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Entrepreneurial Students Present Outreach Projects at Free Enterprise Competition

A team of four University of Iowa entrepreneurial students won two awards for their educational outreach projects at the 2003 Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) Regional Competition and Career Opportunity Fair held April 11 in St. Louis.

The team of Jennifer Schwerdtfeger of Oswego, Ill., Justin Petersen of DeWitt, Laura Westercamp of Cedar Rapids, and Brian Rosella of St. Charles, Ill. received the Rookie of the Year Award and Second Runner Up. They represented the 34 students in I-Envision, the entrepreneurial association at the John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center at the UI.

SIFE encourages students to take what they are learning in the classroom and apply it to real-life situations, and to use their knowledge to better their communities through educational outreach projects.

Competing against 27 teams from across the Midwest, the UI team presented projects completed over the past year by the I-Envision SIFE team. Projects included a statewide conference in entrepreneurship where more than 280 Iowa college students and faculty attended. As part of a service learning project, a team of five I-Envision SIFE team members worked with fifth and sixth grade students at Roosevelt Elementary School in Iowa City to develop leadership skills while producing a school newspaper. Throughout the year, the club presented workshops at the state and local level about business basics and how to start a successful enterprise.

At the competition, teams were judged on the effectiveness of their projects during a 24-minute presentation. Each team was evaluated on creativity and innovation, results of education programs, success in utilizing resources and documentation of activities. The four UI students also met with dozens of corporate representatives from the St. Louis business community to discuss job opportunities.

Dawn Bowlus of Iowa City serves as advisor for the SIFE Team and was named a Sam M. Walton Free Enterprise Fellow in recognition of her leadership and support of the SIFE program at the UI.

"SIFE brings exciting new opportunities to the UI entrepreneurial association. Projects completed this year were aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills in students while extending a helping hand to the community. SIFE offers a hands-on program that allows our club to increase entrepreneurial awareness, education and outreach," she said.

Founded in 1975 and active on more than 1400 college and university campuses in 33 countries, SIFE is a non-profit organization that works in partnership with business and higher education to provide students the opportunity to make a difference and to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills through learning, practicing and teaching the principles of free enterprise.

Established in 1996, JPEC provides a unique opportunity for all UI students to take courses in entrepreneurship and earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship in addition to their undergraduate major. The program is broad-based; undergraduate students from the Colleges of Business, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Liberal Arts & Sciences can earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship in addition to their undergraduate degrees; MBA students can pursue a concentration in entrepreneurship.

JPEC partners with the Iowa community colleges to teach entrepreneurship programs statewide, and it offers several programs to foster the development of entrepreneurial skills in Iowa's youth.


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