Careers in Entrepreneurship


It's easier than ever to start your own company, and UChicago's resources to support entrepreneurs have dramatically increased in the past few years. As a result, more and more graduate students and postdocs are becoming entrepreneurs or are working for startups. The entrepreneurship panel will feature alumni from across the University who will discuss the startup journey, challenges they've faced, lessons learned, and how their graduate degree has played a role.


Aviva Rosman, COO and Co-Founder, BallotReady (AB 2010, MPP 2016)

Aviva Rosman is the COO and co-founder of BallotReady, an award-winning nonpartisan voter guide to every race and referendum on the ballot. Aviva grew up working on campaigns and has worked for candidates at all levels, including her own successful election to Chicago Local School Council. Previously, Aviva served as a policy analyst at Stand for Children. She began her career teaching math and leading the special education department as a corps members with Teach for America. Aviva has a BA and masters’ degree from the University of Chicago, both in public policy. LinkedIn

Kamil Chmielewski, Freelance Mobile Developer, Kamilski, LLC (MS Computer Science 2005)

I love engineering, start-ups, and basketball. I have created a startup framework that can validate/invalidate a startup idea within a week, and this is what helps me move forward efficiently. I follow the Lean Startup methodology and am learning something new every day. I have worked and founded startups so I have a lot of experience of what not to do (oh, and what to do as well). LinkedIn

Yuan Zhang, President & CEO, Seurat Therapeutics (PhD Molecular Pathogenesis 2016, current postdoc)

Dr. Yuan Zhang, is President & CEO of the Seurat Therapeutics, a migraine focused biotech startup. She has worked previously with the other two co-founders, Drs. Kraig and Sanders, in Translational Medicine classes at UC, and in the Innovation Fund as an Associate. Dr. Zhang is currently employed as a postdoctoral scholar by Dr. Ralph Weichselbaum’s lab in the Department of Radiation and Cellular Oncology at UC Medical Center studying the effects of the gut microbiota on radiotherapy. LinkedIn

David Rabie, Co-Founder & CEO, Tovola (MBA 2015)

David has been passionate about food since he went on a health retreat before starting college. For the last two years, he’s been working to bring clean, fresh meals to homes across the country as the founder and CEO of Tovala – the first company to create a smart oven and companion meal delivery service. In June of 2015, David graduated with his MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. At Booth, David worked part-time for Foundation Capital (a venture capital firm in Silicon Valley), ran the Entrepreneurship club on campus and spent his summer interning at Google. Prior to Booth, David co-founded the mobile app Draftpedia - the first sports encyclopedia built exclusively for mobile. While it ultimately proved unsuccessful, it gave him a taste for technology and the startup ecosystem. LinkedIn


Cole Johnson, Project Manager, Polsky Center (PhD UMichigan Molecular Biology 2013)

Cole Johnson is a project manager in the Technology Commercialization and Licensing group at the Polsky Center. He develops and licenses University owned Intellectual Property across a range of fields with particular specialization in the life sciences and health IT. He also supports business development activities around technology-focused projects and works with colleagues to run the TCL TechStart program. LinkedIn