College of Staten Island (CSI) student Abigail Brown ’20 may have been “intimidated” when she first arrived at the Motorola headquarters in Chicago. However, that sentiment changed when it was announced that Brown’s team was one of only two grand prize winners in the Motorola Moto Z – Moto Mods Pitch competition.
Her team, MACAY Labs©, one of 13 teams competing, founded MACAY Labs© TrueSound HiFi©. They will receive up to $1 million in investment funding from Lenovo Capital and were offered enrollment in the first class of Motorola’s new Moto Mods Accelerator Program. MACAY Labs© is comprised of five founders: three Staten Island Technical High School (SITHS) students; Brown, a SITHS alumna; and one Stevens Institute of Technology student.
“When we found out we won the investment, we were almost in tears. At first, I was too shocked to react, then people were coming up to us and shaking our hands. We were dumbfounded. Full-grown professionals were thanking us, teenagers, for sharing our time with them. They were congratulating us. It was a surreal experience,” exclaimed Brown, who notes that she was one of the youngest competitors and the only woman. The student first worked with CSI staff through the 30,000 Degrees initiative, when SITHS reached out to the Staten Island Small Business Development Center at CSI as well as the CSI Tech Incubator to assist Brown.
“30,000 Degrees brings together educators from P-12 and college settings to support student aspirations and success. In Brown’s case, the CSI team of business experts who helped her and her teammates prepare for the Chicago competition were palpably excited by Macay Labs. Given the impression she and her teammates made on the group, I am not at all surprised by the outcome of the Motorola competition,” declared Kenneth M. Gold, PhD, Founding Dean of the School of Education
Currently taking non-degree classes in order to focus on the Motorola project, Brown will be a full-time student at CSI in the fall, majoring in Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The Bay Terrace resident has worked as an instructor at the Staten Island Hebrew Academy’s Intro to Lego Robotics course, an Engineering counselor at SITHS’s Summer STEM Camp, and an IT/Media Consultant at Lifestyles for the Disabled. She is also trying to start an independent Intro to Engineering course for kids.
Brown plans to pursue an undergraduate and then graduate degree in her field, with future plans to have her own consumer electronics company, and eventually teach engineering to high school students “to impact their lives like my teachers impacted mine.”
Read more about the competitors and their products on the Motorola Blog.
View the video on NY1.