Student to showcase new startup at Imagine RIT

Student Spotlight
Nick Neumann, third-year biomedical photographic communications

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Nick Neumann, a third-year biomedical photographic communications student, will be debuting a new startup project at Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival this Saturday, May 3. The project, Campus Collaborative, was started in RIT’s Digital Journalism Incubator class with teammates Stone Harrison, Andy Fleckenstein, Emily Clark, Jessica Clark and Rebecca Vessal. Neumann, a Honeoye Falls, N.Y., native, is also involved in RIT’s New Student Orientation program as an Orientation Assistant and Student Orientation Coordinator. In 2012, he co-founded Recover Rochester, a volunteer-operated club that collects overproduced and excess food from the different dining facilities on campus and donates it to meal centers in the Rochester region.

Question: What brought you to RIT?
Answer: On top of loving this school and all that it has to offer, I’m a legacy student. My mother used to work at RIT, my brother went to RIT and my dad is currently working here.

Q: Why did you decide to study biomedical photographic communications?
A: I started off studying environmental science. I did well but lacked the passion necessary to be fully in love with it. I then switched to advertising photography because I have always been an avid photographer. While I enjoyed that, I felt that it wasn’t intellectually stimulating enough for me and everything about it was too subjective. That is when I decided to combine two of my passions, science and photography, and change my major to biomedical photography.

Q: What are some of your favorite memories from your time at RIT?
A: I have had many absolutely amazing experiences at RIT including the little things like 2 a.m. frisbee catches with some close friends and listening to President Destler play one of his many banjos at Liberty Hill. I also look back fondly on all of the memories I have with my fellow Recover Rochester volunteers and Orientation cohorts and how they have helped me grow as an individual and a leader.

Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t in classes?
A: I love to bike, scuba dive, hike, ski and explore unique places. I also play the piano and try to go to as many awesome RIT events as possible. In addition to all of these things, I manage Recover Rochester, work multiple jobs and try to find new ways to get the most out of life.

Q: What is Campus Collaborative?
A: Campus Collaborative is a profile based online networking system that allows students to showcase and share their unique skills. Users are able to create and respond to task requests. Tasks can be just about anything that involves specialized skills, from designing a simple logo for a product to getting professional portraits taken for a LinkedIn profile.

Q: How did it get started?
A: The idea was conceived like any good idea for a startup company; I had a problem that needed to be solved. As a club, Recover Rochester was looking to create a Web application to make our processes more efficient, but none of us knew anyone who had the skills to create what we were looking for. After spending a decent amount of time searching, the idea for Campus Collaborative came to me. Conveniently enough, this coincided with the start of the Digital Journalism Incubator class, so I decided to pitch it. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work with five incredible teammates who have helped develop this idea far beyond my expectation in such a short amount of time.

Q: What are you hoping to accomplish with this project?
A: The ultimate goal is to have a fully functioning website populated by hard-working students who love what they do from campuses across the country and even external companies who are looking to share and utilize their unique skills.

Q: What will your exhibit be like at Imagine RIT?
A: Our exhibit will consist of two main stations. The first of which will be user interface testing. We’re launching the beta version of our site and exhibit attendees can go through the process of creating a profile and creating a post. This process will allow us to analyze their interaction with the interface and find new ways to maximize the user experience. The second part will be a mini professional portrait studio. Once participants go through the user interface test they will get a free professional portrait taken of them.

Q: What are you most looking forward to about Imagine RIT?
A: The thing I’m looking forward to the most, next to seeing what people think about Campus Collaborative, is the sense of excitement and inspiration the festival brings to the RIT community.