In  mid-July, six Libertas Scholars (sophomores Cameron Bleecker, Chloe Herdrich, Emma Gobbell, Alena Zeni, Erik Smith, and senior Evan Boger), along with Providence sophomores Hannah Garza, Madison Malone, and Chloe Norton–joined by Emma’s sister, Margaret, headed out in the wee morning hours in the Providence van to LAX, en route to an “Economics of Entrepreneurship” conference at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO.

Evan Boger, Madison Malone, Alena Zeni, Eric Smith, Cameron Bleecker, Chloe Herdrich, Margaret Gobbell, Chloe Norton, Emma Gobbell, and Hannah Garza

They spent 2 1/2 days learning about what makes entrepreneurs tick, how they help society, and how the free market system works. About 75 students listened to the four speakers, including two professors, one young entrepreneur, and Mr. Rottman.

Eric, Cameron, and Alena in the “Trading Game”

It’s all about the attitude….

The students had an amazing time; one student stated that “the lessons made sense and explained why the world can’t be perfect. I honestly wish the lectures were longer.” Another highlight: meeting “other young adults who share similar interests and ideas that I do…I made some friendships that I think will last for a long time.” “The speakers,” said another student, “taught us how to think well, take chances, and persist through tough situations.”

One highlight of the conference was hearing from Derek Magill, a multi-talented 23-year-old entrepreneur who told his story and encouraged students to not let their young age stop them from making themselves valuable to employers. He told students to try out many different options in life, and rather than focusing on money, to accumulate experiences instead. After hearing Magill, one Providence student commented that now she realized she “didn’t have to wait until I’m older to start a business.”

Students also competed in a Shark Tank activity (Evan Boger’s “ArmChair-preneur” team took second place with an innovative backpack idea), a scavenger hunt, tortilla tosses, and hands-free Oreo eating, just to show that learning about economics is fun as well as stimulating. They slept in cool dorm rooms, which was a respite from the 98 degree heat and humidity of the Midwest.

Since the students’ flights back to LAX departed eight hours after the conference ended, they had time to Uber to downtown St. Louis to check out the zany City Museum, where they explored an array of nooks and crannies and practiced their tunnel crawling skills in a discombobulated ten-story building with a junkyard ambiance (it has a bus peering off of the rooftop). According to Emma Gobbell, our visit there “was a completely different experience that was so awesome and fun I can’t even describe it.”

Hannah embarks on a muggy outside ride
Evan and Alena climb from one plane to…another plane
You’d think the Gateway Arch would be easy to find. Think again.

The FEE staff came up to Mr. Rottman more than once and told him how impressive the Providence students were. We think they’ll accept more of our students in 2018!