6/19/2014 8:52:48 AM

The Business Review: CommerceHub awards scholarships to entrepreneurial students

The Business Review

Ashley Johnston created an adjustable prosthetic foot for children while she was studying mechanical engineering and playing Division I hockey at Union College in Schenectady, New York.

Johnston's work grabbed the attention of the NCAA, which selected her as one of four student-athletes to participate in its second Final Four Innovation summit. Johnston also caught the attention of CommerceHub.

The Albany-based software company offered Johnston, a 21-year-old from Burlington, Ontario, a $5,000 scholarship and a paid internship, which she'll complete this summer before moving on to the next phase of her education as a graduate student studying biomedical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. Johnston graduated last week from Union College, a private college in Schenectady.

Frank Poore, CommerceHUB CEO, created the scholarship program to encourage entrepreneurial students from Albany area colleges to remain in the region after graduation. Though Albany area colleges graduate more than 9,000 students each year, many head to larger cities with more access to investors and venture capital and a more established entrepreneurial networks to start careers. More than 100 students with connections to the Albany area applied for the scholarship.

CommerceHub also gave a scholarship and offered a paid internship to Devin Breen, a graduate student at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering in Albany. Breen, a 29-year-old from Bethlehem, New York, received an undergraduate degree from University at Albany in human music in 2009 and worked for about five years before enrolling at the nanocollege. This spring, Breen placed third in the nanotechnology track at the New York State Business Plan Competition.

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