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Blinn College student benefits from partnership with local business accelerator

Jordan Murphy balances business venture with Startup Aggieland, studies in Blinn Computer Science Program

July 11, 2017

Jordan MurphyDuring a recent trip to China, Blinn College sophomore Jordan Murphy struggled to break the language barrier and adapt to his surroundings.

Rather than being discouraged by the experience, the Eugene, Ore. native and aspiring entrepreneur developed the technology to help others in the same situation.

“I was embarrassed that I could not even request an extra room key from hotel staff and wondered if there could be an easier, more efficient way of doing this,” Murphy said. “People travel abroad all the time, so I wanted to design software that bridges that gap and allows people to travel comfortably without worrying about the basic necessities of communication.”

His new software application – named blueberri – allows hotel guests to use voice-controlled software in their room to communicate with hotel staff and learn about their local surroundings. To make his idea a reality, Murphy turned to Blinn College and local business accelerator Startup Aggieland for assistance.

An award-winning program located in Texas A&M University’s Research Park, Startup Aggieland provides aspiring entrepreneurs with free resources and mentoring to help launch and manage successful business ventures. Startup Aggieland is powered by the Center for New Ventures and Entrepreneurship (CNVE) at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School.

“Since its inception in 2011, Startup Aggieland has served hundreds of students and faculty locally and across the country – both in person and virtually,” said Shelly Brenckman, Marketing Coordinator at Startup Aggieland. “We are proud to be an academic partner with Blinn College and are pleased to help qualified students to reach their potential.”

Murphy is one of two full-time Blinn students to be accepted into the program. Blinn alumnus Brian Lamb was a Startup Aggieland client from 2013-16 and founded Replenish the World, an international corporation that provides access to clean drinking water for people in need.

“I remember every student who has utilized CNVE’s resources, but Jordan Murphy and Brian Lamb have stood out for all of us as the only full-time Blinn students admitted into our rigorous program,” Brenkman said. “Jordan and Brian excelled at Startup Aggieland and did exceptionally well in our public pitch competitions.”

In addition to working part-time with Startup Aggieland, Murphy is pursuing an Associate of Science degree in computer science at Blinn. Flexible course scheduling has allowed Murphy to work at his own pace while remaining on track to transfer to Texas A&M in Spring 2018.

Blinn’s Computer Science Program prepares students for careers in the computer science profession by providing the foundation necessary to successfully transfer and pursue a bachelor’s degree in the area of computer science at a four-year university. Students learn the fundamentals, theory, and practical applications of computer programming languages, data and file structures, algorithms and computer arithmetic, debugging, data types, and software development methodology.

Students who complete the program are eligible for a variety of computer science careers, including software developer, database administrator, computer hardware engineer, computer systems analyst, computer network architect, web developer, information security analyst, computer programmer, and information systems managers.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for graduates who obtain an associate degree in computer science are expected to grow 27 percent between 2014 and 2024, and graduates can earn an average median wage of $31.79 per hour.

“An associate degree in computer science will give me the knowledge and skills I need to tackle issues that will impact the world in a positive way,” Murphy said. “When my wife and I moved to Bryan/College Station last year, Blinn was the best option for my education with its affordable tuition, one-on-one attention from faculty, and welcoming atmosphere.”

Murphy recently was accepted into the Austin Technology Incubator (ATI) Student Entrepreneur Acceleration & Launch (SEAL) Program, University of Texas at Austin’s nine-week summer program designed to aid entrepreneurs in shaping young ventures and better understanding their target customers.

Murphy is working to expand blueberri’s services beyond the hospitality industry, and attributes his success to various mentors, including Blinn faculty, Brenckman, CNVE Executive Director Dr. Richard Lester, CNVE Director Blake Petty, CNVE Assistant Director Don Lewis, and I-Corps Program Director Chuck Hinton.

“It gives me a sense of pride to say that I am a Blinn student, involved with Texas A&M University programs, and contributing to my community,” Murphy said. “I believe that by taking all of these steps, I will improve somebody’s quality of life in the future.”