Jordan Evans ’14, Founder of Buoy expands to The University of Michigan

Jordan Evans ’14, Founder of Buoy expands to The University of Michigan

Have you subscribed to the Buoy Brown newsletter? Buoy Inspirations LLC is a social impact company that was started by Jordan Evans ’14 as a first year at Brown.

“In December of 2010 my world almost collapsed. It was the winter break of my freshman year at Brown University and I found out I FAILED Principles of Economics…

Never in my life had I experienced that much stress, anxiety, and depression. Fortunately, I had my peers and teammates who picked me up with motivational and encouraging words that gave me the confidence that I could make it…and I DID!

After reflecting on my experience I wanted to create an authentic resource that would enable Brown University students to inspire, motivate, and encourage one another on a regular basis. Today that resource is an authentic, fun, and encouraging monthly email newsletter with over 900 Brown University student subscribers!

The mission of Buoy is to enable diverse student communities across the country to inspire one another through authentic student-centered testimonials.”

Jordan has interviewed and featured over 75 Brown students and most recently launched a Buoy network at the University of Michigan School of Dentistry partnering with their Diversity & Inclusion Office.

Jordan loves connecting with inspired Brown students interested in entrepreneurship so please don’t hesitate to reach out to him at He has been actively involved with the Nelson Center most recently participating in focus groups for the Center’s Diversity & Inclusion Action Plan. #staybuoyed

Patrick Brown, a young entrepreneur making a difference in communities with Rent Sons

Patrick Brown, a young entrepreneur making a difference in communities with Rent Sons

After Patrick’s first year at the University of Rhode Island (URI), he was struggling to find a way to support himself through college. He started doing odd jobs around the area but it still wasn’t enough. This lead to the creation of his first company, Aqua.

Aqua created water shows and special effects for concerts across the country. Patrick saw quick success with Aqua. During his senior year at URI, he “interned” for himself and went on tour with one of the biggest DJ’s in the U.S.

Aqua continued to see huge success but the concert lifestyle quickly grew old. It didn’t bring the fulfillment that Patrick was searching for in his life, so he quit. He left his own company in search of a more well-rounded lifestyle.

He started thinking about how to live a full life. As he searched, he realized that he found meaning in community. That is when he had the idea for Rent Sons.

Rent Sons

Rent Sons is comprised of diverse, multi-talented young adults with a passion for making a positive impact in other people’s lives. The platform connects “neighbors” to “sons or daughters”. Neighbors can pay “sons or daughters” to do odd jobs such as landscaping, painting, shoveling, etc.

Rent Sons officially launched in May 2017 and they now have 70 sons and daughters in RI & Boston, with 1,600 neighbors currently on the platform. The venture is fully self-funded and is growing at 4X rate.

“We have kids growing up who are so attached to their phones that they have a hard time navigating life. We are passionate about teaching people that life is meant for thriving, not just surviving.”

Rent sons is focusing on growing the upcoming youth and helping connect communities.

Advice from Patrick

“Your biggest dreams are just a handshake away.”

Go to the top of a mountain with nothing and
dream your biggest dreams and just do that!

Patrick is currently looking for a developer. If you are interested in joining his team email him at

Isabella Giancarlo ‘14 Launches Queer Beauty Brand, Fluide

Isabella Giancarlo ‘14 Launches Queer Beauty Brand, Fluide

Environmental Studies concentrator and visual artist, Isabella Giancarlo ‘14, never imagined cosmetics would be her future, but in creating the first genderqueer beauty brand, Fluide, she may have found her calling. Giancarlo’s foray into beauty emerged as she was working as a brand strategist and designer in NYC, and saw an opportunity to “create something new and empowering for people of all gender expressions—to locate makeup outside of the paradigm of cis-female beauty opens up the potential for makeup to be an empowering form of self-expression for all people, rather than a representation of all the ways you don’t measure up.”

Launched in January 2018, Fluide is a collection of colorful, cruelty-free makeup available online and through a growing list of U.S. retailers. Founded in Brooklyn, New York, with business partner, Laura Kraber, Giancarlo explains that Fluide was created with the belief that makeup is a tool of transformation and a powerful means of self-actualization. “From a personal place, I wanted to ensure that queer folks like me were both in front and behind the camera as much as possible. I knew that a younger me was dying to see queer beauty represented by queer people and I know the process of coming into my queer identity would have been a lot easier had I had more gender-expansive role models, says Giancarlo.

Fluide has been well-received by the media and covered by outlets from Teen Vogue to Buzzfeed to Fast Company and is looking forward to increased distribution and continuing to make the world a little bit sparkly-er in 2019. 


More About Fluide:

A mission-driven startup, Fluide donates five percent of profits to organizations that support health + legal rights in the LGBTQ community. Fluide’s collection includes liquid lipstick, lip gloss, nail polish, eyeshadow, and glitter free from potentially harmful and/or endocrine-disrupting chemicals including phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde and triclosan. By naming lip and nail shades after queer spaces around the globe, Fluide seeks to pay tribute to the importance of safe spaces for the LGBTQ community. Get in touch with them here –

Annabel Strauss ‘20 announced as a Rough Draft Venture Fellow

Each year at Rough Draft Ventures, General Catalyst’s student founder focused program, meets hundreds of students who are shaping entrepreneurial communities across campuses in Boston — hackathon organizers, entrepreneurship club leaders, code club organizers, and more. Of those students, they select ten to join the program as Venture Fellows.

Venture Fellows are ambassadors for RDV and fellow entrepreneurs on campus, helping to identify and support student founders. They work closely with student groups and collaborate on events and programs to bolster the student entrepreneurship community. Every other week, Venture Fellows hear pitches from top student founders and make recommendations for backing highest potential companies.

Annabel Strauss ‘19 was a selected student from Brown, and she studies Computer Science and Economics. She has spent her summers in tech as a software engineer intern at Facebook, OkCupid, and Instagram. Annabel is passionate about women’s empowerment, particularly in tech. In high school, she was a club head for Girls Who Code and founded a conference for NYC young women in tech called Bit by Bit: Breaking the Barrier for Girls in Tech. At Brown, Annabel leads the Community Team of the Brown Entrepreneurship Program. She enjoys getting to know all the student founders on campus and talking to them about their ventures. Read more about the other Boston Venture Fellows, here.


10K Research Grant Awarded to Study “Future of Work and Aging: New Challenges and Opportunities.”

CEIBS Research Fund: “Aged to Perfection: Benefits from An Inactive Population” in Honour of Dr. Gerard Van Schaik, Co-Chairman of CEIBS Board of Directors Future of Work and Aging: New Challenges and Opportunities  

Primary Investigator: Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, Ph.D., Visiting Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty, The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University; Associate Professor of Management, College of Management, University of Massachusetts

Co-Primary Investigator: Jennifer Nazareno, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Public Health and The Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship, Brown University

Their study is titled: Future of Work and Aging: New Challenges and Opportunities










In recent years, increased attention has been focused on the Future of Work or those new conditions of work that will arise due to the rise and use of technological advances, such as artificial intelligence (AI), virtual and mixed reality, blockchain and others. The concerns and opportunities arising out of these advances are the replacement of human workers with automation or robots with advantages such as lower costs, less errors and increased productivity. At the same time, humans are now living longer, requiring more resources in later life, and relying on inadequate medical, social and economic systems and structures to take care of their health and well-being. Such workers, who were indispensable to the growth of economies, are now findings themselves out of the workforce, becoming replaced by younger generations as well as non-human workers. The convergence of these two important trends warrants further attention and research to understand the challenges and opportunities arising out of the growth of technological advances in the context of rapidly aging populations of societies that need long term care. What does the Future of Work hold for an aging workforce as rapid technological and social changes impact how work gets done and how societies respond? Already, research has demonstrated that there could be growing inequalities as automation and AI are being used to make decisions impacting the livelihood of communities, such as how welfare is distributed and how people become labeled as potential future criminals. There is also concern about a future that is ‘jobless’ for humans as production becomes fully automated in certain sectors. These concerns become amplified for aging populations in industrialized and wealthy nations who require increased resources, such as long term care and health services, from caregivers that often have migrant backgrounds. Research in this area has shown that often caregivers do not have enough savings to retire and continue to take care of clients who are, in fact, sometimes younger themselves. This project combines the expertise of the principle investigators in the areas of technology and healthcare and aims to understand the implications and consequences of rapid technological and social changes as they relate to an aging workforce in the context of Future of Work. The PI, Prof. Banu Ozkazanc-Pan, has expertise in studying technology and examining the role of technology in creating barriers and opportunities for different segments of the population. The co-PI, Prof. Jennifer Nazareno, has carried out research examining the conditions, opportunities and challenges of aging populations and their health and long-term care needs.

The aims of this project are to 1) understand the ongoing trends at the intersection of Future of Work and aging population, 2) identify opportunities for engaging the aging population as changes in the nature of work take shape via technological advances, and 3) identify challenges for an aging population with respect to their ability to contribute to the workforce.

Data collection will take place via a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches and will be predominantly in the U.S. Interviews will take place with technology CEOs and entrepreneurs, Mayors of various size cities in the U.S., and healthcare providers and workers. The PI has previously worked technologists and Mayors and will utilize her networks to gain access to at least 25 individuals to understand their points of view, experiences and practices or policies. She is also part of a Future of Work council in the city of Boston and will conduct focus groups with members who represent different sectors of work. The co-PI has carried out extensive research on long-term care and will access healthcare providers and workers to conduct interviews with at least 25 of them. Both investigators will also conduct interviews with 20-25 individuals over the age of 65 to gain an understanding of their experiences. Quantitative approaches will be utilized to illustrate trends and changes in the workforce with regard to technological advances and social changes. These trends will be identified using data from the American Community Survey as well as other databases. Given that both investigators have carried out research in relation to technological changes and long-term care, preliminary findings from previous work indicates that technological and social changes will most likely push out older workers from the tech sector while also increasing demands on the labor and services of low-wage long-term care givers. This project will provide in-depth research into the convergence of these two trends and highlight potential opportunities as well as challenges that will face societies and organizations. Any publication resulting from the project will acknowledge the financial support of the CEIBS research fund on “Aged to Perfection: Benefits from An Inactive Population” in Honour of Dr. Gerard Van Schaik, Co-Chairman of CEIBS Board of Directors.

Nelson Center welcomes the Brown Biotech Investment Group

Nelson Center welcomes the Brown Biotech Investment Group

The Brown Biotech Investment Group (BBIG) is a group of students interested in the intersection between healthcare and entrepreneurship. Through Nelson Center’s advisory support, the group will educate and engage its members on biotechnology and investments while also providing a tangible benefit to the University. BBIG members come from diverse academic backgrounds and focus on interdisciplinary collaboration to help members advance their learning and career goals. Check them out on Facebook.