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University of Dayton School of Engineering Stitt Scholars Program Grace Silverberg

Stitt Scholars Program helps engineering student translate language of business

To University of Dayton mechanical engineering student, Grace Silverberg, and her classmates, "business" can be a foreign language. But with UD's Stitt Scholars Program, she's able to speak to those in the field who someday will help sell her ideas.

"I'm an engineer, I don't take business classes," Silverberg, a senior, said. "So I enjoyed learning what they know and how that relates to entrepreneurship. Now when people talk to me about business, I have a very good baseline of information I can pull from."

Through a gift, Jim Stitt '71, chairman of the Cutco Corporation and Olean Business Development Corporation, and his wife Carol started the Stitt Scholars Program for engineering, business, and other students to gain and enhance their problem-solving skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students take a course in the elements of innovation and entrepreneurship, and work with clients to address an issue and offer possible solutions. They also have experiential learning opportunities with the L. William Crotty Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the Entrepreneurs Center at The Hub Powered by PNC.

Silverberg worked on three projects as a 2021-2022 Stitt Scholar, including Flyer Pitch winner Lunnie, a nursing bra, in which Silverberg used her engineering skills in product testing, and then worked with business students on marketing materials.

Her experience in the program was a major talking point during interviews and helped her secure a sustainability internship at MadTree Brewing this summer. She’s now leaning on skills she gained in the Stitt Scholars Program, especially when communicating technical ideas to non-engineers.

"I work for an accountant at MadTree who is focused on numbers and bills. So I have to be able to communicate with him," Silverberg said. "In addition, I need to be able to sell proposals to people in the organization from many backgrounds."

After a successful first year, where 10 students completed 15 projects for 12 clients, the Stitt Scholars program will expand to 14 students, including a design student from the College of Arts and Sciences.

To learn more about the program, visit

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