Penn State entrepreneurial and research impact highlighted in City Lights series

July 19, 2018

READING, Pa. -- More than 250 alumni in four East Coast cities learned firsthand how Penn State entrepreneurialism and research are impacting the world when they attended the 2018 City Lights series, hosted this spring by the Penn State Alumni Association and the University’s Invent Penn State initiative.

The unique partnership — which was the focus today (July 19) of a report by Alumni Association CEO Paul J. Clifford to the Board of Trustees’ Committee on Outreach, Development and Community Relations — featured a current professor/researcher, recent alumnus, and a student entrepreneur engaging with alumni across the Commonwealth (Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh) as well as in Washington, D.C.

Since 2005, City Lights has highlighted Penn State academic and alumni experts delivering more than 60 different programs in the metro areas across the United States where most Penn Staters live and work. 

This year, Invent Penn State partnered with the Alumni Association on the four-city City Lights series as a way to highlight its $30 million initiative that has redefined the University’s land-grant mission. Launched in 2015 by Penn State President Eric Barron, Invent Penn State includes entrepreneurship and innovation programs, tools and resources that accelerate the movement of great ideas to the marketplace and make a substantial economic development impact in Pennsylvania and beyond. 

Through City Lights, alumni learned about:

  • Reflexion Interactive Technologies, a student-founded company driven to provide fast, portable and data-driven screening systems aimed at measuring brain function to quickly detect concussions. Founder Matt Roda, a junior from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is committed to giving schools and athletic organizations at all levels the ability to keep athletes safe.
  • Nina Jenkins, research associate professor in the Department of Entomology, who asked “Have you ever had bed bugs?” Jenkins is the chief technical officer and co-founder of ConidioTec who has been an expert in biopesticide development for over 20 years. Her company has developed an environmentally friendly pesticide that eliminates bed bugs after one application. This product will potentially save consumers, hotels and apartment complexes millions of dollars annually.
  • The work of alumnus Hunter Swisher who has spent the past three years commercializing a technology developed by a professor from Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. Today, Swisher’s company — Phospholutions — aims to save golf courses millions of gallons of water annually and could significantly reduce fertilizer pollution in our watersheds.  

“These Penn Staters are innovative and inspirational,” said Clifford. “Featuring these three examples of entrepreneurial success that sprouted from Invent Penn State gave us a springboard to share with our alumni how Penn State continues to impact the Commonwealth, the nation and the world. And it’s a story we’ll keep sharing.”

  • Invent Penn State

    Invent Penn State

    IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated July 19, 2018