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Galen Kane researches bryophytes in Costa Rica.

Galen Kane researches bryophytes in Costa Rica.

During a family kayaking trip, industrial design student Galen Kane got the inspiration for an entrepreneurial opportunity: the need for a better product to refill their water supply.

Bryo System

Galen Kane is pursuing a patent for his Bryo System.

“My uncle had a ceramic filter, and we quickly realized how inconvenient it was to operate,” he recalled. With that in mind, the 2015 graduate designed the Bryo System water collection and filtration bottle for his senior capstone project.

With support from the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience, Kane studied how natural ecosystems filter water on a 10-day trip to Costa Rica. On the research trip, Kane was struck by the way various bryophytes, or mosses, were able to pull water through their leaves. He incorporated this concept into his water bottle design by developing a microfiber cloth that quickly filters groundwater siphoned up into the bottle’s reservoir.

Kane’s unique design was featured at the Celebration of Innovation student innovation exhibition and PhilaU Showcase of senior design projects, where Kane was one of five students selected to further develop his product with private coaching sessions from the University’s Blackstone LaunchPad. “My ultimate goal is to bring the idea to market,” Kane said. He’s currently pursuing a patent with the help of a patent attorney he was introduced to through the LaunchPad.

Learn more about the Bryo System on Kane’s website.

early prototyping

The Bryo System in an early prototyping stage.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. Stay tuned for the next post in The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures.

Check out other student and alumni features:
Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel Create Unique Surfboards
Matt Cook Brings Form and Function to Urban Backpacks
Morgan Berman Designs My MilkCrate App for Sustainable Living
Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang Plan to Serve On-The-Go Pho

Galen Kane in Costa Rica

Galen Kane’s research trip to Costa Rica was funded by the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience.

Winning red dress designs (left to right) were designed by students Maria D’Agostino and Sydney White.

Winning red dress designs (left to right) were designed by students Maria D’Agostino and Sydney White.

The three winning PhilaU student designs from the American Heart Association’s spring fashion show are now on display in a Macy’s Center City window until the end of July.

The stunning red gowns, created by fashion design students Maria D’Agostino, Sydney White and Lori Petrashune, are the product of an annual collaboration between Philadelphia University and the American Heart Association to raise awareness about women’s heart health.

Read more.

This winning red dress was made by Lori Petrashune.

This winning red dress was made by Lori Petrashune.

Bob Kunik ’53

Bob Kunik ’53

Philadelphia University sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of alumnus Bob Kunik ’53, who passed away June 26, 2015.

Bob, winner of the 2013 Leadership in Philanthropy Award, was a generous supporter of Philadelphia University and played an instrumental role in helping the University continue to deliver innovative higher education to its students. His donations include major contributions to the Kanbar Campus Center (the Kunik Family Plaza outside the building is named for the Kunik family), the Tuttleman Center (where a beautiful fountain commemorates his marriage to Betty Kunik) and the DEC Center.

The Kunik family will be holding a memorial service honoring Bob’s legacy in the late summer or early fall of 2015.

“Philadelphia University did well by me, and gave me the tools for a great future,” Bob told Innovator Magazine in 2013 about the motivation behind his giving.

A graduate of the textile engineering program, Bob worked as a textile fiber salesman for Jack Eisenberg and Sons in New York. He later joined George Hepworth Company in Philadelphia as a partner. In 1960, Bob started R.J. Kunik & Co., Inc. The company, now called Consolidated Fibers, Inc., remains successful and is run by his son, Bob, Jr.

Though he enjoyed much success in his business career, to Bob, family always came first. In 2013, he recounted to Innovator how he met his wife, Betty, in 1948 at a YMCA dance on Atlantic City’s Pacific Avenue, shortly before being deployed to the Korean War. “I asked her if she wanted to get married. She said, ‘Sure,’ just like that. It was one of the wackiest things I had ever done, asking that question just as I’ve been given orders to go to war. It was a question which would mean six children and a wonderful marriage of 63 years.”

Bob loved golfing, vacationing at Stone Harbor, N.J., and fishing.

He will be missed and remembered fondly at Philadelphia University.

Karen Albert, Paul J. Gutman Library director, accepts the Carla J. Funk Governmental Relations Award.

Karen Albert (right), Paul J. Gutman Library director, accepts the Carla J. Funk Governmental Relations Award.

Karen Albert, Paul J. Gutman Library director, was honored with the Carla J. Funk Governmental Relations Award for her outstanding contributions to the field of health sciences librarianship.

The award, established in 2008, recognizes a medical librarian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the area of governmental relations at the federal, state or local level, and who has furthered the goal of providing quality information for improved health.

Albert was honored with a cash award of $500 and a certificate of achievement at the Medical Library Association’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas, on May 18.

Pho

Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang’s original pho recipe combines elements of their family recipes. Photo credit: Jessica Kim

After they graduate from PhilaU, budding entrepreneurs Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang plan to open a Vietnamese noodle soup restaurant, Pho me, Pho you, Pho us, in nearby Manayunk. Their business premise: offer an on-the-go version of the popular pho that will be suited to the busy lifestyle of young professionals.

Nguyen, a rising senior business management major, and Dang, a rising junior fashion merchandising and management major, both of Vietnamese heritage, said their passion for sharing their family recipes and their intended location will be key to their business success. “We both wanted to bring our homemade pho to a place where we knew it would thrive,” Nguyen said. “Manayunk is known for having great food lovers.”

Jonny Nguyen prepares a fresh pot of his original pho recipe. Photo credit: Jessica Kim

The team recently earned third place and $100 at a student business pitch competition sponsored by PhilaU Blackstone LaunchPad. They used the prize money to perfect their pho recipe. With a catchy title for their restaurant already selected, continued product development and market research will be the team’s next steps. “We want to let our fellow classmates taste it on campus first before selling to a bigger audience,” he said.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures, continues July 1 with a story on recent industrial design alumnus Galen Kane’s innovative water collection and filtration bottle.

Check out other student and alumni features:
Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel Create Unique Surfboards
Matt Cook Brings Form and Function to Urban Backpacks
Morgan Berman Designs My MilkCrate App for Sustainable Living
Galen Kane Designs a Better Water-Filtering Bottle

Let’s say you wanted to live more sustainably, but could use some help finding local businesses and services that supported your values. That’s exactly what Morgan Berman ’14 was thinking when she came up with My MilkCrate, a mobile app designed to help users quickly locate sustainable businesses, as her master’s thesis for her M.S. in Sustainable Design.

Morgan Berman created MilkCrate for her master's thesis in sustainable design.

Morgan Berman created MilkCrate for her master’s thesis in sustainable design.

In less than two years, Berman has grown her innovative idea into a local business with six full-time and three part-time paid staff. My MilkCrate, which allows users to access companies’ sustainability ratings, is available for download on Apple and Android mobile devices.

When her business was in its early stages, Berman relied on Blackstone LaunchPad resources, such as coaching sessions with director Zoe McKinley to prepare for funding pitches. Berman was one of just five entrepreneurs nationwide selected to vie for start-up funding at the influential Forbes Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia last October. Read more.

“Zoe was a wonderful early adviser to me, helping me question our revenue streams, our value proposition and the way I presented to investors,” Berman said. “She also introduced me early on to someone who became one of our first investors.”

Morgan Berman, center, with her staff.

Morgan Berman, center, with her staff.

My MilkCrate is in the process of expanding. It had a soft launch at the end of April in Denver, where My MilkCrate so far has about 100 listings. The company is actively growing databases in Boston, Washington, D.C., and Asheville, N.C.

My MilkCrate has been featured in Bloomberg News, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Technical.ly Philly, the Philadelphia Daily News and on NBC10.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures, continues June 29 with a story on business students Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang and their plans for a local pho restaurant aimed at young professionals on the go.

Check out other PhilaU Entrepreneur stories:
Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel Create Unique Surfboards
Matt Cook Brings Form and Function to Urban Backpacks
Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang Plan to Serve On-The-Go Pho
Galen Kane Designs a Better Water-Filtering Bottle

MilkCrate

MilkCrate allows users to access companies’ sustainability ratings.

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Matt Cook constructs a backpack for his line of backpacks and soft goods.

Matt Cook’s collection of streetwear-inspired backpacks and other soft goods were a hit at the 2015 PhilaU Showcase senior design show. His Raaf collection—taken from the name of a Dutch street artist—was selected as one of five winning projects to get one-on-one business development time with PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad.

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Cook’s Raaf line is fashionable and functional.

As a designer, Cook’s collection is fashionable as well as functional. Now he’s aiming to take his business to the next level and bring his products to market.

His project also received support from the Eileen Martinson ’86 Fund for the Undergraduate Capstone Experience, which paid for a two-week trip to China to visit manufacturers and material markets and connect with sourcing partners.

The industrial design graduate credits exceptional faculty members such as Todd Kramer ’03 and PhilaU’s entrepreneurial support with helping him work toward his goal of starting his own business. The 2015 graduate recently accepted a position as a soft goods designer for the global firm Supremia in Plainsboro, N.J.

Check out his work at www.mattcookdesign.com.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures, continues June 26 with a story on 2014 sustainable design alumna Morgan Berman’s app to promote sustainable, local living.

Check out other student and alumni features:
Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel Create Unique Surfboards
Morgan Berman Designs My MilkCrate App for Sustainable Living
Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang Plan to Serve On-The-Go Pho
Galen Kane Designs a Better Water-Filtering Bottle

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Cook’s edgy Raaf collection is named after a Dutch street artist.

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Matt Cook works on prototypes in the PhilaU industrial design lab.

Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

PhilaU industrial design alumni Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel handcraft surfboards for their business, Rodeobird. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

As undergraduates, industrial design students Morgan Gaumann and Colin Hansel turned their love of surfing into a capstone project—and then, with help from PhilaU’s Blackstone LaunchPad, into a full-fledged business. Now, more than a year out of PhilaU, the two continue to run Rodeobird—building one-of-a-kind surfboards designed for East Coast waves—out of a Kensington-based warehouse just north of Center City.

Colin Hansel (left) and Morgan Gaumann present Rodeobird at the 2014 PhilaU senior showcase.

Colin Hansel (left) and Morgan Gaumann present Rodeobird at the 2014 PhilaU senior showcase.

Reaching customers through word-of-mouth, a boutique N.J. surf shop and sponsorship of seven surfers, the partners work full-time in design jobs while continuing to build their reputations and sales and improve their products. Their handmade boards, tailored for each surfer, take up to four days to make, including drying time, and sell for a competitively priced $500 to $1,000. They are working on expanding into a lifestyle brand, designing apparel such as graphic T-shirts.

“I grew up surfing on the East Coast,” Hansel said. “The waves are different here than on the West Coast, we have shorter rides.”

Determined to stay on the leading edge of innovation, Rodeobird’s founders continue to research and test different materials and composites to improve their surfboards and move toward using 100-percent recyclable materials. See more on their Facebook page.

Read more about Philadelphia University’s startup culture here. The PhilaU Entrepreneurs, a series of profiles on student and alumni business ventures, continues June 24 with a story on 2015 industrial design alumnus Matt Cook’s collection of streetwear-inspired backpacks.

Check out other student and alumni features:
Matt Cook Brings Form and Function to Urban Backpacks
Morgan Berman Designs My MilkCrate App for Sustainable Living
Jonny Nguyen and Christopher Dang Plan to Serve On-The-Go Pho
Galen Kane Designs a Better Water-Filtering Bottle

Colin Hansel constructs a surfboard. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

Colin Hansel constructs a Rodeobird surfboard. Photo credit: Colin Hansel.

Log in to Facebook to watch a video of Rodeobird surfer Jason Marks in action.

The PhilaU Blackstone LaunchPad is helping students and alumni reach their entrepreneurial dreams, Technical.ly Philly reported June 21.

Jeff Ashley, professor of chemistry, discussed his research on flame retardants in childrens’ car seats in a June 21 Philadelphia Inquirer article on toxic chemicals in car seats.  Ashley said it’s “upsetting to see that these chemicals have proven to be a concern, and why are we still putting them into products, and why are we not told as consumers that they’re in there?”