Student Entrepreneur Program

We’ll help you find an internship, receive mentoring, or obtain a scholarship to start your career in an innovative, fast growing company.


VDC’s signature Student Entrepreneur Program (StEP) is founded by Dan Phillips who has been an executive in five technology growth companies over a 30+ year period. His latest startup, CloudHealth Technologies, is one of the fastest growing technology startups in Boston today and has been recently acquired by VMware. Dan also founded the UMass Boston Entrepreneurship Center in 2009 and is an Advisor for the UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center.

The StEP consists of:

-Scholarships for selected students to assist in tuition payments as well as provide mentorship for entrepreneur internship/career opportunities.
-Internship Mentoring that offers workshops to educate and develop skills required to obtain an internship or career in technology growth companies. Qualified student are assigned mentors who help them to identify internship opportunities, develop the skills required, apply for positions, and guide them through the interview process. And continue to mentor through graduation and first job.


An opportunity for UMass Boston juniors and beyond from any major who have a desire to work for a technology growth company, and potentially start their own company someday. In addition to a scholarship, the program includes a mentorship opportunity with Dan Phillips who will meet with the winner(s) on a regular basis to offer mentorship and assist the student(s) in acquiring the skills necessary to launch their careers. Additionally, if mutually agreeable, Dan will assist the student(s) with finding a suitable internship through his many industry connections.

To be considered for the award students must be interested in the mentorship opportunity as listed above and meet the following criteria:

– Be passionate about an entrepreneurial career
– Have a cumulative GPA of a 2.75 or above
– Be a Junior or Senior in an undergraduate degree program
– Be currently working and utilizing loans or other financial aid towards their cost of attendance
– There is a preference for students who are the first in their family to attend college
– Fall semester application period opens on 8/1/2019 and ends on 11/17/2019.

Learn more about the Scholarship.


Below are the steps to our mentor process:

1. Mentors advise you how to search for 5 to 10 potential internships for you to apply to. (Recommend appropriate sites and methods to search for internships). You do the work and come back to mentors with the internship list.

2. Mentors advise you how to go through the internship application process. (Recommend how to review the internship description and company and then create tailored resumes and cover letters designed specifically for each internship). You do the work and come back to mentor with tailored resumes and cover letters.

3. Mentors advise you how to go through the phone screen process. (Recommend how to do research on the internship, company, and industry, and prepare a list of questions the interviewer may ask and answers the student may give. Also, recommend a list of questions for the student to ask). You do the work and come back to mentors with the notes and material they will use for the phone interview.

4. Mentors advise you how to go through the on-site interview process. (Recommend how to do more detailed research on the internship, company, and industry, and prepare a list of questions the interviewers may ask and answers the student may give. Also recommend a more detailed list of questions for the student to ask). You do the work and come back to mentors with the notes and materials they will use for the on-site interview.

5. Mentors advise you how to followup with all company contacts after the interview process. (Recommend emails to send and messages to convey). You do the work and come back to mentors with the emails they will send to company contacts.

6. Mentors periodically review the internship experience with you and guide you towards a successful internship completion. You periodically update mentors on internship experience.

7. Mentors work with you to apply and go through the interview process for your first career opportunity upon graduation. You periodically update mentors on the targeted positions you are focusing on for your first career opportunity.

To be considered for this opportunity, please submit your resume and brief introduction of yourself, and indicate the type internship of your interest. 


The Student Entrepreneur Program (StEP) mentors are all full-time professional employees donating their time to help students with no reimbursement. And the technology growth companies the mentors are referring students to are all fast moving companies with no time to waste. Mentors who have engaged with UMass Boston students so far include:

  1. Anton Gurov
  2. Dave Mailing
  3. David Parsons
  4. Devan Weed
  5. Devin Nguyen
  6. Gaby Veloz
  7. Georges Arnaout
  8. Ian Mack
  9. Kate LaGarde
  10. Michelle Fowler
  11. Sanjana Baldwa
  12. Nick Iverson
  13. Dean Toulan
  14. Sahil Singhal
  15. Sam Byrne
  16. Ryan Pettaway 
  17. DJ Dauria
  18. Thespina Fletcher
  19. Renee Wysopal
  20. Mike Giacometti
  21. John Gallinagh


Thank you so much for accepting me into the program and guiding my way through the internship/job search process. Along with the efforts of Dan Phillips, Devan, program’s mentor, and the VDC team, I have been given the opportunity to work full-time with a business intelligence startup, InsightSquared. Devan did an amazing job guiding me through the whole process, and her advice was tremendously valuable. I look forward to being a mentor to students one day.

Kian Phillips, Bachelor of Science in Management, UMass Boston, 2019.

Dan, thank you so much. I am genuinely grateful for the opportunity to work with CHAOSSEARCH! Also, thank you for creating the Entrepreneurship Program. I have a classmate that recently got accepted as well, and I mentioned how much positive impact the program is going to make in their life.

Klinbert Garcia, Bachelor of Science in Management, UMass Boston, 2019.

Thank you for connecting me with Michelle, Gabriela and Courtney. Program mentors are all amazing and intelligent women who have taught me so much in this short time. And a thank you to Dan, who’ve been so helpful and insightful during the whole process! Thank you for being such an active supporter at UMass and for others around the Boston area. You have made a tremendous impact.  I cannot wait to see where this path leads.

Brooke Haley, Bachelor of Science in Management, UMass Boston, 2022.

It has been an honor to not only receive the Entrepreneur Scholarship but also the mentorship of Dan Phillips and the team at the Venture Development Center. I hope that I can fully utilize their guidance and support so that I might eventually be in a position to pay it forward – and someday help to propel other motivated students towards their chosen careers.

Sarah DuBois-Coyne,  Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry, UMass Boston, 2020.

It has been an absolute pleasure so far working with the Venture Development Center. Big thanks to Dan for letting me in the program. My mentor Mike Giacometti has taught me a lot of invaluable information in the job search process that I otherwise would not have picked up so fast on my own. I noticed a great deal of self-confidence in myself and this is the most invested I’ve been in keeping my career status sharp. I look forward to mentoring other students down the road in finding their intended career paths.

Michael Panchu, Bachelor of Science in Management, Information Technology Business Intelligence major, UMass Boston, 2020.

The mentorship helped me decide what kind of career I wanted to have in IT. I recommend the mentorship program because you can make connections and mentors help you figure out the direction you want to head into.

Wallace Pena, Bachelor of Science in Management, Information Technology  major, UMass Boston, 2019.


Check out Dan Phillips presentations at StEP information sessions:



Venture Development Center
University of Massachusetts Boston
100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125-3393

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