Students who do cool things: Cliff Weitzman ’16

Have you walked across the Main Green and wondered to yourself, who is that awesome kid longboarding to class? Maybe you know him because of his sick ability to basically be Jackie Chan (seriously, watch his freerunning videos here). Cliff Weitzman has hit the ground running… pun intended.

Within his first week of school, Cliff began working on his first project. After having lent his longboard to a friend, who may or may have not taken a tumble,  Cliff and his friend realized that there needed to be an effective way to stop the board without ruining one’s shoes. They came to see how helpful it would be to create an attachable break for longboards. Later that day, Cliff spent hours in his room working on a solution to this breaking problem. While most (or some) of us spend our day-dreaming time meticulously planning out our next meal, Cliff sat in class, noticing how all of the machines in the classroom were assembled, harvesting ideas for his prototype.  He then spent a month improving the design by talking over his ideas with professors, engineers, and industrial designers.

And so the BoardBrake was born. During the first week of October, Cliff entered his idea in Providence’s very own Startup Weekend. The Startup Weekend had 130 participants, and 60 people who pitched their ideas. Cliff’s idea was selected as one of the 12 best. Around these 12 ideas, the teams were given one task: to bring these startup ideas to fruition… in less than 54 hours. Cliff’s idea scored 1st place. For this feat, he now has three months of office space to work with a local startup accelerator, so that he can attain his goal of having his BoardBrake in stores!

Cliff’s key to success? Change the way that you look at the world. With his unwavering dedication towards making his idea a reality, Cliff understands that you cannot get anywhere in life without collaboration. He suggests bouncing your ideas off of friends, peers, family, and faculty — even people who are far from experts in the field.  One can only wonder what awesome idea Cliff will brew up next.

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