The Generator - Student Stories

mason royal - student

Mason Royal

As an active student in UNA’s Generator Club, Mason was introduced to Venture for America as a student attending the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama meeting in Birmingham. Venture for America is a very competitive two-year fellowship program for recent graduates who want to work at startups and create jobs in American cities. Inspired by the words of the organization’s founder, Andrew Yang, he applied for the program. Mason was successful in getting to the final in-person interview stage in New York, being one of the only students from a small regional university. Although he was not chosen to go forward, Mason credits the opportunity to the unique student engagement opportunities that UNA afforded him as an undergraduate.

bryan gonzales - student

Bryan Gonzales

As President of the Generator Club at UNA, Bryan has an inquisitive mind. Intrigued by the facility’s 3D printer, he quickly became the resident expert on the device when it came to using it to develop early stage prototypes. Recognizing a problem with moisture levels in relation to the filament printing materials, he developed a device used to both dry and store the filament. Bryan pitched his idea at the recent Shoals Alabama Launchpad and received $15,000 to support his project. In addition, the Project Founder initiative has provided Bryan with $500 to pursue the potential viability in the market.

ryan mason - student

Ryan Mason

As a UNA Innovation Fellow, Ryan Mason travelled with a group of students to Stanford University’s D-School, the Google campus, and other places of innovation in Silicon Valley. This inspired Ryan to launch two business ventures – Luxe Brand and Bizz Buzz. Luxe Brand is a manufacturer of designer lambskin shoelaces and Bizz Buzz is a social media marketing B2B company. He was successful in receiving early stage funding for Luxe Brand through the Shoals Alabama Launchpad pitch competition while still an undergraduate student. His other business, Bizz Buzz, is now generating enough revenue to sustain his lifestyle.

simone fells - student

Simone Fells

A resident of New York, Simone came to UNA to study Culinary Arts. She became an early member of the Generator Student Business Incubator, where she launched her business, Delights by Mo – a catering company specializing in cupcakes. In 2016, Simone formed a Limited Liability Company and registered Delights by Mo.

grace piper - student

Grace Piper

Innovation Fellow Grace Piper is an Arts and Sciences undergraduate with an Innovation and Entrepreneurship minor. She is a founding member of The Generator and has assisted many students and group in the development of their businesses. In addition, Grace is serving as a Daniel Foundation Fellow, a fellowship sponsored by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama that places student interns with businesses within the community. Grace received a placement assisting a local Fitness Center with their Social Media presence.

sydney strickland - student

Sydney Strickland

Sydney Strickland is a senior majoring in Business Marketing. When asked if she was interested in being a part of the Innovation Fellowship program, she said yes immediately. The thought of gaining experience in her field – something she loves, is exciting enough. But, being paid to learn was something even more enticing! The Fellowship allowed her to not only gain experience but still be able to earn a paycheck. Sydney was placed with a local startup company called Sycamore Physician Contracting, one of the top finalists for the Shoals Launchpad last year.