Derek Crowe had wanted to be a Navy pilot for as long as he could remember, so as a freshman mechanical engineering major, he joined the University’s Naval ROTC program. But after learning about the biomedical engineering program, he switched course—and majors—and since has seen firsthand how research can have commercial appeal.
After working with cell motility and fluorescent imaging, Crowe shifted to countercurrent exchange through his work with the Nanomembrane Research Group, an academic laboratory that works closely with SiMPore Inc., a University of Rochester spin-off company that specializes in ultra-small technology.
Looking back, the senior can see how the relationships he initiated with professors played into the entrepreneurial insights he has gained from working in such an innovative laboratory. In fact, he is spending a fifth, tuition-free year of college in a program that encourages students to pursue their own entrepreneurial endeavors; Crowe and three other students hope to establish a tutoring center in southwest Rochester.
“The decisions I’ve made over the years have led to where I am now,” he says. “When I see the big picture, I think, ‘Wow, I’m lucky to be where I am.’ This has been an amazing fit for me.”