Red Paperclip Challenge: Sparking Entrepreneurial Interest

A collaboration of student groups, led by Spark Entrepreneurs, hopes to inspire a spirit of creativity and ingenuity on the River Campus with an upcoming competition.  The Red Paperclip Challenge, also supported by Susan B. Anthony Hall Council, Alpha Kappa Psi Fraternity, Undergraduate Finance and Economics Council, and WRUR, intends to push students to create innovative outcomes from meager beginnings.

The competition was inspired by Kyle MacDonald, a young man who obtained a two-story farmhouse through a series of fourteen online trades, starting with just one red paperclip.  MacDonald’s entrepreneurial stint evolved into an internet company that promotes business ventures and social adventures with unconventional trajectories.

Spark Entrepreneurs, the hosting group, is a community of students with interests in entrepreneurship and business innovation.  The group provides internal, educational events that helps its members grow and learn as young entrepreneurs. They also schedule social events to network with those who are outside the group. Spark also hosts community events with the goal of improving the skills of existing entrepreneurs and exposing the campus community to the culture of startups.

The Red Paperclip Challenge aims to spark innovation and creative problem solving on campus.  It hopes to promote a new understanding of entrepreneurship, assuring that students of all majors, interests, and backgrounds are welcome to participate.

The event is set to begin at 6:00 pm on Friday, March 20 in the first floor atrium of Rettner Hall.

Students can enter as individuals or as a group, with a maximum of four people per team. The challenge is to start with a single red paperclip and explore its entrepreneurial possibilites for 24 hours. Participants will document their trades on Twitter and then present them to a panel of judges on Saturday night.

Dean of Students Matthew Burns, Director of Rettner Hall George Ferguson, Susanna Virgilio from the Center for Entrepreneurship, and Bob Tobin from Simon Business School will serve as mentors and judges for the competition.The winning three teams will take home a $300 cash prize, and all participants will celebrate with free food and a live WRUR DJ.

For more information, visit the Spark Entrepreneurs website.  For pre-registration, visit the event page available on facebook.

Students’ Association stands against sexual assault

The University of Rochester Students’ Association Government is taking a stance against sexual assault by joining the “It’s On Us” campaign. The project stresses the collective responsibility of the community at large to stop sexual assault and to foster a safe and healthy culture at the University. The project urges students to work to change the current culture that allows for sexual violence.

Started as a campaign of Generation Progress and the White House, the initiative has found widespread support from college campuses across the nation, as well as collegiate organizations like The NCAA.  The “It’s On Us” campaign encourages students to take “the pledge,” which works to define sexual assault, highlight the importance of consent, and call for active intervention.

A new video released by the Students’ Association and University Communications features student leaders and administrative faculty encouraging a more active stance against sexual misconduct on campus.  On Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, members of the SA Government will be tabling in Wilson Commons in order to promote the project’s launch and to raise awareness about sexual violence in all of its forms.

“It’s on us to foster a caring community of encouragement, compassion, and respect.”  That was the collaborative message relayed by students and staff alike in the video.

Efforts to raise awareness about sexual assault are not new to the River Campus.  UR Segway, a student organization, promotes a two-fold mission of providing education about sexual violence as well as support for survivors on campus.  The group sponsors the annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event, a march to stop rape, sexual assault and gender violence.  MOVE (Men Opposing Violence Everywhere) is dedicated to creating programming for men to talk about and stand against sexual assault.  MOVE regularly partners with College Feminists to schedule open discussions on topics regarding gender-based violence.

“Be the difference; take a stand,” urges senator Delvin Moody ’18.  The Students’ Association hopes that this campaign will galvanize the campus community to lend its support to survivors and actively work to stand against sexual violence.

For more information on the national “It’s on Us” campaign, visit: http://itsonus.org/.

Medieval Merriment at the Boar’s Head Dinner

A royal procession of deans, professors, and student leaders marked the beginning of the Boar’s Head Dinner, the University of Rochester’s longest-running tradition, on Thursday, December 4th. The 80th annual River Campus feast offered students and faculty a medieval meal by transforming Douglass Dining Center into a royal court set for a feast — jesters included!

Regarded as one of the University’s biggest events for student life, this year’s upperclassman scrambled to secure a spot at the feast, with tickets selling out in just under an hour.

More than 600 attendees enjoyed the holiday dinner of turkey, roast pork, and apple stuffing as served by members of the campus a cappella groups. After Hours, the Midnight Ramblers, Roc Hakol, Vocal Point, and the YellowJackets also provided some musical entertainment, leading the captive, hungry audience in singing “The Boar’s Head Carol,” “The Gloucestershire Wassail,” “Figgy Pudding,” and “Let it Snow,” among other festive tunes. The caroling servers, dressed as lords and ladies, acted as the dinner’s medieval waitstaff.

The Strong Jugglers also offered entertainment as court jesters to the High Table, composed of deans, administrators, student leaders from the SA Government and Campus Activities Board, and a faculty member chosen as the Boar’s Head Reader.

This year, Professor of Chemistry Benjamin Hafensteiner provided his account of the Story of the Boar. Building off of the story of an Oxford student’s encounter with a wild boar, Hafensteiner’s remarks featured his own spin on the historic tale, adding in his own UR-centric references along the way.

Each year, a student organization that has positively impacted campus life receives the Boar’s Head Award. Past winners include the D’lions, ADITI, and MERT. GlobeMed, last year’s Boar’s Head recipient, had the honor of “passing on the boar” to Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), an organization rooted in creating an educated community dedicated to engaging issues of social and economic justice

Through teach-ins, forums, and public panel discussions, SDS works to educate the campus on current issues, in both the global and campus communities. In the past year, the group has helped to advocate for fair wages for University workers through demonstrations, speak outs, and petitions. In May, they held a Community Field Day to bridge the gap between students of different backgrounds.

The evening wrapped up with another quintessentially Rochesterian tradition: the singing of the Genesee.  Asking all of the seniors to stand, Dean Burns honored those who will soon be wrapping up their last fall semester as undergraduate students.  A unique tradition providing merry hearts and full stomachs, the Boar’s Head Dinner is an experience that is not to be missed in your time at Rochester!

RED Discount Program offers best of Rochester

Even if you haven’t heard of the Rochester Every Day (RED) Program, you’ll definitely recognize the small red stickers that come with every new student ID card. If you didn’t already know, these little stamps can provide you with discounts to some of Rochester’s most popular eateries and shops, all through RED.  With a rebrand in the works, the program hopes to reintroduce itself to the campus population, offering undergraduates the best of what the city of Rochester has to offer.

The Rochester Every Day Program was launched in 2003 by a team of undergraduate students at the U of R.  Since then, the program has come under the management of the Rochester Center for Community Leadership.  The purpose of RED is to provide students with accessibility to local businesses through deals and discounts.  With connections to over 150 different restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues, the program offers an opportunity to explore Rochester outside of the campus context.

“We want to be able to connect students to the greater community,” said Phuong Dang, a program manager at the RCCL.  The program, which is free for business to participate in, is partnered with Mt. Hope Diner, The Little Theatre, and the Strong Museum of Play, among many other Rochester staples.

Benefits for students can range from the ability to use URos, campus currency, at establishments to discounts that span anywhere between 10 and 20% off of a given purchase.  Students can enjoy a BOGO deal on a sub from Amiel’s Restaurant or get a discount on their purchase at Thread, a clothing boutique in the South Wedge.  RED hopes to use these program features to incentivize students and businesses alike to participate in a community exchange.

This fall, the RED Program hopes to rebrand itself through a logo design contest. All submissions should incorporate the discount program’s mission of connecting campus to community. Prizes for winners and finalists include a Samsung Nook and an assortment of gift cards from cosponsoring businesses.

The logo design contest runs until Thursday, November 20th! Questions and submissions regarding the logo design contest should be sent to RedPGM@admin.rochester.edu.

For more information on the RED Program, visit their website and facebook page.

Photo credit: Pekka Nikrus/Flickr

Tragos Quest: Sound Mind and Sound Body

By Rei Ramos ‘15
University Communications

A summer expedition in Greece recently gave an undergraduate the opportunity to better understand his fraternity’s mission of “building balanced men.”  Russell Rosenkranz ’15 was selected among hundreds of national applicants for this year’s Tragos Quest, a 10-day trip through Greece sponsored by Sigma Phi Epsilon.  Reading selections from Homer and Socrates and subsequently venturing through the country’s archeological sites, he was given the opportunity to challenge himself mentally and physically in hopes of obtaining the Greek goal of having a “sound mind in a sound body.”

The trip allowed Rosenkranz, president of the U of R’s NY Xi Chapter of SigEp, to simultaneously experience Greek culture and consider the origins of his fraternity.  Along with 18 undergraduates from chapters around the nation, he traveled through Greece from June 12-22.

“Each day of the trip was both mentally and physically rewarding,” he said.  Typically, the morning routine would consist of an early, 6:30 a.m. breakfast and an hour-long discussion with a professor based around writings from the poets and philosophers of Greek antiquity.  Throughout each day, the group would go on to visit archeological sites that corresponded with the stories and history discussed. The first day of the trip brought the team to Poseidon’s Temple in Cape Sounion, a visit that helped to explain the capital’s namesake – Athena, the goddess who defeated Poseidon in battle.  The evening discussions were then led by a smaller group of two to three undergraduate Tragos Scholars, focusing on the values of virtue, diligence, and brotherly love upon which the fraternity was founded.

Rosenkranz found the search for a “sound mind” to be perhaps the most challenging part of the expedition.  The nightly group discussions often forced the group to think both outside of the box, as well as their comfort zones.  “We constantly pushed the envelope to have some of the best and deepest conversations I have ever had in my life.”  Delving into topics such as fear and the pursuits of happiness and success, the nightly discourse pushed the undergraduates to think critically and introspectively.

That’s not to say that the rest of the trip was without other obstacles.  The trip’s physical challenges included hiking up mountains for better views of temples and dig sites and climbing a 1000 step fortress overlooking Nafplio to get a panoramic view of the seaport city.  The group of Tragos Scholars also held a friendly race on the original Olympic track, which Rosenkranz went on to win. “We were also constantly challenging one another to try new experiences or tasks each day,” said Rosenkranz.  The group’s mentors asked them to prepare a lunch for the team on a set budget, which forced the Tragos Scholars to coordinate and barter with locals without a common language.

The quest’s focus on physical fitness and mental equilibrium did not detract from the trip’s showcase of Greece’s beautiful scenery.  Rosenkranz recalls gorgeous, breathtaking views from the Hosios Loukas Monastery in the town of Nafpaktos.  “I cannot do it justice describing it in words,” he admitted.  The sixth day of the trip offered views of Delphi and the natural landscape of the Corycian Cave.  The final day of the trip ended on the tallest hill of Athens, overlooking the entire city and the Acropolis.  With a dinner at sunset, the group was able to watch the sunset and see the entire city light up at night, a sight which Rosenkranz would go on to note as one of the most memorable of the entire trip.

Through all of the harrowing physical activities and journeys through memorable sights, Rosenkranz found a conversation with a stranger to be the most meaningful experience of his journey.   Asking three locals in Nafpaktos for words of wisdom, one older gentleman went on to share a story of the loss of his child.  “It was shocking how this stranger was able to open up to us – four young Americans – and tell us his emotional story in such a vulnerable state.”  This brief, but meaningful, exchange quickly moved Russell to empathy and led him to consider himself somewhat of a surrogate son to the Greek man.

Having lost his father exactly a month prior to the flight to Greece, Rosenkranz entirely understood the man’s sadness.  A discussion on fear on the following day gave him the chance to share his grief with his mentors and fellow scholars.  “That night, everyone opened up and showed that level of emotional vulnerability which led to the deepest and most meaningful conversation of the entire trip,” he said. “It was an experience I will never forget; though short, it made the biggest impact on the rest of my trip and my life.”

Rosenkranz’s time spent in Greece, beyond being an enriching cultural experience, has taught him a few lessons that he plans to carry with him into senior year and beyond.  The first lesson involves being more vulnerable and emotionally open to his peers.  He believes that this alone will allow him to develop deeper relationships with those that he trusts.  The second is to make time to grab a cup of coffee with friends – or even strangers – to “soak it all in” day-by-day.  “I am one to always be on the go, so being able to sit and hangout with people helps clear my head and open my mind,” he said.

Looking ahead, the rising senior, pursuing majors in applied mathematics and financial economics, hopes to one day seek out a career in consulting or within the banking industry.  “When it comes down to it, I will choose a career that challenges me to grow and constantly learn.”  In the meantime, he will juggle involvement with SigEp, the varsity swim team, and the Students’ Association.  With a sound mind and sound body in tow, Rosenkranz is more than ready to take on these many commitments as a balanced man.

The Sky’s the Limit with OdysseyLife

By Blake Silberberg ‘13
University Communications

Did you have trouble adjusting to life on campus as a freshman? Well now there’s an app for that! University of Rochester undergraduates Keyu (Sky) Song ‘15 and Xiayan (Eric) Huan ’15 are the founders of OdysseyLife Inc., a self-funded startup with the goal of helping International students adjust to life on American college campuses.

Song, a political science major, entered the University as a Chinese international student. He chose Rochester because of the diverse student population and was excited to meet lots of new people from different cultural backgrounds. What he found was a gap among international students when it came to making friends with American students. “When I first arrived here, I talked to people in dining hall lines,” says Song, “I met a lot of people that way, but it was definitely awkward at times. As an international student, it can be hard to get a sense of what’s right or wrong to say to someone you’ve just met.”

Song’s experiences inspired him to find a way to help other students in his position adjust well to American college life. “The crucial period of adjustment is the first two months.  After that, it becomes much harder for international students to make friends, since a lot of students have already formed groups or circles,” says Song.

With the goal of helping international students bridge this gap, Song worked with fellow student Eric Huan to create OdysseyLife, a startup corporation that works with international students at the University of Rochester, and has expanded to New York University and SUNY Buffalo. Song describes OdysseyLife as a corporation with a focus on providing a mix of both nonprofit and for profit services. OdysseyLife offers numerous free resources, including an iPhone app, guides for social and professional situations, and weekly lectures on cultural differences open to both international and American students. OdysseyLife goes beyond these services by employing “captains” to serve as student mentors for international students who sign up for OdysseyLife. Captains are university students who teach weekly classes, bring students to networking events, and are available to meet with one on one to help with any situations that might arise during a semester. “The captains help demonstrate behavior and offer a theoretical framework for adjusting to American college life,” says Song, “and they act as both a model for the international students and a wingman in social situations.”

Huan (left) and Song (right) with Yuan Yue, the CEO at Horizon Consulting Group (Lingdian). Cornell China Forum 2014.
Huan (left) and Song (right) with Yuan Yue, the CEO at Horizon Consulting Group (Lingdian). Cornell China Forum 2014.

Creating the corporation proved to be an excellent learning experience for Song and Huan, as they had to navigate a large number of legal and technical aspects to form an official corporation. Song had to first obtain work-study sponsorship in order to legally work in the U.S., and without any law experience, this proved a difficult task. Song and Huan contacted law students at both Cornell and Harvard for help with their company, and also received support from David Primo, associate professor of political science and business administration, and Michael Rizzo, professor of economics. Huan and Song also worked with an accounting student at the Simon School, who helped them file insurance and tax forms, and other necessary corporate materials. The pair also received support from the staff at Wilson Commons, Office of Admissions, College Center for Advising Services, Center for Entrepreneurship, and International Services Office. “I think our experience forming OdysseyLife is a great example of how strong the interdisciplinary network is here,” says Song. “We were very fortunate to have access to so many resources, and this wouldn’t have been possible without the tremendous support of the University’s staff.”

In the future, Song and Huan hope to expand the services to American students as well, to help them connect in a greater capacity with International students. “We want to build a bridge that will help both American and International students use college campuses as a place where they can freely exchange ideas,” he explains.

If you are interested in learning more about OdysseyLife, you can visit the website or contact Sky Song directly via email.

UR Student Spends Life in the Wild

What are you doing at 4:30 a.m. on a school day? For most undergraduates, an average morning involves sleeping, or perhaps some last minute work on a paper or project. For Tyler Breen ‘16, it is the start of his workday during waterfowl season. In New York State, the waterfowl season consists of a 60-day period in the fall, a season that sends Breen out to the field and in position before sunrise. “Legal sunrise takes place at about 7:07 a.m.,” says Breen, who serves as a local guide for hunters, “which means that the heaviest flights times for ducks are at 6:37 a.m.”

Breen, an ecology and evolutionary biology major at the University of Rochester, became interested in hunting at an early age. Breen’s grandfather was the president of the New York State Chapter of the National Turkey Federation, an organization which focused on raising turkeys and bringing their population back to New York during his tenure. Breen went on his first youth hunt at age 12 with a family friend. He then began to hunt mallard ducks for the next two years, teaching himself the tactics and calls as he went along. This past summer, Breen passed the exam to become a New York State Licensed Outdoor Guide, a position which allows him to serve as an escort for hunting groups.

While to some, Breen’s hobby of hunting might seem at odds with his major, to Breen these interests are perfectly aligned. “I like to think of myself as both a conservationist and a sportsman,” says Breen, “A lot of experienced hunters are environmentally active, and we try to put two ducks in the sky for every one that we take.”

Licensed guides in New York are hired by groups or individuals looking to hunt waterfowl. Breen currently works as a guide at Fish and Frontier Outfitters in Farmington, N.Y., where his responsibilities extend way beyond simply taking people out hunting. Guides are responsible for scouting locations and negotiate with landowners for permission to hunt on their property. Another key element of the guide’s job is placing decoys before taking their clients out in the field. Decoys are incredibly detailed “fake” birds that are placed in clearings to attract live birds flying over to land in range of the hunting group. These decoys are specific to each different species of duck, and are made with extremely detailed materials in order to successfully fool the live birds, who can be notoriously difficult to trick. “Geese and ducks are a lot smarter than most people think,” says Breen, “To hunt a duck, you have to be a duck.” In addition to the day to day tasks, as a guide Breen is also responsible for knowing every Federal regulation surrounding different species of waterfowl and flyway locations. In an average season, Breen hunts a large number of different species of both geese and duck. Regulations surrounding “Daily Bag Limits,” or how many birds you can take during a single trip, differ for each type of waterfowl, and differ further depending on if the bird is a hen (female) or drake (male). As a guide, Breen must be able to identify the species of duck and its sex while the bird is flying above him, or risk breaking federal regulation; this is an extraordinarily impressive skill given the differences between the species are often very minute.

Tyler-Breen-2Environmental conservation is an important subject for Breen, and he is currently on the board of directors for two local waterfowl organizations, the Canandaigua Lake Duck Hunters and the Lima chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Both organizations focus on fundraising and conservation efforts, including building nesting boxes to help increase the local waterfowl population. Taking part in these conservation activities led Breen to his academic interest in ecology and evolutionary biology. As a Rochester undergraduate, Breen has pursued research focusing on the genetic makeup of common ducks, which can often be hard to differentiate. Two common species of ducks in the Western New York region are mallard and black ducks. “The hybridization process has begun fairly recently and lead to a sharp decline in black duck populations due to migration of mallards into historically black duck specific breeding grounds,” says Breen. “The future survival of the American Black Duck is in serious question as mallard genetics are rapidly polluting the gene pool of black ducks.”

Breen is examining the underlying cause of why black duck hens prefer drake mallards over drake blacks on the breeding grounds, specifically how the hybridization is a function of mallard genetic dominance that overcomes the recessive alleles in the black duck which have gone to fixation due to genetic drift. During his research, Breen connected with a fellow ecology student in Beverly Hills, Calif., studying a similar topic. Breen helped the student by sending him information and samples of the mallard/black hybridization. “Understanding the process of hybridization is important to increasing our understanding of these species, this information is very important to conservation efforts and to preventing the inevitable loss of the species,” says Breen, who hopes to continue to work outdoors, both as a guide and a conservationist, as well as possibly pursuing a doctorate in ornithology.

In addition to being a licensed guide and full-time student, Breen also is an accomplished Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America organization. He views the outdoors as almost a second home, and scouting was an excellent introduction into the world of camping and outdoor adventure. Breen served for two summers as a counselor for an Ohio Scout camp, where he taught wilderness survival and other skill courses. Another element of hunting that Breen is passionate about is the trust and bonding that hunting with the same group can build over time. During summer 2013, Breen was encouraged by one of the members of his hunting group to pursue volunteer firefighting. Breen had been trained in First-Aid during his time as a scout, so he embarked on the application process, where he was required to learn and pass tests on necessary skills and situational responses. Last summer, he took a firefighting course at the Public Safety Training Facility of Monroe County, which consisted of learning the skills necessary to successfully fight fires both indoors and outdoors, including how to navigate burning buildings safely, and use the respiratory and protective equipment properly. The course involved nights of real fire training, which Breen describes as “intense.”

While Breen has many interests, his main passion is the outdoors: “I love the sense that I’m alone in the outdoors,” explains Breen,  “When I take a trip into the remote wilderness I’m seeing and experiencing things that most people don’t get to.”

The Unconventional Life of Jeni Stolow

Do you know anyone who places frozen spoons every morning on her eyes just to wake herself up? Well if you know Jeni Stolow ’14, then you do! If you have not met her, you may have heard her infectious laugh or the “snap, crackle, pop” of her body! Her residents call her a bowl of Rice Krispies because you can hear the effects of her rheumatoid arthritis every time she moves!

Stolow balances four campus jobs with her extensive extracurricular activities and Health Behavior and Society Major, started a Substance Abuse Clinic, and even has a book in the works. On top of work, school, and extracurriculars, Stolow serves as an outreach coordinator for a non-profit organization in Haiti.

She’s “the most interesting person on this planet,” according to Courtney Wagner ’15, co- captain of women’s club soccer with Stolow. “She’ll say anything, whether it’s to make someone laugh or for an intelligent conversation.”

At 21, Stolow has traveled to all 48 continental states and has been proposed to by a stranger in Toronto, but even that doesn’t live up to her most interesting journey. When she was 16, she went on the fairly common trip with her language class over to Europe. Instead of sticking to the itinerary, when she touched down in France, Stolow and two friends embarked on a one month backpacking trip, only going to the necessary checkpoints to get in touch with their parents. The three friends had a joint credit card with an allotted amount for the month. However, one of the girls went on a shopping spree, leaving them with a third of their original budget, and worse still, proceeded to leave her European purchases behind on a train. Stolow, who has the skills to do just about anything she sets her mind to, used atypical means to travel from country to county. She worked in an Italian bakery for money; made it over to France where she waited tables at a café; and, eventually took refuge in Switzerland.

Stolow’s unconventional approach to travel may seem a bit strange, until you hear her family history. Her parents, who met at age 12, recently gave up their home in White Lake, New York (home of the infamous Woodstock) and left behind their pet bear so they could check off an item on their bucket list. Currently, they’ve taken up the pirate life, and are sailing around the Gulf of Mexico treasure hunting. Her parents’ relocation currently leaves Stolow ‘homeless’ but she plans to reside at graduate school following graduation.

One could say that Stolow’s adventures have made her wise beyond her years and helps her maintain a good life perspective. “No one cares about what kind of shirt you wear on a date,” she says, noting that she tries not to dwell on trivial matters. “Don’t take anything seriously, except helping people; that you should care about.”

What the Fudge?!

By Blake Silberberg ‘13
University Communications

Among the multitude of snacks and sweets offered at the Common Market, one of the more popular treats is the homemade fudge. But do you know where the fudge is made, or by whom?

Meet Kiara Medina ‘15 and Jessica Brogdon ‘16, the current University of Rochester Candy Engineers. The Candy Engineer position is passed down from year to year, with only two being active at a time. Medina, a junior business major, was an employee at the Common Market before she expressed interest in taking over the fudge position from a graduating senior. Brogdon, a sophomore epidemiology major, was hired specifically for the position, based on her previous restaurant experience.

As Candy Engineers, Medina and Brogdon are solely responsible for making the homemade fudge sold at the Common Market, a process that usually involves meeting to cook about once a week, although that can change quickly depending on demand for the fudge.  Medina and Brogdon are also in charge of creating the fudge flavors, a process relying on creativity almost as much as their cooking skills. The first part of the fudge making process is where Medina and Brogdon brainstorm the flavors of the week, planning out combinations of different candies, toppings, and sauces. Conceived sometimes in advance, sometimes spontaneously, Medina and Brogdon are masters of flavor combination.

rsz_3fudge1During their tenure as Candy Engineers, Medina and Brogdon consider their most successful flavor to be Cookies and Cream, which combines vanilla fudge, crushed Oreos, and Hershey’s Cookies and Cream candy. Fluffernutter and Rocky Road, however, are not far behind. The least popular flavor? Surprisingly, maple. During my visit to the kitchen, the engineers had decided on three unique flavors using a vanilla base: dark chocolate fudge with Reese’s Cups, raspberry jam with Rolos, and vanilla fudge with Fluff, chocolate covered peanuts, and chocolate chips.

Medina and Brogdon’s lab is a small kitchen across the hall from the Common Market, where their massive fudge making machine, known affectionately as “Bertha”, resides. Medina and Brogdon first choose the “base” of their fudge, either vanilla or chocolate. Then, they use Bertha to slowly mix and melt the base into warm, gooey, molten fudge. While the fudge base is in the machine, Medina and Brogdon lay out their toppings in the fudge pan, reserving some to top the fudge with as well. When the molten fudge mixture is smooth, the engineers pour it over the toppings, mixing with a rubber spatula to combine the ingredients, creating swirls in the fudge as the toppings combine with the base. Medina and Brogdon then arrange the remaining ingredients on top of the fudge, layering the surface with candy or sprinkling crushed candy on top. “We try to focus on both presentation and experimentation,” says Medina.

So next time you stop by the Common Market for a snack, be sure to pick up some in-house, student engineered Fudge!

rsz_fudge3