Hisaoka Fellowship Program

The Hisaoka Fellowship Program is designed for first year Smith MBA students who are highly interested in entrepreneurial innovation and/or startups. The program is a partnership between the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and the Office of Career Services. In order to be selected as a Hisaoka Fellow, students must secure summer internships with VC- or angel-funded startups and early stage companies. Through the Hisaoka Fellowship program, startups benefit from increased access to Smith MBA talent. Students benefit from experience with the challenges of forming and growing new ventures. The Dingman Center provides each Hisaoka Fellow a $5,000 stipend to supplement students’ summer salaries. This presents an excellent opportunity for startups which otherwise may lack sufficient funds to compete for MBA interns.

Advantages of becoming a Dingman Venture Fellow

  • Fellows will be awarded, at a minimum, a $5,000 matching scholarship to supplement the summer internship salary
  • Foster connections within and understanding of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem
  • Will be promoted and supported by the Dingman Center within the Smith School, UMD and the startup community
  • Unique access to the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship’s programming and various internal and external events


  • This program is open to current first year Smith MBA students
  • Students must have a strong interest in entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial thinking, and/or working in an early stage company
  • Participation in entrepreneurial focused classes and past involvement with Dingman Center programming
  • Experience in or willingness to accept the untraditional startup work environment
  • Have received an offer from a startup

Roles & Responsibilities

  • Produce high level work and strongly represent the Dingman Center, the Smith School and the University of Maryland
  • Will commit to work during a typical summer internship time frame (early June to early/mid-August) negotiating any vacation dates with the company directly
  • Once designated a Fellow, students are expected to be frequently involved with the Dingman Center

What types of companies can participate in this program?

  • Firm must either have already raised some Angel or VC funding, be a Venture Capital (VC) firm or incubator, or have received grant funding of $500,000 or more
  • Non-profit startups are also eligible
  • Technology commercialization opportunities and incubators will also be considered
  • Self-funded firms will be considered in cases where angel or VC funding is being actively pursued
  • Must be recent startups: less than five years since inception (or since initial external capital, in the case of “ramp-ups” or “speed-ups”)
  • Must offer an approximately 10-week internship, starting in June and ending in August 2015, paying at least $5,000 total (i.e., $12.50/hour, full time)
  • The company is expected to expose the student to strategic decision-making aspects of the company’s operation

Application Process for Students

  • Student works independently (and with OCS and Dingman Center) to secure an internship offer
  • Student applies with offer letter, resume and cover letter explaining 1) why you want to become a Hisaoka Fellow, 2) how you will succeed in an entrepreneurial setting and 3) how this program will further your career goals (see links / contact info below)
  • Dingman Center responds within 48 hours to set up interview (if application qualifies)
  • Results of application review will be either Accept, Deny, or Waitlist

Contact Information & Forms 

Intern Search Resources

2014 Fellows 

Rohit Chowdhury
Rohit Chowdhury previously managed a group of banking executives at a commercial bank in India. He authorized non-funded credit facilities to Micro, Small and Medium Sector industries to boost economic growth in the country.  Rohit has undertaken consulting projects with the World Bank and other energy startups where he has developed business and financial models for scaling up micro-grid renewable energy projects. Due to that experience, Rohit desires to work in the energy sector.

Summer Internship: Glanz

Sam Cravens
Prior to Smith, Sam Cravens was an English teacher in South Korea where he wrote curriculum, planned English camps, and had the chance to travel throughout east Asia. Sam is interested in Tech startups in Silicon Valley and is focusing on marketing within the MBA program. He is also developing his own product on campus with the staff at the Dingman Center and Mtech.

Summer Internship: Zuora

Seth Faulb
Seth Faulb was born and raised in Colorado Springs, CO. He received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Colorado – Boulder. Seth's professional work history includes working for General Construction/Kiewit in Seattle, WA in project management on the Hood Canal Floating Bridge Project and working as a patent examiner for the United States Patent Office in Alexandria, VA. He is interested in venture capital, strategy and operations.

Summer Internship: Reluminati

Deotima Gangopadhyay
An electrical engineer by profession, Deotima Gangopadhyay has more than two years of experience working primarily in the energy and mining industry across Australia and New Zealand. She has performed a range of electrical engineering assignments for various projects for high voltage substation design, transmission and distribution, power systems protection and railway traction systems. Deotima's job responsibilities also included managing project team, tracking delivery schedule, resource forecasting, client communications, commissioning support, bidding and cost estimations.

Summer Internship: Customer First Renewables

Gwendolyn Gurley
Gwen Gurley studied Liberal Arts at St. John's College and went on to receive a graduate degree in Italian Studies. Her work history includes stints as a teacher, owner/operator of her own language services business and a team lead for a corporate office. Currently, Gwen is interning with Betterific where she helps with marketing, sales and PR initiatives, as well as SEO for the startup’s website and blog. In summer 2014, Gwen was named a Hisaoka Fellow as well. 

Summer Internship: Distil Networks

Bethy Hagan
Bethy Hagan is a first year MBA student from Baltimore, MD. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. Following her degree, she worked for a sports startup in Santa Monica, CA in a variety of operations and program management roles. Through Smith and the Dingman Center she hopes to build her understanding of strategy implementation in order to assist in the growth and development of early stage companies. In summer 2014, Bethy was named a Hisaoka Fellow as well. 

Summer Internship: Social Toaster

Stephen King
Stephen King is a first-year MBA student interested in marketing and data analytics. Before coming to Smith, Stephen played professional soccer for five years in Major League Soccer for DC United, the Seattle Sounders, and the Chicago Fire. He received his undergraduate degree in finance from the Smith School of Business.

Summer Internship: RideScout

Rodrigo Velasquez
Rodrigo Velasquez is a clean-energy entrepreneur from Guatemala. His background includes experience in the financial services and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, he supported his family with the launch of a solar energy startup in Guatemala. While pursuing his MBA, Rodrigo will utilize Smith’s resources to gain more knowledge and international experience in financing clean energy projects for developing countries. Post-MBA, he envisions working for an organization that focuses on developing sustainable practices in third-world countries.

Summer Internship: Clearly Energy