have the opportunity to be leaders in growing the economy of South Carolina,” said Robert Fletcher, Founding Director of the Economics & Finance Institute. “Our t-shirts for the day say ‘Designed in South Carolina,’ and I fully anticipate our students will deliver.”

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