Invest In Me

Blazing a trail

Scholarships give entrepreneurial student confidence to dream, innovate and lead

Less than a year after Arthur Chadwick founded the Hyperloop at VCU student team, he led it through its competitive debut as one of only 20 finalists in the world — and just nine in the U.S. — to advance to the 2018 International Hyperloop Pod Competition at SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California.

“The whole point is to bring together the right people to design, build, fundraise for and test a Hyperloop pod, which is a high-speed electric vehicle that can run in vacuum conditions,” says Chadwick, a senior double-majoring in mechanical engineering in the VCU College of Engineering and interdisciplinary studies in the VCU University College.

A lifelong inquisitiveness for design and problem-solving has made Chadwick a natural entrepreneur. These interests led him to VCU, where he was accepted into the VCU da Vinci Center-administered Innovate Living-Learning Program to pursue a certificate in venture creation and live with other entrepreneurial-minded students from VCU’s schools of the Arts and Business and the colleges of Engineering and Humanities and Sciences.

“I like everything about the design process from brainstorming to ideating, to designing and then validating that your design has solved the problem you were focusing on,” he says. “I’m also passionate about working as part of a team to accomplish a goal, and watching how teams form, interact and evolve over time.”

Receiving the Wright Engineering Access Scholarship in 2018, Chadwick says, felt like joining a team of sorts, a community of students with similar interests but diverse experiences. It also felt like validation that he was on the right path and helped him focus on how he could apply what he was learning to solve real-world problems.

“Scholarships and donations allow students to make an impact faster,” says Chadwick, who hopes to find his own way to make a lasting impact on society. “I want to make a difference. It would be awesome to start my own venture one day, building something with a team of people to accomplish something big.”