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Neha Gupta, Penn Stater and Founder of Empower Orphans

Image credit: David Maialetti/Staff Photographer (Philly Inquirer)

Had a great conversation today with Neha Gupta, senior at Penn State Schreyer's College studying Neuroscience and founder and CEO of Empower Orphans and the 2014 winner of the International Children's Peace Prize.

I reached out to Neha because of her work in social entrepreneurship and because Empower Orphans has done some interesting work with companies such as Deloitte and Coca-Cola. I thought she would make a good speaker for Smeal and that the college could also support her success and passion for empowering other people and helping children break out the cycle of poverty. According to the website, Empower Orphans, which she started when she was nine years old, has raised $2.6 million dollars and benefited 30,000 children.

Image credit: A Plus

Medical Social Entrepreneur

Neha will be a speaker sometime this fall so be on the lookout for that. Her personal vision is to go to med school (she had just taken the MCAT last week), pick up some business/entrepreneurship skills and continue her work helping children around the world.

I told her of Smeal's commitment to using business to build a better world. We will get her hooked into the entrepreneurship world when she comes to visit, like the Smeal Farrell Center for Entrepreneurship and Penn State's Happy Valley Launchbox.

Choosing Flavors and the Academic Swirl

And finally we discussed her and many students' hunger for more cross disciplinary experiences. Too often students' experience is like going into Sweet Frog and there is just one flavor of fro yo. For some students, a prescriptive path is appropriate. But for Neha and others, perhaps the entrepreneurs and creatives, they want the swirl! They want to mix flavors. This isn't allowed at the Creamery, I know...but we need to keep finding ways to offer an academic mixing of flavors.

She is a neuroscience major entrepreneur with a heart for helping children around the world who also wants to learn some basic coding. What does a university like Penn State offer someone like Neha? Everything. But we could make it easier to navigate and pick up all she needs to go big with her dreams.

Look for her visit to Smeal and I encourage you to read her story in this great piece in the Philly Inquirer and support her work.

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