By the time she was a junior, Mackenzie Burnett had put herself on course for a career in foreign policy. Her résumé was stacked with government internships, extensive service work, and a stellar academic record at the University of Maryland.
Then a friend told her about Startup Shell. A bunch of students had cleared out a storage room on campus and were using it to work on personal projects at night, like 3-D mapping software. Ms. Burnett hardly seemed a logical fit. She was a government and international relations double major with zero technical skills. But it was love at first sight.
“I walked into the room and had that moment that I knew everyone around me was really interesting and going places,” she recalls. “All of these people were looking to do something that hadn’t been done before, instead of waiting for opportunities that already existed.”
She soon became a director of Startup Shell, channeling her organizational and fund-raising skills into expanding it, as it grew into a nonprofit incubator that students now have to apply to join. After graduation next month, Ms. Burnett plans to move to San Francisco to help start a software company, where she’ll run the business side of the operation. <Read more.>