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Aiming for the Stars at Vanderbilt

Aerospace engineering student seeks business boost

Mathew Saunders
Propulsion Engineer, Blue Origin

Vanderbilt Accelerator 2019

He may be training as an aerospace engineer, but Mathew Saunders is a natural entrepreneur. The lawn care business he launched in the sixth grade eventually grew into a professional pressure washing company that has served more than 450 clients in two states.

With some formal business training, he’s hoping for a career that meshes his entrepreneurial instincts with his love for aerospace. (He aspires someday to start a company in the field of commercial space exploration.) “As an engineering student who wants to pursue business,” he says, “I knew it would be difficult to find the best avenue to get there.”

But when he was researching summer programs, he discovered Accelerator. “Immediately,” he says, “the program seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. What attracted me most was how structured the program is and the reputation of Vanderbilt. I knew that I would gain exactly what the program advertised.”

In hindsight, he gained even more. “My Owen experience has been life-changing,” Mathew says. “Previously, I had hoped to travel down an engineering path while trying to find my way into the business end of the spectrum. Coming to Owen has provided me the resources to be able to make this happen straight out of undergrad. Between the personal growth, team dynamics, and educational lectures, I have learned more practical knowledge here than in the past three years at my current institution.”

Fun Fact: Mathew enjoys building and flying model aircraft, and he’s in the process of obtaining his license as a glider pilot.

I have learned more practical knowledge here than in the past three years at my current institution.