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The Second Annual IST Start-up Week

DGC is coming to you live from Happy Valley, the home of The Pennsylvania State University.

We’re here covering Start-up Week, a week-long event put on by the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) highlighting the success of its alumni—visionary entrepreneurs and innovators in technology.


Today, we had the opportunity to sit down with IST’s Dean David Hall to get his take on the event, and what lies ahead.

DGC: Dean Hall, can you tell us why IST celebrates Start-up Week?

Dean Hall (DH): Start-up Week allows us to showcase 20-30 examples of successful entrepreneurs, both alumni and friends of Penn State, to our future graduates in a one-week timeframe. Through panels, networking sessions and town halls, we can show our students that you, too, can be successful after graduation. More than that, Start-up Week gives our students the opportunity to network with successful entrepreneurs to make future connections and even potential job opportunities.

DGC: What is the history behind Start-up Week?

DH: Start-up Week began as the brain child of David Rusenko, an IST alum, who is currently the CEO and co-founder of Weebly. Together, we collaborated to create an event that provides an opportunity for rising stars in the technology field to discuss a wide array of career options that students may be interested in pursuing.

DGC: How can alumni who are not here get involved with future Start-up Weeks?

DH: As Start-up Week continues to become an annual event for IST, we invite alumni to come attend and be a part of the excitement. Our alumni are our biggest asset; we continually look for ways to inspire our current students by our successful alumni. By attending Start-up Week, our students get a firsthand view of life after school.

DGC: What are you most excited about at Start-up Week?

DH: During each of the presentations, IST is videotaping the sessions for future use in the classroom. And that’s something that we base our entire curriculum on, real life problems and real life solutions. We are constantly asking our students to come up with creative solutions for real organizations. IST believes that established companies benefit from the fresh set of eyes of our students. And in fact, it’s that entrepreneurial spirit that Start-up Week is based upon.

We’ll be attending more sessions, networking events and the annual Hackathon today, so stay tuned. For more information on Start-up Week and a full schedule of events, visit

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