2023 Little Joe Ventures Cohort Announced

The Garage is excited to announce the newest cohort of Little Joe Ventures Fellows!
Apr 11, 2023

The Garage is excited to announce the newest cohort of Little Joe Ventures Fellows! Now in its sixth year, the Little Joe Ventures (LJV) Fellowship is awarded to five Northwestern sophomores who have demonstrated immense entrepreneurial potential. Fellows receive unparalleled personal development opportunities, funding, networking, and once in a lifetime experiences throughout their time at Northwestern and beyond. 

These five sophomores represent a diversity of backgrounds and schools across Northwestern. They were all nominated by faculty and staff because of their demonstrated talent and promising entrepreneurial potential. Learn more about each of the students in the 2023 cohort below.

Ali Lee, Weinberg '25

Ali is a sophomore in Weinberg, studying Mathematical Methods in the Social Sciences (MMSS) and History. Ali founded a clothing company in high school, which gained traction through branding campaigns and social media marketing, which amassed millions of views. Her products have been seen on influencers such as Emma Chamberlain, Lennon Stella, Mackenzie Ziegler, and featured in publications such as O Magazine, Vox, and The Today Show. At Northwestern University, she is a member of Mayfest Productions, A&O, the winter Propel Program, and the president of the North Area Council. In her free time she enjoys boxing and is training for the 2024 Golden Gloves.

Ian Lei, Medill '25

Ian is from Boston, Massachusetts and is studying Journalism and Economics with a minor in Data Science. Ian’s interest in entrepreneurship started in high school when he founded a program that taught news literacy and other journalism practices to middle school students in Massachusetts. At Northwestern, Ian assisted in creating fundraising materials for Acorn Genetics, a startup building third-generation genetic sequencing devices to make DNA testing more affordable, accessible, and private. Ian is also a member of Alpha Kappa Psi and runs an AI ethics newsletter called Hold the Code. Additionally, he is passionate about data privacy, fostering strong organizational cultures, and the art of business strategy. Ian is driven by a deep desire to understand how new ventures can leverage emerging technologies and legal frameworks to drive innovation and growth.

Lauren Lin, SESP '25

Lauren is a designer at heart. She loves bringing tangibility to ideas and crafting creative strategies backed by research and insights. She calls the San Francisco Bay Area home, and is studying Learning Sciences, Data Science, and Human Computer Interaction at Northwestern. While being surrounded by the fast-paced culture of Silicon Valley, she has become increasingly interested in responsible innovation and ethical design practices. She hopes to reimagine the next era of design—and will start by creating new tools that bring reflective, intersectional and critical lenses to design thinking. Currently, Lauren is launching Technical Difficulties with Dr. Liz Gerber, a podcast featuring female leaders in tech and design, while also inventing toys and co-leading youth-centered research at IDEO’s Play Lab.

Noah Edelman, Weinberg '25

Born and raised in New York City, Noah is a Psychology major with a minor in Entrepreneurship. His journey into the world of internet startups began with a passion project on tennis match forecasting as a sophomore in high school. Since then, Noah founded an investment management fund and has started multiple business newsletters in The Garage’s Residency program. Last year, Noah was a part of the team at Authentic Media Ascension, where he spearheaded an online content strategy before the startup’s acquisition. Currently, he’s co-founding The Neuron, a media startup that keeps over 35,000 working professionals up-to-date on AI developments in a daily newsletter. Noah's mission is to educate communities about the impact of emerging technologies on their lives, jobs, and future.

Zoe Lewis, SESP '25

Zoe is a sophomore at Northwestern University studying Learning Sciences and Entrepreneurship with a concentration in the design of learning spaces. She is eager to meet challenges, research issues, and explore new avenues of industry. As the Founder of PETAL, she is dedicated to researching and building spaces of liberatory learning for individuals from all backgrounds. Her focus is to ensure equity is centered in all facets of work and life.

Noah shared that “joining Little Joe Ventures with other student entrepreneurs and mentors offers a unique opportunity to tap into their diverse expertise in various areas of entrepreneurship, which will help me broaden my perspective, think bigger, and make the most significant impact as a founder.”

When asked how the program will impact her work specifically, Zoe told us, “to me, being a part of LJV means being able to access resources and community that will support me in learning how to most effectively design and facilitate spaces of learning.”

The Little Joe Ventures Fellowship has been thoughtfully designed to offer undergraduate students from across various schools at Northwestern the opportunity to participate in programming, travel, and a $5,000 financial award to pursue an entrepreneurial project or unpaid professional opportunity. The annual fellowship begins each spring during the cohort’s sophomore year and continues beyond graduation.

“The Little Joe Ventures Fellowship has become one of the most coveted programs for students at The Garage due to the opportunities it provides and the community of Fellows who support each other. Congratulations to Ali, Ian, Lauren, Noah, and Zoe on joining the newest LJV cohort,” shared Mike Raab, Executive Director of The Garage.

The Little Joe Ventures Fellowship in Entrepreneurship is made possible by a generous gift from Tony Owen ’93, ’03 MBA, and his wife, Monique. To stay up to date on programs at The Garage, including the LJV Fellowship, sign up for our monthly newsletter here.

About the Author