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MASS AWIS I-Corps Spark Event

Thursday, November 19, 2020 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

This is a FREE virtual event for AWIS members as well as non-members. To register click here.


Presently, there have been 300+ teams that have completed the regional I-Corps Spark program across New England. Spark —  led by the New England Regional Innovation Node, housed at MIT —  is a free 3-week program to help researchers and engineers in New England explore the potential applications of their new deep technologies.


This session is designed to have 2 different but successful founders share their paths leading up to the I-Corps Spark program, their Lessons Learned, and overall experience. These teams will also talk about their experiences after the Spark program— including how to apply for an additional $50,000 grant from the National Science Foundation I-Corps national program— and also share some additional anecdotes along the way.



Moderator:  Philip Loew

Philip started out his career in Financial Services at JP Morgan Chase’s Investment Bank. Soon after, he caught the entrepreneurial bug and was one of the founding members of the NYC Regional Innovation Node working on the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program whose mission was and continues to be helping academic teams commercialize their research. During his time at NYCRIN, he has worked with many entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country, most notably in Northeast. This ecosystem included many academic institutions and several accelerators, incubators, and Fortune 500 companies. 

He now has the distinct pleasure of working with all the brilliant minds at MIT to similarly help build out its I-Corps program in the New England region.



Milan Minsky

Milan was an undergraduate at MIT, and did her Masters at the MIT Lab for Computer Science with Professor Steve Ward. She earned a PhD for work on blue LED materials at UCSB, and spent a year as a Sloan Fellow at the MIT Sloan School of Business. She brings extensive experience in venture backed startups as a founder, or early employee, managing teams to build innovative products. Prior to co-founding Leela AI, a startup building a new kind of AI, she co-founded RayVio, a startup commercializing UV LED technology for disinfection.


Chelsea Catania

Chelsea Catania received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara in Materials Science, where she studied the effects of designer molecules on bacteria for microbial fuel cells. She came to MIT for her postdoc position in Cullen Buie’s lab in the Mechanical Engineering department, to employ electrochemical and electrical techniques to explore the gut microbiome and physically manipulate bacteria. She served as the MIT Microbiome Club president during the 2018-2019 academic year and co-founded to Boston Microbiome Meetup group, which became a source of inspiration for an idea she hopes to develop for translation. She completed the NSF I-Corps program in the summer of 2020 and is now working with Prof. Ariel Furst in the Chemical Engineering department with funding from the MIT Deshpande Center to develop a method to protect microbes from stresses during manufacturing processes and improve viability of living biotherapeutics.

MASS AWIS I-Corps Spark Event


Thursday, November 19, 2020
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:

MASS AWIS is the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association for Women in Sciences. Our mission is to support women in all scientific fields and to achieve equity and full participation for women in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology. Our events and membership are open for the public regardless of their gender, professional background, or career level.