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The Team

About the Team

UM Startup Legal Practicum

Legal Practicum

3L students enrolled in Startup Legal Practicum at the UM School of Law.

Christopher Daniels

Venture Consultant

Working on It.

Peter Martinez

Assistant Director, Technology Initiatives

A serial entrepreneur and noted social media expert, Peter has successfully launched several tech startups which have engaged millions of users and have been featured on news outlets including BBC News, the Washington Post, USA Today, the Miami Herald, TechCrunch, Mashable, among others. Both Pikchur and Cloudshopper have been noted for their innovative approaches to solving common pain points in daily life. Peter earned an Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering and a Masters in Electrical Engineering and has focused the better part of the last decade developing, scaling and consulting on social media, mobile and application development. Believing that being hands on and understanding all aspects of starting of a business is important to success, Peter has studied and put to practice the latest in programing, scaling, and financial molding approaches.

Adrian Alvarez

Program Manager

Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Adrian Alvarez is a three-time alumnus of the University of Miami, graduating in 2007 with a B.B.A in International Finance and Marketing, and earning both a JD and MBA in 2011 and 2012 respectively. In 2007, between his two stints at the university, Adrian took a year off to start a test prep service company. He continued to grow the company while in school and also joined The Launch Pad in the Spring of 2010 as a venture consultant. Since graduating, he passed the Florida Bar and opened his own law firm and has co-founded two other companies. Adrian rejoined The Launch Pad in June of 2013 as the Program Manager.

Samantha Palmer-Shields

Program Coordinator

Sam Palmer-Shields is currently the Program Manager at The Launch Pad. She joined the team in 2013 and manages the venture consultants who assist in TLP's day to day functions. Sam has been with the University of Miami since 2010, working in areas such as the School of Law and the Provost. She is an entrepreneur and interested in idea evolution. Sam holds a BA in communications from the Southern New Hampshire University and is currently working on her Masters in Management and Leadership at Western Governors University.

Veda Cruz

Legal Fellow

Veda, a Miami native, received her B.A. in English and Political Science at the University of Miami. She is currently pursuing a J.D./M.B.A. at the University of Miami School of Law. Coming from a creative background of acting and creative writing, Veda is fascinated with the marriage of the legal, tech, and entertainment industries. Veda is currently serving as a social media expert and consultant for a virtual reality start-up company. In her free time, Veda enjoys weight-lifting, playing video games, and going to car meets around Miami.

Maria Derchi Russo

Bio Coming Soon...

Bio Coming Soon...

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Shawn Wilborne

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Kyle Sonlin

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Wifredo Fernandez

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Collin Lee

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Sea Amundsen

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Palak Agarwal

Bio Coming Soon...

Brian Breslin

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Rishab Malhotra

Bio Coming Soon...

Samantha Burkart

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Jason Barraza

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Xavier Hopkins

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Adriana Tomeu

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The Launch Pad Co-Founders

Dr. William Green

Senior Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Education

William Scott Green joined the University of Miami as senior vice provost and dean of undergraduate education in July 2006. In the newly created position, he has overall responsibility for enhancing the quality of the undergraduate experience and strengthening the integration of university-wide undergraduate curricular and co-curricular initiatives. He also holds an appointment as professor of religious studies and senior fellow in the Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. Green previously served as dean of the College at the University of Rochester and Philip S. Bernstein Professor of Judaic Studies. He led the development of Rochester’s innovative undergraduate liberal arts curriculum and founded its Department of Religion and Classics. Green earned an A.B. in religion at Dartmouth College and a Ph.D. in religion from Brown University. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, and the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

Dr. Susan Amat

Founder of The Venture Hive & Co-founder of The Launch Pad

Dr. Susan Amat co-founded and was the Executive Director of The Launch Pad from June, 2008 through June, 2013. She is also the founder of Venture Hive, the accelerator for economic development. A serial entrepreneur, she built businesses in the entertainment industry for over a decade, including the first CD-Rom magazine and a national television show on the E! Network. After completing her MBA, Dr. Amat developed pediatric health monitoring products and earned a Ph.D. in Strategic Entrepreneurship (coursework in industrial engineering, business, and education). While teaching at the University of Miami, she co-founded The Launch Pad, defining the program, content, and platform functionality. She loved working with the Blackstone Charitable Foundation and regional partners to create the first national network of collegiate entrepreneurs with the Blackstone LaunchPad programs. In 2012, Dr. Amat was honored at the White House as a Champion of Change. She currently works internationally with both municipal and federal governments in building innovation and entrepreneurship education programs for economic development.