UNCG announces student entrepreneur, makership awards

Posted on April 28, 2020

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Headshot of student Sheeba Dawood
Sheeba Dawood

UNC Greensboro’s North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center recently announced that Sheeba Dawood has been named UNCG Student Entrepreneur of the Year.

The Jerry McGuire Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award is a $1,000 scholarship presented to a UNCG student who has exhibited exceptional entrepreneurial experience.

Dawood is a PhD candidate in the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering (JSNN) and co-founder of Minerva Lithium, a UNCG spinout company that is based on a point-of-use lithium extraction technology that Dawood developed through her research at JSNN.

The innovation provides fast and efficient lithium extraction and recovery due to its high selectivity, rapid extraction ability, and the feasibility to apply to large-scale lithium extraction. This innovation could significantly reduce the cost and extraction time for one of the most necessary elements in today’s devices.

In addition to the award winner, the NC Entrepreneurship Center recognized the following finalists:

Joshua Karlton-Senaye, Information Systems

Karlton-Senaye developed CalcPlusWeb 2, an interactive calculator app that gives users on-demand formulas in a variety of subjects. The technology allows easy web connectivity, and users can access live on-demand tutors.

Miah Bonds, Therapeutic Recreation 

Bonds is the founder of LacedByMiah, a custom-order wig business that not only constructs and sells wigs but donates wigs free of charge to those who suffer from medical conditions causing hair loss. Bonds donates a portion of her revenue to charity and helps instruct others in the construction of custom-made wigs.

Belle Downing, Therapeutic Recreation

Downing is pursuing an accelerated master’s program while balancing multiple jobs on campus, volunteering for many socially disadvantaged groups, and participating in several Office of Leadership and Civic Engagement programs. In addition to this activity, Downing is in the process of writing a self-help book.

Kaleigh Riker, Psychology

Riker is the founder of a nonprofit called The Pink Bowz that is dedicated to raising awareness and funds to fight against breast cancer. The organization raised $10,000 in its first few years. These funds have benefited those fighting breast cancer and have also helped educate the public on risks and early prevention.

Victoria Sparks, Finance 

Sparks is the author of “Plan to Prevail: A Resource Guide for College Bound Students.” Prior to graduating from high school, she was awarded nearly $500,000 in scholarships to pursue her higher education and is now showing others how to do the same. This guide is designed to aid students in college preparation, application, and the financial aid process.

Additionally, the NC Entrepreneurship Center awarded three 12-month memberships to the Forge Makerspace in order to better connect innovative students with the local maker community. The winners of the 2020-21 Forge Makerships are Joseph Schorr, Jacob Herman, and Alexander Rose.

These students are typically honored each year at the NC Entrepreneurship Center’s Awards Banquet. However, due to COVID-19, this year’s ceremony was cancelled, and students are being honored virtually.

Learn more about the NC Entrepreneurship Center at startup.uncg.edu.


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