New Education Entrepreneurs Join Venture Cafe’s EdHub Fellowship

By April 27, 2021 April 28th, 2021 No Comments

Five new initiatives join the distinct Fellowship to shorten the gap between innovative and equity-based solutions for students

27 April 2021, Saint Louis, Missouri — The Education Innovation Hub (EdHub), a project of Venture Cafe St Louis announced its third EdHub Fellowship cohort. The Fellowship is a six-month pre-accelerator program that supports early-stage education entrepreneurs launch new ideas rooted in equity and technology. Over the course of six months, Fellows receive strategic support through non-dilutive funding, one-on-one mentorship, and peer support from a community of education entrepreneurs to develop the first version of their idea. 

“We have an amazing group making up five early-stage initiatives,” says current Expert-in-Residence, Marcus Howard, PhD, who is leading the cohort. “Not only do they have great ideas to improve the lives of our young people, but more importantly they are taking action to make it a reality for students who need it most.” 

EdHub was created to support creative thinkers in education similar to how the startup ecosystem supports up-and-coming entrepreneurs. The Fellowship creates a path of success by providing mentorship, best practices for launching new initiatives, and access to St Louis’ experts in education and technology. Venture Cafe’s EdHub program aims to empower more than 100 education intrapreneurs and entrepreneurs who will launch new ideas rooted in equity and innovation by 2030. 

“We are excited to work with these bright minds in the St Louis education community,” says Tyler Mathews, executive director of Venture Cafe St Louis. “We’ve selected five compelling visions centered around systems that specifically work to distribute access to opportunity to those furthest from it.” 

The Fellowship began in April and will continue through September concluding with a public launch and demo day. The 2021 EdHub Fellowship includes:

Najjuwah Walden, PhD

Najjuwah is the founder of The Raspberry Clinic, a shared decision-making tool aiming to identify the sexual health literacy of end-users to develop personalized recommendations for education and clinical care.

She began her career in behavioral economics where she researched adolescent use of narcotics and sexual behaviors. This study led her to the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis where she pursued a career as a Disease Intervention Specialist. She learned about the need for sexual and reproductive health literacy among women with a history of infections who were also clinically considered infertile. This led her back to the Brown School to study how literacy improvements can improve gynecologic services. Her current studies aim to understand how lifestyles and literacy contribute to reproductive risk. Her vision for The Raspberry Clinic is to develop an innovative solution that can identify these risks and personalize education at the point of care.

Connect with Najjuwah on LinkedIn

Bridgett Billingsley, M.S.

Bridgett is building a new service to address racial injustice in school discipline through a data-focused, six-sigma model to improve the disciplinary process.

Born and raised in the city of St. Louis Bridgett holds two master’s degrees in chemistry and nutrition and a bachelor’s in chemistry. Bridgett is an educator with nearly 20 years of experience and is currently teaching science and health and wellness for Arizona State University Digital Prep. She is also a contributor to Black Girls Do STEM.

Nick Jones

Nick’s idea is the College Application Simulation, an application that simulates the entire experience of going through the college planning process, beginning from the research phase up to and including course registration.

Nick is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri with a Bachelor of Science in Sport Management and a minor in Business. As a native of St. Louis, Missouri, Nick has served as a mentor and tutor to students with academic and behavioral challenges at McKinley Middle School and underclass students at the University of Central Missouri. There he also served as a drug addiction technician. He now works with students at the STEAM Academy at McCluer South-Berkeley as a college adviser and is pursuing a master’s degree in higher education.

Connect with Nick on LinkedIn

Jason Jabbari, PhD

Jason is building Upskilr, a web application to identify, match, and map job-seekers and employers with upskilling programs in local labor markets.

Jason is an assistant research professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis where he leads the education research portfolio at the Social Policy Institute. A former classroom teacher and school leader, Jason uses sociological theories and quantitative methodologies to explore education programs, policies, and practices related to equitable outcomes for marginalized communities. His most recent work has been published in Urban Education, Children and Youth Services Review, Youth and Society, and Forbes. In addition to research, Jason collaborates with colleagues and students to co-create technology tools that can allow for more fair and efficient transitions to education and the workforce.

Connect with Jason on LinkedIn

Imani Lynne Myton

Imani is developing a student-led learning platform that allows children to participate in the learning environments that they create. Online learning has become a primary tool in school systems but comes with several challenges including engagement. Allowing children to contribute to their learning spaces can encourage increased participation and development. 

Before coming to St Louis, Imani spent nine years in Washington, DC, and is currently a fellow in the 2021 summer coding fellowship led by the St Louis startup, Less Annoying CRM.

Connect with Imani on LinkedIn