2024 Little Joe Ventures Cohort Announced

The Garage is excited to announce the newest cohort of Little Joe Ventures Fellows!
Carly Kramer
Apr 23, 2024
images of the fellows

The Garage is excited to announce the newest cohort of Little Joe Ventures Fellows! Now in its seventh 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. This elite group was chosen due to their demonstrated talent and promising entrepreneurial potential. Learn more about each of the students in the 2024 cohort below.

Trevor Abbott, McCormick '26

From education, to space tech, to haptics for VR, entrepreneurship is a path in which Trevor can fully and freely accomplish his goals of mastering education for others and breaking down the barriers of space exploration. Trevor started his first venture in high school, Blues Guitar Tutoring, where he found enjoyment in crafting his own solutions to issues important to him. Upon entering Northwestern as an aerospace engineer, he helped lead the NASA Autonomous Casting RovEr (ACRE) Team and transform it into an entrepreneurial venture. Additionally, as the team lead of a new endeavor, Metallic Expandable Technology for Artemis Lunar Structures (METALS), he has won hundreds of thousands of dollars in NASA funding. Currently, as the CTO and co-founder of HaptE, he is spearheading the development of the next generation of advanced haptic gloves for communication. These projects will allow Trevor to fulfill his dream of changing the world through technology, especially in space.

Colleen Charchut, Weinberg ‘26

Born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, Colleen has been a diehard Northwestern fan all her life. Colleen is a sophomore pursuing an Economics major and an Entrepreneurship minor. Her entrepreneurial journey began in high school when she started upcycling hats and selling them on secondhand marketplaces. It was through this first venture that Colleen fell in love with creating products that bring people joy. At Northwestern, her entrepreneurial spirit has endured. Colleen co-founded ReWear, an online resource that facilitates students’ buying, selling, lending, and borrowing of clothing and accessories with one another. Besides sustainable fashion, Colleen is also passionate about the creative marketing work she has done for various food and beverage brands. In her free time, Colleen enjoys training for her next marathon and producing content for Northwestern’s fashion magazine.

Terry Chen, Weinberg ‘26

Terry is a sophomore from Beijing and Toronto studying Computer Science, Entrepreneurship and Design. He views technology as a tool for solving human problems and aspires to create products people love. Terry has worked on LLM reasoning systems and multi-modal AI copilots, which he believes will be integral to future human-ai workflows. Despite his passion for innovative technology, Terry believes that empathy, caring, and creativity, elements of human-human interactions, will always transcend mere calculation. At The Garage, Terry is leveraging his global upbringing to propel forward his startup, Cogno, with a mission to make global brands accessible to customers anywhere and to facilitate a shopping experience that feels local despite geographic distances.

Victoria Israel, McCormick ‘26

Victoria dreams of leaving an everlasting impact on the world through entrepreneurship and innovation. Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, she is a sophomore majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a concentration in robotics, and planning to pursue a Master in Biomedical Engineering with a leadership certificate. In high school, she founded STEMOA, an international non-profit organization that provided free scientific resources to low-income students. She also authored a children's biology book and fundraised 40,000 ARG pesos to donate it through her organization. These initiatives, which spanned five countries, leveraged a global team and garnered acclaim from organizations affiliated with IEEE and UNICEF. At Northwestern, she co-founded HaptE, a startup building a new generation of haptic gloves aiming to revolutionize the world of communication.

Gillian Nieh, McCormick ‘26

Gilli is a second-year in McCormick studying Computer Science, Cognitive Science, and Human-Computer Interaction. At Northwestern, Gilli serves as a Design Co-Head for Spoon Northwestern's print magazine and is a member of Kappa Theta Pi. Currently, she is spearheading the design of an app, Billed, which aims to simplify the bill-splitting process through an intuitive, streamlined interface. Raised in the Bay Area, she became an innovator early in life, always thinking of how her interactions with products could be improved. Gilli's love of design stemmed from her personal interactions with products throughout her life and her direct involvement in design projects. She has come to understand the pivotal role of design in shaping even the most minute interactions with technology. Gilli aspires to build a career in design to create accessible experiences that resonate with users.

Colleen shared that "The LJV Fellowship offers unparalleled resources and, crucially, the unique opportunity to build long-lasting relationships with fellow student entrepreneurs and mentors who are all eager to provide support and guidance throughout my ventures."

When asked how the program will impact her work specifically, Victoria told us that “LJV represents a life-changing opportunity for my entrepreneurial path, providing me with a family of fellow student entrepreneurs who are developing ideas that hold the potential to reshape the world."

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 Trevor, Colleen, Terry, Victoria, and Gillian 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 quarterly newsletter here.

About the Author

Carly is a passionate community builder serving as The Garage's Marketing Manager. She is overjoyed to work with students at The Garage, helping them realize their potential in creative communication and social strategy.