Drew University Students Step Into the Shark Tank

Sarah Szuchman C’24 takes us through the event

December 2022 – Drew University recently held its annual Shark Tank event where business and economics students presented their fall 2022 semester projects to a panel of alum, faculty, and staff judges, who provided critical feedback.

The event was sponsored by Drew’s Business Department, the Center for Mentoring and Professional Networks, and Launch.


Vitoria Mendes C'23 presents her travel company idea.

In classrooms throughout Brothers College, students pitched their product and business ideas to their respective panels.

Sophia McGee C’23 shared her project, titled Visualife, a software program that allows the user to upload a sketch, which the program clarifies and creates a visualization of what the idea looks like in your head via artificial intelligence.

Vitoria Mendes C’23 presented her project, Paradise Planning, which she described as, “A travel planning service that offers customized itineraries and experiences with learned, travel-savvy experts.”

C.J. Talerico C24 introduced his idea, CTalerico Photography, a service that allows users to book competitively-priced professional photoshoots.

These are just three of many examples of incredible, creative, and diverse student presentations.

Following the presentations, the judging panels shared constructive feedback and asked insightful questions of the student presenters, providing real-world, in-the-moment learning opportunities.


Students were peppered with questions on their pitches from industry professionals, including Drew alums.

The students raved about how the event influenced them.

“It felt really natural to present in front of the judges,” said Colin Kidwell C’24. “I benefited from the experience because I got more comfortable presenting something I am passionate about. They liked my presentation and I got good business connections from it. My projects will help me going forward, being something to strive for, especially knowing I have people by my side.”

Samantha Jean Haase C’25 shared, “It was really exciting getting to present in front of professionals. I felt like I was in that actual business environment and it empowered me to do really well. Plus, having my teammates’ support made me happy.”

Haase added, “I think my presentation skills and speaking skills improved from this experience. I was asked a couple questions I didn’t plan ahead for, so the challenge of properly answering them was fun. The project will help me in whatever future career I have because I can take every part of the experience into the future with me. Hearing from the mentors in the room respond to everyone’s projects was awesome because I got to analyze different scenarios and gain key insights into the field.”

After presenting and judging projects, students and panelists mingled in the Brothers College lounge for a valuable networking opportunity.

Drew’s business and economics students left Shark Tank 2022 with life and career lessons to draw from in their bright, collective futures.

This story was written by Sarah Szuchman C’24, a psychology major and photography minor.

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