January 22, 2024
New partnerships with clean tech companies and more reflect growing student interest and talent.
SCOPE (Senior Capstone Program in Engineering), a year-long, senior-year course with a focus on real-world learning, is bringing on more sustainability industry partners to meet students’ growing interest in this globally significant concern.
SCOPE is a culminating experience in which senior students work in multi-disciplinary teams to provide innovative solutions to a company’s real-world problems. These industry partners pay a sponsorship fee of $60,000 to engage Olin faculty and students and their cutting-edge technological and critical thinking skills.
Ruth Levine, director of strategic industry partnership at Olin, has fostered a number of important relationships with SCOPE sponsors across fields. Given students’ strong interest in sustainability both academically and personally, Levine has worked with Olin’s external programs and partnerships team, actively looking for environmental and sustainability company partners to leverage these growing skills, including exploring Olin’s relationships with Greentown Labs, the largest ClimateTech startup incubator in North America.
“I am really pleased with the SCOPE sponsors this year,” says Sarah Bloomer, visiting professor of design and academic director of SCOPE. “The students are excited about the projects, and I also feel that these companies—well-funded second- or late-stage startups who are willing to pay our sponsorship fee to help them solve essential problems—demonstrate the value of working with Olin students.”
One such partner is Sparkcharge, a leader in mobile electric vehicle charging solutions currently serving more than 380 markets across the U.S. In looking to develop the next generation of charging stations that function in a wide range of environmental conditions, Sparkcharge is working with Olin students on a retrofittable solution to one of their current systems to eliminate vulnerabilities during severe weather.
“While the SCOPE program offers a constellation of opportunities, Sparkcharge adds a type of project that, given what the world needs, our students are excited about,” says Lawrence Neeley, associate professor of design and entrepreneurship and faculty advisor for the Sparkcharge project. “There’s an energy associated with both being a startup while operating in a critically important space for where we are in the world addressing climate change. The Sparkcharge project is an exciting and challenging space to work—students can see potential benefits of the work they put into their project.”
“We're developing something that doesn't otherwise exist, which really inspires me,” says Carlo Umberto Colizzi ’24, a member of the Sparkcharge SCOPE team. “I'm passionate about innovation in general, pushing the limits of what is achievable with today's technology, and I think we're doing good work with that. I think we are creating a product that will be staying in the industry for a while.”
Some of the other sustainability and climate change SCOPE partnerships include:
- Avalanche Energy, who is working on new electrostatic confinement technology to make a benchtop nuclear fusion generator
- LineVision, who provide analytics to solve critical grid issues, designed to optimize efficiency, sustainability and resiliency
- Semtech, a high-performance semiconductor, IoT systems and Cloud connectivity service provider that is aiming to solve the extreme weather-based problem of frozen pipes in warmer climates by upgrading existing plumbing systems with intelligent sensing and action-taking
Sparkcharge has been accepted to Elemental Excelerator’s Cohort 12, a nonprofit investor in climate technology; they received a $1 million investment. LineVision and Sparkcharge were both nominated for awards in the Climate Tech Academy from the New England Venture Capital Association’s (NEVCA) 11th Annual NEVY Awards, which recognize and celebrate top innovators, investors, and companies in the region.