Spotlight@Shea: Alina Yan’s Three Lessons from Shea

6 min readDec 5, 2022
Alina Yan (CSOM ‘23)

Hey everyone! I’m Alina, and I’m a current senior concentrating in marketing and entrepreneurship and minoring in biology. I joined Start@Shea during my freshman year in 2019, and it has genuinely been one of the most memorable parts of my college experience. There’s an extreme amount of things that I can say about how grateful I am to have had this opportunity to be a part of this growing community — the family I found, the people I’ve met, and the impact we made. However, maybe the best way I can highlight just how much Shea has pushed me to grow is through the lessons I’ve learned.

Lesson #1 If you made an impact on even just one person, it was worth it

My favorite group picture from EPC Finals!
My favorite selfie from the event too!

It’s crazy how much time everyone a part of the team commits to Shea. If I got a penny for every time my roommates asked me why I stay up so late to do Shea tasks, I’d be set for life (an exaggeration, of course). Honestly, from time to time, I do ask myself why I am doing this when I have school and other life things to worry about. But then I think back to the moments when I spoke with some of our event or program attendees: the fact that what we put our hearts into organizing has actually changed students’ career trajectories or even inspired them to look further into something, I do not regret any of the hours we dedicated. I think that’s something that connects everyone in Shea. We do what we do above being full-time students because we want to impact our community, even if that means making a single student’s time in college better. What are we doing as community members if we don’t make the most of the resources we are lucky enough to have and give back?

Lesson #2 Team culture is everything

Our first board meeting of the year selfie!
Emma Raith’s (CSOM ’24) iconic x0.5 selfie at the 245 Beacon Street Showcase.

As I go through the extremely tiring recruiting process, my experience at Start@Shea has set extremely high standards for what I’m looking for post-graduation. I want to join a team that’s passionate about what they’re doing, supportive, kind, and ambitious. That’s the Start@Shea team in a nutshell. Especially this year, as we were crazy enough to host an inaugural 3-day entrepreneurship conference and introduce new initiatives right after, the team culture shined through. No matter how tired everyone was, we were in it together, and that’s what really pulled us through many late nights. We’re always there to support each other at every event that we knew required a lot of planning, and we’re always ready to go when we’re needed. I don’t think I’ve ever been a part of a team that’s so hardworking and caring, and I don’t ever want to be a part of a team that doesn’t reach this level. If I really think about it, this should be the baseline of what teams are meant to feel like — a place where you feel the safety to try new things, learn and grow. Hence, why my first question to recruiters is now always, “how would you describe your company culture?”

Lesson #3 You’re in charge of making ideas happen

The team traveling all the way to newton giving bags to congratulate the new Ambassadors!
Our Solstice conference group pic is such a nice reminder of a special few days.

I think one of the main takeaways from being a part of Shea is to be proactive. The advice to ‘be proactive’ is something that all of us have definitely been hearing throughout our lives. Even so, I can say for a fact that I personally have not carried through every idea that I’ve had. Maybe you feel the same way. However, since being a part of this team, this is an area that I’ve grown a lot and for the better. By nature, our team is very creative, and we continuously talk about what we can do. The difference lies in how we push each other to actualize those ideas. The Solstice Conference, The Lab (Start@Shea’s open incubator), and our silly Modern Family Instagram reel, all of these came from one of our board members’ ideation, and we turned them into reality. The result? These are the things that we will remember years from now. It’s always scary to try something new, no matter how big or small, because of the many logistical things you’ll have to figure out. But why not give it a try? Have the confidence to talk to someone about your idea, paint a picture of the end result, and take the first step to reach out to who you have to.

With those takeaways…

Again, I want to express my gratitude for this community, and I encourage everyone to try to come to our events. Personally, I always knew that I loved startups, but Start@Shea really solidified that for me. A lot of it came from seeing and helping students make their ideas happen. A lot of it also came from the extremely supportive community that will take time out of their day to speak with you and the experiences that truly make you realize that you have so much to offer. Although the idea of entrepreneurship is not for everyone, you’d be surprised at just how much the values — initiative, adaptability, self-resilience, and awareness — transfer to anything you’d like to pursue as you move forward.

On that note! If you are a student founder hoping to get your startup running, apply to our Accelerator program! If you are someone who wants to get involved, subscribe to our newsletter and come to our events 😎 I hope everyone has an amazing winter break (: Hope to see you during the spring semester!

Thanks for reading! We are Start@Shea, the student executive team of the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship at Boston College.

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The Author: Executive Team Member — Alina Yan




Start@Shea is the student executive team of the Edmund H. Shea Jr. Center for Entrepreneurship at Boston College. Learn more at