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McPherson College Announces Latest Horizon Fund Grant Recipients

Since 2010 McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems. With more than 250 grants awarded, the college recently announced the latest recipients of the Horizon Fund Grants.

This spring, the Horizon Fund is providing 10 grants to 11 students with ideas ranging from an on-campus coffee shop and online design company to a travel blog. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the opportunity to reapply for continued funding of an existing Horizon Fund project.

Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson College, said, “The Horizon Fund grant is just one of the many ways that McPherson College demonstrates its commitment to entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurial students on our campus. The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.”

Any McPherson College student, in any major of study is eligible for the grant, whether individually or as part of a team. Grant proposals are considered each semester and evaluated by a team of faculty and staff that interview each applicant.

Recipients of the spring 2019 Horizon Fund grants are:

  • Victoria Gonzales, Elementary Education, Keller, Texas – Coffee stand on campus, “I will provide a variety of drinks and snacks including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options. I will meet the needs of the students.”
  • Xander Lehn, Automotive Restoration Technology, Sacramento, California – Metal Garage, “Many classic cars had options and accessories when they were new but as they age, fewer and fewer businesses offer what collectors really want. My market is focused on people who like to use their classic cars for things other than just shows.”
  • Alex Ramsier, Automotive Restoration Technology/Management, Wooster, Ohio – Restoration Shop, “My idea is different because I am a young entrepreneur still in college looking to build an automotive business, when most students wait until after graduation or later to build a business.”
  • Francis Abate, Automotive Restoration Technology, Steamboat Springs, Colorado – Electrical business for automotive restoration, “The restoration and preservation of automobiles and related vehicles is a growing marketplace and the skills needed to repair these cars and trucks are becoming increasingly harder to find. My automotive restoration education is giving me the foundation necessary in order to serve this growing need.”
  • Rick Sakamoto, Business Management, Frankston, South Australia – Coffee stand on campus, “The idea is to start a coffee stand on campus with a menu that includes several different options to cater to a wide variety of students, staff, and visitors. It would operate one to two hours each morning including weekends.”
  • Mason Duffey, Automotive Restoration Technology/Communications, Bellbrook, Ohio – Automotive media equipment, “I want to go into automotive media after I graduate and had the idea to create my own internship by traveling the country this summer writing, photographing, and videoing my journey in order to build my professional portfolio.”
  • Amanda Lolling, Business, accounting/marketing and Graphic Design, Haysville, Kansas; and Matt Bouwkamp, Graphic Design, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma – Online graphic design, “We would like to meet the affordable art need. Artwork, especially personalized is often quite expensive. We would like to offer beautiful creations at an affordable price.”
  • Moneshya Green, Digital Media: Visual Design, McCook, Nebraska – Host family network for students, “My idea is to have ‘adoptive’ families for students who are a long way from home. The host families could possibly gain a babysitter, house sitter, or pet sitter, while the student could gain home-cooked meals, rides, and just a family to fill-in until they are able to go home.”
  • Jeremiah Greene, Automotive Restoration Technology, Farragut, Iowa – Upholstery shop, “It is something I am passionate about and there is a shortage of trimmers. I think my passion and skill set will set me apart from other students or businesses.”
  • Stef Krsmanovic, Health Science, Gornji Milanovac, Serbia – Recruiting students from Serbia, “I think it is a unique idea because I’ll do something that is going to promote McPherson College in a whole different world.”
  • Ian Rhoten, Graphic Design/studio, Wichita, Kansas – Writing and illustrating a children’s book, “My book would be a meaningful adventure for children to experience with depth to interest adults. Children can understand more than most people give them credit for. My book is not only for them to process and understand, but for adults to mull over as well.”

McPherson College Announces Latest Horizon Fund Grant Recipients

Since 2010 McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems. With more than 250 grants awarded, the college recently announced the latest recipients of the Horizon Fund Grants.

This fall, the Horizon Fund is providing grants to 10 students with ideas ranging from hand-crafted tools to book publishing. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the opportunity to reapply for continued funding of an existing Horizon Fund project.

Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson College, said, “The Horizon Fund grant is just one of the many ways that McPherson College demonstrates its commitment to entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurial students on our campus. The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.”

Any McPherson College student, in any major of study is eligible for the grant, whether individually or as part of a team. Grant proposals are considered each semester and evaluated by a team of faculty and staff that interview each applicant.

Recipients of the fall 2018 Horizon Fund grants are:

  • Summer Buckshaw, junior, studio arts, McPherson – Etsy store to make, sell, and repair vintage-inspired clothing – “I am meeting the need for professional quality, custom clothing with vintage designs that are rising in popularity.”
  • Mason Duffey, sophomore, automotive communications, Bellbrook, Ohio – Professional automotive photography – “Eventually, I would like to make a book highlighting the different subcultures of the automobile scene and the different types of people that are in each subculture.”
  • Grayson Henry, freshman, graphic design major, McKinney, Texas – Gray Sun Boutique – “My online boutique philosophy will be to bring uniqueness to a woman’s wardrobe at a price unlike other pricier websites.”
  • Charley Hoehaver, junior automotive restoration technology, Auburn, Alabama – Professional automotive photography – “In the nearly six years of doing this, I’ve seen far greater success with my work than I’d ever imagined and I am motivated to continue to improve in efforts to help achieve my greater goal.”
  • Reed MacDougall, junior, history major from Fort Riley, Kansas – Make and sell homemade potato chips – “I’ve thought since I went to school here that the snack option in the library is lacking variety. Why can’t I make a cheap and tasty snack?”
  • Matthew Miller-Wells, senior, historic automotive technology, Leavenworth, Kansas – Blog dedicated to finding abandoned buildings and monuments in Kansas City and Wichita – “It’s as much an adventure for me as it is for the reader. My blog would serve both as educating those curious of the history while reading about my personal experiences riding a vintage motorcycle on my travels.”
  • Sam Nelson, senior, chemistry, Clearfield, Utah – Food pantry for students with children – “Supply those in need with diapers, formula, or anything else they may need for their kids.”
  • Alex Ramsier, senior, automotive restoration technology, Wooster, Ohio – Automotive shop – “I am taking a different approach by meeting the need of an affordable product, allowing people to enter the car community or bring their pride and joy back to life.”
  • Sean Robinson, freshman, automotive restoration technology, La Grange, Illinois – Make and sell precision hammers – “The hammers are high-quality built combined with brass heads and exotic wood handles custom-turned to balance perfectly in the customer’s hand that look great in any toolbox.”
  • Tomi Simmons, sophomore, history-political science, Las Vegas, Nevada – Publish a creative writing book – “I would represent the school in a great manner that would influence other writers and people to be a part of the growing creative community we have at McPherson College.”

McPherson College Selects Global Enterprise Challenge Winner

Jaden Hilgers - 2017 GEC winner

2017 Global Enterprise Challenge winner – Jaden Hilgers, JR, Wichita , Kan.

A project that combines branding, outreach and a commercial to raise awareness of the plight of the Ecuadorian rainforest was the winning proposal in this year’s Global Enterprise Challenge at McPherson College. A proposal by Jaden Hilgers, a junior from Wichita, was selected from a field of six entries and earned Hilgers a week-long learning tour in Ecuador.

The McPherson College Global Enterprise Challenge is a competition that encourages students to address significant global issues through entrepreneurial thinking. This year’s competition challenged students to take on the issue of globalization, specifically in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador. The students were asked to plan a project that would help give voice to the marginalized populations that depend on the rainforest for a variety of resources.

McPherson College worked with The New Community Project, an organization that fights for social and environmental justice through education and empowerment, to provide a platform of this year’s challenge. The winning student project could become a tangible product used by The New Community Project to share the Ecuadorian people’s story.

Hilgers proposal includes a print campaign that incorporates a brand and logo for email and letterhead as well as a plan for church outreach to raise awareness of issues surrounding the rainforest. The proposal also includes a commercial that Hilgers will film while in Ecuador.

“This year’s challenge gives students an opportunity to be the voice of this marginalized ecosystem and those marginalized people that depend on it in a way that inspires real change,” Dustin Wilgers, associate professor of biology at McPherson College, said. “The opinions of these people are not considered during decisions about their land and without a voice in society, marginalized groups, like the tribes that live in the Ecuadorian rainforest, lack the ability to stand up for the injustices posed against them.”

The competition encouraged students to use a variety of different types of media or approaches when developing their proposals. Anything from video, artwork, photography, playwriting, to essays was accepted.

The project is a perfect fit for Hilgers, who is majoring in graphic design, studio art/photography, and philosophy and religion.

“This will definitely be new territory for me,” Hilgers said. “I have the skill set, but have not used it in this way before. I am looking forward to the opportunity to grow my skills in portraiture and telling the stories behind the photos.”

As the winner of this year’s challenge, Hilgers, will accompany the McPherson College travel experience class on a learning tour with The New Community Project to the Amazon rainforest in May.

McPherson College Announces Latest Horizon Fund Grant Recipients

Since 2010 McPherson College has been encouraging the entrepreneurial ideas of its students by awarding mini-grants that help students develop innovative solutions to common problems. With nearly 250 grants awarded, the college recently announced the latest recipients of the Horizon Fund Grants.

This fall, the Horizon Fund is providing grants to 11 students with ideas ranging from guerilla retailing to vehicle towing. The individual grants range from $100 to $500 and students have the opportunity to reapply for continued funding of an existing Horizon Fund project.

Abbey Archer-Rierson, chief of staff and head of the entrepreneurship program at McPherson College, said, “The Horizon Fund grant is just one of the many ways that McPherson College demonstrates its commitment to entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurial students on our campus. The grants have supported a variety of wildly creative ideas and this most recent round of funding is no exception.”

Any McPherson College student, in any major of study is eligible for the grant, whether individually or as part of a team. Grant proposals are considered each semester and evaluated by a team of faculty and staff that interview each applicant.

Recipients of the fall Horizon Fund grants are:

  • Evan Willow – iPhone repair business: “I’m targeting college student to give them the opportunity to get their iPhone fixed at a reasonable price.”
  • Carlos Espinel – Repurpose and restore Coleman lanterns: “The old collectible, American-made, Coleman lanterns are a hot commodity right now and are fairly easy to find around here. The market appeal is to outdoor enthusiast, antique collectors and some vintage automobile clubs, but not limited to those markets.”
  • Mason Duffy – Finding and selling rare, vintage, and new car parts: “I will be creating a business that resells rare and vintage parts for Japanese imports, along with my own line of custom made composite parts, t-shirts, and stickers. I want this to be a one-stop online shop where people can buy hard to find vintage parts, new parts, and shirts to look cool while driving their project cars.”
  • Juan Torres – Tire repair business: “I would like to acquire tools to perform difficult tire repair. There are many vehicles that have split wheels that shops are not willing to repair. It’s common for people to get stuck on a project simply because they can’t move it. I want to serve the McPherson College Automotive Restoration program’s students as well as community members who need assistance.”
  • Riley Richardson – Clothing business: “I buy and sell clothing items from Supreme clothing company. The clothes are extremely coveted and hard to get directly from the store. I buy the items direct and then resell them to people willing to pay a premium. There is a large market for this brand and people willing to buy the clothes after they sell out online.”
  • Nathan Buckler – Peaches Shop-Auto Shop: “I would like to rent spaces in my shop. I have a place that is secure, safe, and has reliable wi-fi. I’d like to update the lighting and work on developing a rental agreement for the spaces.”
  • Alex Ramsier – Auto paint and body shop: “Many young entrepreneurs start their business careers after college. I hope to establish a business front with a customer base while I am still in school. I have been completing paint and body work for customers and think this will become a successful and profitable business for me. My goal is to run my own business and turn my passion into a living.”
  • Andrew Verkteris – Affordable towing and recovery: “My goal is to take my experience in this field and build a business here. The funds would be used on my vehicle so it complies with Kansas regulations. I would provide an affordable vehicle transport option for the students in the Automotive Restoration program.”
  • Micah Gilbert – Photography business: “I hope to continue expanding my photography business while I am in college and expand my freelance opportunities. I still haven’t specialized in a specific type of photography, but I am leaning toward nature photography, which can be an expensive area because you need good gear to get the best shots. I’d like to use this grant to expand into that area.”
  • Isiah Hill – Nimbus – listening to music with other senses: “My idea revolves around driving community culture toward a shared value. Being able to build a home studio can lay out a foundation to enhance the future of consuming media. I want to provide access to those who have something positive to contribute and create a new way of comprehending music.”
  • Kylee Martin – Zumbathon benefiting Giving Hope to Cancer Fund: “I helped organize the first-ever Zumbathon for the McPherson College Student Activities Board with money raised going to the local Giving Hope to Cancer Fund. I am a licensed Zumba instructor and I thought this would be a fun way to raise money for a great cause.”

Entrepreneurial Faculty Design Program That Meets Needs of Job Market

The new Digital Media degree at McPherson College combines communication, design and technology preparing students to find a career in the ever-changing marketplace. The newest academic program, beginning this fall, was designed using the school’s approach of applying entrepreneurship to education.

“How we have designed our Digital Media major is completely unique to anything in the state of Kansas,” Dee Erway-Sherwood, professor and program director of graphic design, said. “We’re developing the type of curriculum geared toward getting students a job using very different programs, such as UX and UI. Studios and businesses want students who can do a little bit of everything, but also code. And, we aren’t just talking about big businesses. Based on our research with local businesses and their needs, they are wanting local artists with a grounding of graphic design and communications.”

It’s this variety of skills that inspires the flexibility in McPherson College’s degree. Students can take a variety of core courses and then tailor their major to their strengths. They can focus either in Communication or in Visual Design, using skills such as graphic design, web design, social media, public relations, coding, User Interface (UI), and User Experience (UX).

What sets McPherson College apart from other digital media programs, is the facilities and support available to students, including:

  • An up-to-date lab with more than 30 computers, all connected to on-site IT support, and available 24-hours a day.
  • All software the students need is included. Currently that includes graphic design, editing, moving image, 3-D, and web design software.
  • Face-to-face, often one-to-one, support from qualified professors.
  • Hands-on experience in the community at Etch, a student run graphic design studio in downtown McPherson, affiliated with McPherson College Entrepreneurial Program.
  • Competition at the AIGA Design Contest, a professional portfolio and networking event where McPherson College recently swept the awards, winning eight out of ten of the highest awards.
  • Like the rest of the college, 98% of majors find employment within six months of graduation, with many receiving multiple offers.

Following the success of the Auto Restoration program, the Visual Arts and Communications departments identified a gap in the market for their students and took the opportunity to follow the college’s strategic plan of “nurturing entrepreneurial faculty to develop attractive academic programs” to develop the new digital media degree.

The Art Department also reached out to an anonymous donor, who shared the college’s vision and was eager to develop the program. Additionally, the Communications Department brought in Nathan Pollard, a graphic designer with 20-years’ experience in television post-production, to teach and develop new courses with Dr. Becki Bowman, associate professor of communication and Erway-Sherwood.

While students learn communications, business and technology basics, the core of the design element is rooted in art.

“Many people think that modern design, such as coding, multimedia or website design, is a case of knowing which buttons to push on a computer. It’s so much more than that,” Pollard said. “You have to understand the basic elements of the art or design you are trying to produce. It’s so evident when people rush to just get something out. You need to know what is aesthetically pleasing, all-the-while fulfilling the client’s specs with a design that is also inviting to the customer.”

According to LinkedIn, at the beginning of 2017, there were 4,666 jobs are available in UX and UI, and 8,730 jobs available for Digital Media in the United States. Specifically, this can include jobs such as public relations, digital media producer, social media strategist, UX/UI designer, content strategist, web designer, graphic designer, videographer, photography editor and countless others.

Adam Porter, a 2016 McPherson College graduate, currently works as a product designer with FloSports, a digital sports company in Austin, Texas. Porter, who created his own track in digital media before the new degree was offered, says his time at McPherson College was integral in his ability to gain employment.

“I chose McPherson College because it presented me with the unique opportunity of combining courses from different disciplines to pursue a career in digital product design. Through the combination of graphic design, business, math and programming course I found I was uniquely positioned to be competitive within the technology start-up job market,” he said. “Design courses taught me to think strategically about design challenges while sharpening my visual design skills; business courses taught me about the different use cases a digital product designer should have in mind, while math and programming courses gave me insights into some of the technical requirements digital product designers often encounter.”

From the perspective of a recent graduate, learning a wide variety of skills made all the difference for Porter. “I know other students seeking to join a tech start up after college can have the same success I’ve had through the new digital media major. I’d also encourage students to get involved with their fellow students, professors, and the greater design community.”

Jump Start Kansas Competition Provides Grants to Entrepreneurial High School Students

By Johanna Hoffman ’17, communication major

Entrepreneurship is a mindset that McPherson College implements in many ways. Students, faculty, and staff are provided opportunities to flex their entrepreneurial spirit and encourage expanding horizons through innovation, originality, and initiative to seize new opportunities. Jump Start Kansas was started six years ago and is an opportunity for high school and prospective students to get an inside look at the entrepreneurial program.

McPherson College receives concept ideas from high school students across the state each year. This year, 17 students were invited to campus to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges from the college. After presenting their concepts, each participant is granted up to $500 from the college to put their idea into action.

McPherson College President Dr. Michael Schneider says promoting entrepreneurship opportunities for high school students benefits the participants and the college.

“Jump Start Kansas is different than recognizing someone for their academic, artistic or athletic abilities. We value student ideas and their entrepreneurial spirit, and we hope that a few students get a chance to see that we are a good option for them to pursue their idea as a McPherson College student.”

Lizbeth Gonzalez of Independence, Mo., was a finalist with her idea for an online shopping app that allows customers to visualize what clothes would look like on before they purchase them. To her, entrepreneurship is about coming up with ideas to improve people’s lives.

“I’m always ecstatic about coming up with new ways to make the life of the consumer a tad easier. Being an entrepreneur is having the mindset of someone that is creative, bold, and looking for new ways to facilitate and build up the community.”

Yanet Cecenas-Salazar of McPherson, Kan., proposed an idea for a pet hotel. She says for her, the key to successful entrepreneurship is being able to think outside the box and not overthink an idea.

“Being an entrepreneur is a great skill. It lets you become a leader and gives you critical thinking skills.”

Schneider was particularly impressed with this year’s Jump Start Kansas participants and their well-developed concepts.

“More students came with ideas in the execution stage—they are coming in with ideas that they are already trying.”

The finalists for Jump Start Kansas were:

Sierra Brown, Lansing, Kan.: quilt designing business
Daphne Cassanova, Wichita, Kan.: Youga – traveling yoga studio
Yanet Cecenas-Salazar, McPherson, Kan.: Pet Hotel
Ja’River Dunlap, Kansas City, Mo.: Nonprofit youth volleyball organization
Lizbeth Gonzalez, Independence, Mo.: Estilo – shopping app that helps shoppers visualize what they’re buying
Kiara Grimes, Wichita, Kan.: Affordable daycare for low-income families
Demetrius Jobe, Hutchinson, Kan.: All-natural smoothie business
Anthony Loya, Kansas City, Kan.: Dental IT company
Paige Houchen, McPherson, Kan.: Incentive implementation for installing breathalyzer ignition interlocks
Regan Pourner, Wellington, Kan.: Grocery delivery service
Paige Rickman, McPherson, Kan.: App that connects people of different political views, allowing them to learn from one another
Taylor Rico, Wichita, Kan.: ΧΡΩΜΑ – all natural and customizable makeup line
Jack Setser, Wichita, Kan.: Build-your-own crepe shop, with different flavors of crepes and toppings
Stephanie Vickroy, McPherson, Kan.: Crème de la Crème – cat cafè that pairs with local humane society
Sara Wasko, Hanston, Kan.: App to allow people to easily publish thirty-second videos
Jarad Werner and Seth Coleson, Codell, Kan.: Company that designs a solar-powered drone capable of recharging battery at the same rate at which it is depleted by motor
Victoria Winger, Wellington, Kan.: Skirting Around – business focusing on homemade, custom fit skirts

Horizon Fund at McPherson College Helps Record Number of Students Pursue Their Entrepreneurial Ideas

Horizon Fund recipients at McPherson College are the very definition of “entrepreneur”: creative people who solve problems in an innovative way.

This fall, Horizon Fund recipients presented a record number of ideas to solve problems in the world around them – everything online dating scams to a lack of authentic Mexican candy in the area to people washing their cars the wrong way. The college funded a total of 23 ideas from 23 students in the latest round of grants – about twice that of the previous set of grants in spring 2016.

Since it was introduced in 2010, the fund has given hundreds of grants of up to $500 to McPherson College students to explore making their dreams a reality.

Among the recipients in this round was Jonathan Cox, a freshman from Miami, Fla., who is starting his own car-washing business in McPherson named after his father’s establishment in Florida – “Beauty Buffers.” His business stands out a standard automatic wash or a self-service station, he said, because most car wash businesses do it wrong.

“Most people use soap. My dad and I don’t,” he said. “The reason is it leaves a film that attracts dirt.”

In addition, Cox gives careful, personal attention to each wash – hand-cleaning the vehicles and even making the rubber walls of the tires gleam with a special “tire dressing.”

Cox said he appreciates what the Horizon Fund encourages in him – an entrepreneurial mindset and the freedom to run his own business and set his own hours.

“I think it appeals to people to try new things,” he said. “The college gives students the opportunity to experience new things and see what might interest them.”

Matt Goist, senior, Navarre, Ohio, and Corey Long, senior, McPherson, Kan., plan to create a social campaign to raise awareness about online dating scams. For Goist, in particular, this is a cause that hits home – he was nearly a victim of one such scheme.

“It was very stressful,” Goist said. “I like to think I’m not a naïve person, but the first 30 to 45 minutes – it really scares you. We want to avoid others potentially falling into this.”

Dr. Ken Yohn, professor of history and a member of the Horizon Fund committee, praised Goist and Long for their concept.

“I think your idea meets one of our goals of social entrepreneurship and helping the community,” he said.

Felix Cervantes, a junior from Salinas, Calif., found inspiration in a sweet tooth and a nostalgia for the Mexican candy that he grew up enjoying.

“It just brings me back home,” he said. “The taste of it reminds me of where I come from.”

With few local or regional stores carrying these imported treats, Cervantes sees an opportunity to develop an untapped customer market. He has plenty of friends who also grew up with (and now have a craving for) candy such as “Rebanaditas” – a watermelon-flavored lollipop coated in chili powder.

In addition, he thinks people will be interested in discovering treats that are new to them, especially because Mexican candy tends toward an interesting blend of sweet and spicy. Eventually, he wants to expand into other areas of Mexican goodies, such as bread, fruit, even a popular street food in Mexico called “elote” – corn on the cob garnished with blends that can include chili powder, lemon or lime juice, cheese and sour cream.

Cervantes said he doesn’t think he’d have explored his entrepreneurial idea as seriously if it wasn’t for the Horizon Fund.

“That’s how small businesses start – with one idea,” he said. “From there, you can keep growing & growing.”

Abigayle Morgan, a sophomore from Lansing, Ill., loves working with her hands. To scratch that itch, last summer she started a business called “Old Crank Outlaws.” The venture is about creative home décor reminiscent of Prohibition-era America.

Using vintage found objects, reclaimed wood, and even canning jars, she makes everything from knick-knacks to full-size benches and other furniture to pinstriped decorations (thanks to her boyfriend, Lane Sutterby, a sophomore from Savonburg, Kan., who helps with the venture).

She’s been able to take her work to fairs at a profit, but what she’s enjoyed the most is making connections with other artists and crafters.

“There’s this whole following and culture around vintage markets,” she said. “The people are the best part.”

Without the Horizon Fund, though, she might never have dared to take the first steps toward creating Old Crank Outlaws. It allowed her to make it the focus for her summer work to earn money, rather than just a hobby.

“It’s really nice to have a college that gives you the opportunity to have your own idea and go with it,” she said.

The other recipients of a Horizon Fund grant in this round are:

  • Phil Reinhardt, sophomore, Tenants Harbor, Maine: Expand an independent Amsoil dealership, selling especially to McPherson College automotive restoration students who need the high-quality specialty oil for their classic and antique cars.
  • Micah Gilbert, freshman, Elkhart, Ind.: Continue to explore and expand his interest in photography as a career and hobby. Gilbert plans to use the funds to help pay for a new camera lens.
  • Monica Ewy, senior, Halstead, Kan.: A previous recipient of the Horizon Fund, Ewy plans to continue expanding her “Memory Catcher” photography business, focusing on automotive enthusiasts. She plans to use funds for frames at her senior show as well as digital storage.
  • Danielle Chapman, freshman, Amarillo, Texas: Chapman is creating T-shirt designs, with the intention of using proceeds to help students in need with items they can’t afford, such as groceries or clothing. Funds will go to marketing, packaging, and website development.
  • Ramon Martinez, senior, San Antonio, Texas: Martinez is a photographer who plans to make a business of selling photos to MC athletes and their families. Rather than standard portrait shots, however, he wants to capture the in-game moments of a winning shot or a touchdown pass.
  • Jacob San Martin, junior, Perris, Calif.: With a steady hand and an artist’s eye, San Martin is keeping an old art form vibrant – pinstriping. He’s planning a business to add pinstriping to hot rods and custom vehicles, as well as providing lettering and gold leaf services.
  • Tyler Depperschmidt, freshman, Wichita, Kan.: With a business called “Treehouse Clothing,” Depperschmidt plans to create T-Shirts with designs that offer nostalgia for the freedom and joy of childhood.
  • Kylee Martin, freshman, Colby, Kan.: Martin wants to create a dance studio on campus, focusing on families with children ages 5 to 16. Classes may include ballet, jazz, tap, or Zumba. The Horizon Fund grant will help with a sound system, promotion and materials for classes.
  • Corey Long, senior, McPherson, Kan.: Millennials have value to offer the working world, and Long wants to highlight that with a new collaborative blog and podcast website. The plan is to help people of his generation to help and encourage each other in realizing their dreams.
  • Nathaniel Buckler, junior, La Grange, Ill.: Seeing a need for affordable, reliable, and quick automotive service work, Buckler is planning to start his own car shop serving the McPherson area. The grant will help with shop materials, including a new car jack and a locking cabinet.
  • Barrett “Bear” Breitenbucher, junior, La Grange, Ill.: Rusty Peach Restoration is already an existing business for Breitenbucher, offering everything from oil changes to full restorations. He is now working to raise the professional look of Rusty Peach, with business cards, a business sign, and branded work shirts.
  • Eli Minson, freshman, Topeka, Kan.: With “Kicksclusive,” Minson plans to start up a local sneaker shop with a focus on limited edition and exclusive shoes to appeal to fashion-conscious consumers, collectors, and “sneaker-heads.”
  • Jordyn Lipe, senior, Hutchinson, Kan.: Bees are a critical part of agricultural ecosystems, as they are important pollinators in addition to providing honey. Lipe plans to help stave off the phenomenon of “hive collapse” with bee-friendly gardens on campus as well as “bee hotels” that would offer nesting habitat for wild populations.
  • Jared Whitten, senior, Topeka, Kan.: Whitten is developing his mobile DJing company to provide music and entertainment for event of all kinds. While he’s focused on Hip Hop and R&B styles, he plans to meet the needs of each client with a variety of genres.
  • Jared Thurston, sophomore, Wichita, Kan.: Working on vintage cars is Thurston’s plan, offering everything from basic maintenance to more involved restorations at an affordable rate. The grant will help him to expand his shop equipment and tools.
  • Austin Ehret, senior, Cape Neddick, Maine: Ehret plans to serve the motorcycle enthusiast, building one-of-a-kind custom bikes as well as parts made to order for a particular need. The grant will help him with purchasing shop equipment.
  • Jeromy Denton, senior, Mesa, Ariz.: Denton says “I live with a camera on me,” and is working on a photography business focused on serving “outdoorsy” people such as hunters and fishers. He also plans to shoot weddings and other life events. The grant will help him with a new lens and business cards.
  • Channing Wall, senior, McPherson, Kan.: Wall wants to help create a common marketplace where crafty and creative people can come together to share and sell their products – similar to Etsy or the planned “Mac Marketplace” at MC.
  • Allie Hicks, senior, Keller, Texas: This is the second Horizon Fund grant that Hicks has received for her campus and community campaign called “I Respect You” – designed to foster understanding and respect among different groups, especially in areas of controversy.

To learn more about entrepreneurship at McPherson College, visit

McPherson College’s ‘Horizon Faculty Fellow’ Program Encourages Entrepreneurial Mindset Across Curriculum

Natural science, automotive restoration, education, and athletics are probably not the first subject to come to mind at the word “Entrepreneurship.”

But the “Horizon Faculty Fellowship” program at McPherson College continues to prove that characteristics of great entrepreneurs – creativity, innovation, perseverance – are not limited to a single major or career.

That’s because the four professors receiving this year’s fellowship come from fields precisely as diverse as natural science, automotive restoration, education, and athletics.

Michael Dudley, assistant professor of technology, was recently named one of the 2016-2017 fellows, and said he’s had the opportunity to see a spark in students when they “get” what entrepreneurship can do for their education and career.

“New ideas can be invigorating,” he said. “When that ‘light bulb’ in my head goes off, it creates a mixture of excitement and passion to move on to the next step.

This is what I love about teaching. When I see the flicker of light in a student’s eyes indicating that they really grasp what I have been explaining, it fuels my passion to keep teaching.”

The fellowship program is one part of McPherson College’s entrepreneurship initiative, which started in 2010 to incorporate entrepreneurship across the campus. Horizon Faculty Fellows receive resources to incorporate entrepreneurial concepts into an existing class or to start a new entrepreneurial class. Part of this support is regular training sessions, which include current and past fellows. These sessions include discussions around literature and case study readings as well as reports on their own work integrating entrepreneurship into a class. They also are mentored by other MC professors who have been through the program.

Dudley will be adjusting his existing “Advanced Trim” class to add more real-world visits and experiences. He plans to encourage his students to explore the ways that the skills they gain with fabrics could apply outside of owning an automotive trim shop. For example, they could work as a historical researcher for restorers, or they could take their skills and make other items – such as handcrafted purses.

Jodi Ehling, assistant professor of physical education, is another of this year’s fellows. Learning about how to teach entrepreneurship at MC is a privilege and responsibility, she said.

“To become the best educator that I can be, I have to be willing to learn about aspects that are important to our college’s uniqueness,” she said. “If we, as a college, are going to ask our students to explore the entrepreneurial mindset, then I feel it is important for me to prepare myself with the background knowledge.”

Ehling is currently planning to incorporate entrepreneurship into a new Personal Training course that is going to be offered at McPherson College. It may combine well with other areas of study at MC, she said. For example, for someone studying child development, it could help them come up with ways to keep kids physically active.

Dr. Jonathan Frye, professor of natural science, is planning to incorporate more entrepreneurship into a course that has been at MC since 2007 – “Science in Society.” It focuses on fundamentals of natural science, how science leads to the development of technology, and the ethics surrounding these fields.

He will be adding a new major assignment to the course, where teams will work independently to identify a social problem, recognize how science and technology relate to the problem, and propose an entrepreneurial solution.

“The entrepreneurship initiative at McPherson College has been most successful when it has challenged students and faculty to propose and develop sustainable ventures,” Dr. Frye said. “This forces us to realize the scope of the work and the investment of time and energy required.”

Vicki Schmidt, assistant professor of education, will be working across departmental lines as a part of her fellowship, as she makes her “Elementary Science Methods” class more collaborative and applicable to real-life classrooms. Schmidt is working with Dr. Dustin Wilgers, assistant professor of biology, to have students in her class work with those in his “Stewardship Seminar” class.

The plan is that students in both classes will work together to develop hands-on lessons for elementary age students to learn more about the environment. The students will ultimately present the lessons in area elementary schools and assess their effectiveness. The classes will make the resulting full unit on environmental science available for area teachers to check out for use in elementary school classrooms.

Schmidt said that she’s been impressed by the entrepreneurial spirit of the McPherson College faculty and wants to help continue to feed the flame.

“This entrepreneurship among faculty and the spirit with which it influences their work and ultimately the work of their students can be compared to smoldering fire,” she said. “Left alone, it would most likely extinguish itself. But with even a small breath of oxygen, it builds and grows larger.”

Horizon Fund at McPherson College Gives Students Cash Grants to Explore Great Entrepreneurial Ideas

An innovative electronic duck call, a coffee table created from an engine transmission, and a goal to start a new volunteer venture in order to compete in the Miss Kansas Pageant – all dreams that could come true thanks to the Horizon Fund at McPherson College.

The spring round of grants for the entrepreneurship fund for students at MC is providing cash grants to 11 students with 10 creative and innovative ideas. Since it was introduced in 2010, the fund has given hundreds of grants of up to $500 to students to explore making their dreams a reality.

The Horizon Fund grant has been a long-term and sustainable benefit offered to students at MC thanks to help from the McPherson Chamber of Commerce, which has provided a $5,000 grant for the Horizon Fund under the chamber’s Entrepreneurship Loan Committee. Jennifer Burch, executive director for the chamber, said she was pleased that the grant to the Horizon Fund was approved.

Hunter Sury, Katy, Texas, freshman, was one of the beneficiaries. He received a Horizon Fund grant to develop a unique electronic duck call with a unique and convenient method to activate it. The concept occurred to him after he went duck hunting for the first time.

“I realized we were missing a lot of ducks because we had to take time for calling,” he said.

Sury said he wasn’t sure what to think about the Horizon Fund at first, but the experience sold him on the fund’s value.

“You can pursue your own ideas,” he said. “If it doesn’t go big, it’s just a good experience of how the world works.”

James Virzi, senior, Oswego, Ill., is using his Horizon Fund grant to combine his interests in cars and in artistic creation. The idea came originally from, first, needing a coffee table and – eureka! – turning an engine transmission he had lying around into one.

He’s since considered how to apply the general concept of turning all manner of car parts into different home furnishings – end tables, lamps, and maybe even a chandelier.

“Instead of scrapping the old parts for next to nothing,” he said, “turn it into a nice piece of artwork or furniture.”

The committee responded enthusiastically and positively to Virzi’s venture concept, which he’s calling “Cranky’s Furniture.” A Horizon Fund committee member even purchased one of Virzi’s lamps on-the-spot.

Virzi said the value of the Horizon Fund extends beyond the grant check. It’s about building networks in the community and with other Horizon Fund students, as well as prompting students to see entrepreneurial opportunities when they come.

“When people see that opportunity, I think it triggers their creativity and they come up with ways to better themselves,” Virzi said. “There’s no other way but to see it as an opportunity.”

Other recipients of a Horizon Fund grant in the spring round were:

  • Michael Janzer, junior, Peyton, Colo.: Expand his existing Book Buyback business, which is designed to get college students more money for selling back textbooks in exchange for a wait of a few weeks while it’s sold online.
  • Allie Hicks, junior, Keller, Texas: Launch a campus and community-wide campaign called “I Respect You” which is designed to promote understanding and respect, especially in areas of controversy.
  • Miguel Luna Sanchez, junior, Salina, Calif.: Sanchez is working to provide free haircuts to his fellow students as a community benefit. The grant will help him to purchase and upgrade his equipment.
  • James Wasson, freshman, Hookstown, Penn.: Wasson plans to start and to print an automotive magazine with a deeper focus and smaller sticker price than similar magazines currently on the market.
  • Grant Barrett, freshman, McPherson, Kan.: Barrett is working to create a music studio for creative musicians on the McPherson College campus. The grant will help with the purchase of equipment for the studio.
  • Joel Kellogg, junior, Muncie, Ind.: Kellogg is working to expand an existing screen-printing business with a printer of his own for convenience and to save on business expense.
  • Susan Forgie, freshman, Wichita, Kan.: Forgie is starting a community service platform called “Be True, Be YOU!” that will be used to support those struggling with their identity and issues of depression. The venture will be central in her bid to compete in the 2017 Miss Kansas pageant.
  • Nathan Buckler, sophomore, La Grange, Ill., and Barrett Breitenbucher, sophomore, La Grange, Ill.: “Rusty Peach Restoration” will be a new partnership business providing automotive restoration services at an affordable price. The fund will help them restore their first vehicle as a showcase piece.

Learn more about entrepreneurship at McPherson College at

Jump Start Kansas at McPherson College Gives Grants to Entrepreneurial High School Students

A 3-D scanner for cars, a unique food truck, a drone registration venture, and a traveling Yoga studio may sound like ideas experienced entrepreneurs would pitch to venture capitalists.

On Tuesday, March 1, however, the entrepreneurs were teenagers and the “investor” was McPherson College in the annual Jump Start Kansas competition.

McPherson College started Jump Start Kansas in 2012 as a part of its entrepreneurship initiative, which fosters the entrepreneurial mindset of innovation, creativity and daring in its students – regardless of major.

Because MC believes entrepreneurs come in all forms, in all careers, and at basically any age, Jump Start Kansas was established to encourage and reward high school entrepreneurs with grants of up to $500 for them to explore and develop their ideas.

This year, McPherson College received more than 60 ideas, of which 22 students (with 20 proposals) were invited to campus to pitch their concepts and have a shot at one of the no-strings-attached cash rewards.

Michael Schneider, President of McPherson College, pointed around the room as he welcomed the finalists to campus, indicating some of the faculty who were judges from across the educational curriculum – business, history, science, art.

Schneider, who started early as an entrepreneur and always worked for small organizations, told the students he knew some people in their lives wouldn’t understand their ideas and entrepreneurship. But that’s not the case at MC.

“I get it, and we get it at McPherson College,” he said. “You all should attend college, whether or not it is McPherson.”

Lina Saulters of Topeka, Kan., was one of the finalists who presented Tuesday with her business idea of “B.G. House” or “Boxing Gym House.” Saulters said she’s learned self-control and stress release from boxing.

“It is a way to control your nerves, to balance what’s out of balance,” she said. “You have to know who you’re fighting against, and sometimes it’s yourself.”

Autumn Blomberg of Wichita, Kan., proposed a unique food truck concept called “Munchie Mania” which would sport a design similar to the “Mystery Machine” van familiar to anyone who has ever seen the “Scooby-Doo” cartoon. In addition to daily soup and sandwich specials for customers to mix and match, she would also offer snacks of unlikely food combinations – such as a shake and French fries or pickles and peanut butter (the duo that spurred Blomberg’s idea). She expects that word of mouth will provide much of her advertising.

“They’re going to bring back their friends and say, ‘This seems really weird, but you’ve got to try this,’” Blomberg said.

Schneider encouraged the finalists to be vigilant and chase their passions.

“I hope you keep going,” he said. “I want you to keep pursuing your ideas. Every single one of you inspired me. Not only do you have great ideas, but you’re pursuing them in such a smart way.”

Dr. Ken Yohn, professor of history, was one of the judges for Jump Start Kansas and said he loves meeting young entrepreneurs

“I love it when students get to talk about dreams,” Yohn said. “We’re in the dream business.”

In addition to Saulters and Blomberg, the finalists for Jump Start Kansas were:

  • Kaleigh Hughes, Bel-Aire, Kan.: Denim Destroyer – a custom clothing business where customers select an item of denim clothing and the item is “destroyed” or distressed to the customer’s specifications to result in a unique piece of fashionable clothing.
  • Ubaldo Mendez, Dodge City, Kan.: Mendez plans to start a heating and air conditioning (HVAC) business serving Southwest Kansas, but with a special focus of serving non-English speaking communities. He will begin with Spanish-speakers and eventually plans to expand into K’iche (a Mayan language of Guatemala) and Swahili (spoken in many countries of Southeast Africa).
  • Zane Storlie, Haysville, Kan.: Start an home video editing service focused on serving small businesses or individuals with a limited budget.
  • Vanessa Ramirez, Independence, Mo.: Develop 3-D glasses for movies that will allow non-English speakers to be able to see subtitles in their own language only for them, so it will not creating a distraction to other movie-goers.
  • Sierra Cargill, Isabel, Kan.: The Glam Shack is an existing boutique store carrying clothing and jewelry that Cargill is planning to develop on a larger scale.
  • Jhavea Dunlap, Kansas City, Mo.: Plans to start a business selling her home-made jewelry, with 10 percent of her profits going to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation. She is naming the business “Lizzy’s Jewels” after her grandmother, who passed away.
  • Kaleigh Cobb, Liberal, Kan.,: Create an online “Bowtique” where customers can purchase unique hair bows.
  • Rashida Davis, Liberal, Kan.: A business selling smoothie drinks made only from fresh fruit.
  • Isaac Wilson, Maize, Kan.: Create a mobile app called “Grocery Tracker” that uses GPS to guide customers to the location of groceries and other products to their location on the shelf in stores.
  • Cole Leister, Salina, Kan.: FiveUp – an advertising business using surveys on Facebook not only to advertise, but also to give his clients more information about their consumers.
  • Leister and Tanner Vanamburg, Salina, Kan.: Create and sell custom-printed registration numbers for remote-control drones, now that the Federal Aviation administration has recently begun requiring drones to be registered and the number displayed on the device.
  • Shelby Bonn, Shawnee, Kan.: Shelby plans to create a “car scanner” which would be able to both X-ray the inside of a car and create a 3-D scan of it to spot damage a vehicle down to 2mm.
  • Angelica-Aveé J. Brown, Topeka, Kan.: “Simply Aveé” – a business selling unique, handcrafted, crocheted blankets and hand-made fleece Teddy bears.
  • Mikayla Shields, Topeka, Kan.: A business to creatively display poetry as an artistic wall-hanging to give as a present for any occasion.
  • Micah Carey, Dante Bonomini, and Mac Trible, Whitewater, Kan.: Develop a product called the “Towl Rack” which quickly dries bath or hand towels to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Devin Brady, Wichita, Kan.: Develop an app called InfoPic that will allow people to take a picture on their cell phone of any item and quickly find useful information about it by comparing the image to existing pictures already on the Internet.
  • Jaydon Marquez, Wichita, Kan.: Start an app and connected business called “Truck for a Buck” connecting people who own pickups or other vehicles with towing room to rent their services out to those who need a small moving job.
  • Cheyenne Thompson, Wichita, Kan.: Namaste – a traveling yoga studio that travels to customers, allowing them to decide when and where they practice yoga.