Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh

    Friday, February 20 - 22, 2015

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team
  8. Blog
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Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh

Friday, February 20 - 22, 2015

Friday, February 20 - 22, 2015
Event starts at 6:30 pm

Environmental Charter School
829 Milton Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15218

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Startup Weekend Education Comes to Pittsburgh!

Join rise of education entrepreneurship in Western Pennsylvania - register for Startup Weekend Education!

Startup Weekend is a global movement of entrepreneurs who learn the basics of founding and launching successful startup ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs, with events in over 100 countries and 580 cities around the world. From Fredericksburg to Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe come together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

Startup Weekend events  follow the same basic model, but at Startup Weekend Education educators vote first! The cool stuff that comes out of this event is created for - and by - them, so their opinion matters. This is how it goes: 

  • Pitch: Anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback
  • Form: Teams form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) 
  • Build: A 54-hour frenzy of business modeling, coding, designing, and validating
  • Present: A presentation in front of local entrepreneurial leaders 
We in Pittsburgh are looking for ways to get students as young as pre-K involved in the validation process - after all, why shouldn't they be included in the conversation?

Whether "edu"preneurs found companies, meet a cofounder, connect with local educators, or learn a skill outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic and fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

To register click here.

For more information, feel free to contact one of the organizers. We'll see you there!
Courtney Francis, Co-Organizer and Marketing Lead
Lee Ngo, Lead Organizer and Sponsorship Lead
Shimira Williams, Co-Organizer and Operations Lead
Christian Moreno, Sponsorship Coordinator
Cat Tsavalas, Social Media Coordinator


Friday February 20th

6:30 pm
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

7:00 pm
Dinner & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

7:20 pm
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce keynote speaker Luis von Ahn, coaches, and community leaders

7:30 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

8:45 pm
Educators Pre-Vote
In Startup Weekend Education tradition, educators get to vote twice: an initial vote on the teams that influences the general vote.

9:00 pm
General Vote
Attendees vote for the top pitches

9:15 pm
Form Teams | Assign Rooms
Teams start forming and discussing ideas. Organizers and volunteers will assign them to a room for the whole event.

10:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

11:00 pm
Close for the Day
ECS to close until the follow day - teams may continue to work elsewhere.

Saturday February 21st

9:00 am
Breakfast | Resume
Arrive, receive breakfast & coffee, and resume work.

9:30 am
Meet Coaches
Coaches will arrive throughout the day to mentor and advise your project.

12:00 pm
Lunch | Entertainment
Catered lunch to be served with light entertainment provided.

1:00 pm
Status Report
After-lunch check-in with the organizers and all teams: status reports, call for help and needs.

1:30 pm
Resume Work | Coach Meetings
More coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

6:30 pm
Dinner | Entertainment
Catered dinner provided with light entertainment.

7:00 pm
Continue Working (no coaches)
Teams resume work, but do not receive coaching (unless requested)

8:45 pm
Ice Cream Social
#dreamers will take a break to socialize with Dream Ice Cream.

11:00 pm
Close for the Day
ECS to close until the follow day - teams may continue to work elsewhere. morning. Teams may continue to work elsewhere.

Sunday February 22nd

9:00 am
Arrive, receive breakfast & coffee, and resume work.

10:00 am
Coaches Help with Pitches
Coaches arrive and provide final opportunity to ask questions or suggest last-minute touches.

12:00 pm
Lunch (Grab & Go) | Continue Working
Catered lunch provided, teams only need to grab their portion and resume to their work station.

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place - Google Presentations ONLY & no wireless demos.

4:00 pm
Slide Decks Due | HARD STOP
The preparation phase of the event is over. All team to convene to the community area and bring their items.

4:30 pm
Dinner and Networking
Final dinner provided by Bar Marco, networking with Pittsburgh's education and entrepreneurial crowd.

5:00 pm
Commence Presentation Ceremony

5:15 pm
Dinner Entertainment

5:30 pm
Signature Speaker
Acknowledgment and thanks of Signature Sponsor Dr. Po-Shen Loh, CEO and Co-Founder of Expii, who will deliver a few words to the attendees.

5:45 pm
Final Presentations

7:45 pm
Judges Sequested | Youth Choice Tallied
Judges choose the top three teams, Youth Choice vote is counted

8:00 pm
Award Ceremony | Feedback
Judges provide brief feedback to the presenting teams, Youth Choice Award and winners are announced

8:30 pm
Closings Words
Organizers, volunteers, sponsors, coaches, and attendees are thanked and acknowledged.

9:00 pm
DJ Selecta on the 1s and 2s.


Luis von Ahn
CEO & Co-Founder

Keynote Speaker

Po-Shen Loh
CEO & Co-Founder

Signature Sponsor Speaker

Event Judges

Lisa Abel-Palmieri
Director of Technology & Innovation

The Ellis School

Stephanie Butler
Principal User Experience Designer


Joziah Council
President & Co-Founder

Shy-Way Essentials
National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Finalist

Aileen Owens
Director of Technology & Innovation

South Fayette School District

Bill Isler

The Fred Rogers Company

Coaches and Mentors

Nina Marie Barbuto


Jesse Council
CEO & Co-Founder

Shy-Way Essentials
National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge Finalist

Joe Esposito
Development Consultant

Startup Digest PGH

Colleen Hannagan
Assistant Principal

North Allegheny School District

Adam Kelson

Saul Ewing LLP

Nikolaus Hruska
Vice President

Problem Solutions

Sabrina Haskell
Senior Game Designer

Schell Games

Nikki Navta


Dan Seitam
Partner & CxO at C-leveled


Nicole Muise-Kielkucki
Business Manager, Social Enterprise at Idea Foundry

Nicole joined Idea Foundry in August 2012, excited to contribute to the organization’s brand new Social Enterprise sector activities. She stepped into a full time role leading those efforts, including InterSector, Idea Foundry’s Social Enterprise Accelerator, in early 2013, bringing to the team extensive management experience, a philosophy of hard work and pragmatism, and a unique perspective rooted in sustainability and community development.

Nicole holds a Masters of Food Studies from the School of Sustainability and the Environment at Chatham University, where she was awarded a scholarship from the Institute of Food Technologists, as well as the Katherine M. Grosscup Scholarship from the Garden Club of America. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Bachelor Degree in Political Science and Philosophy, with a focus on Latin American Studies.

Since coming to call Pittsburgh home in 2005, she has worked for several local environmental non-profits in the city, including Tree Pittsburgh and Phipps Conservatory. She is passionate about contributing to the development of resilient and sustainable communities, which includes at the forefront building robust local economies and healthy regional food systems. She currently serves on the board of the Lawrenceville Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Education Pittsburgh team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Signature Sponsors

Expii is a global learning platform that works like a community-built textbook, where instructors and students collaborate on interactive, dynamic, and validated material.

Visit Website




Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Pittsburgh is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Courtney
  • Lee
  • Shimira
  • Christian
  • Cat


Mandela Schumacher-Hodge Dixon
Kapor Capital Founding Portfolio Services Director | Forbes 30 Under 30 | TEDx Presenter

Mandela is a passionate go-getter, leader by example, and champion of big dreams backed by massive action. She is committed to doing work that fosters a social good, and is excited by the power of entrepreneurship, technology, and community-building to be a catalyst for personal transformation, societal development, and global improvement.

Experience: Founding Portfolio Services Director at Kapor Capital | Forbes Contributing Author | Global Director of Education Entrepreneurship Organization | Tech Startup Founder | Public Speaker | Blogger | Educator

Event Blog

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