Student Disruptors


Preparing young minds to investigate the world around us and contribute to the betterment of society is our reason for being.

However, the mission goes well beyond the classroom.

With the help of INNOVATE@BU, a University-wide innovation initiative, we’ve nourished a culture of invention, entrepreneurship, and no-holds-barred thinking on campus, encouraging students to spread their wings and take flight in all directions.

Caspian Chaharom(CAS'23) stands against a wall with Maria Gorsikikh(Questrom'23) sitting on the floor. They both share a confident smile, matched by a radiant pattern of wall art consisting of thick bold lines curving around the interior of the BUild Lab, with colors ranging from teals, blues, and lime to BU red.
Caspian Chaharom and Maria Gorskikh


Take MARIA GORSKIKH (Questrom’23), for example. Innovate@BU named her 2023’s Student of the Year. She is a podcast host and cofounder of multiple start-ups, and her brainchild, DREAM Venture Labs, won the 2023 BU REFUGEE CHALLENGE.

Gorskikh’s nonprofit empowers refugees and immigrants to start and grow their own businesses. The approach pairs immigrant entrepreneurs with student-volunteers who speak their partner’s native language. Starting a business in the US is challenging enough, Gorskikh says, and it’s even more daunting when you are not fluent in English, unfamiliar with the market, or lack resources.

“As an immigrant myself, I know that many people in my community possess an entrepreneurial drive and aspire to establish their own businesses upon arriving in the US,” she says. “Our plan is to accept 20 businesses and more than 200 student-volunteers into our program and help develop and refine immigrant-founded ventures.”


Another Innovate@BU alum is physics major CASPIAN CHAHAROM (CAS’23), who interned last year at CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire), an international physics research center outside Geneva, Switzerland. He worked alongside the world’s leading physicists at the forefront of unraveling the origins of our universe.

Chaharom helped develop software to create, detect, and measure heavy particles such as the Higgs boson, a subatomic particle considered a crucial component in understanding the foundations of nature. He also designed a component for the timing receiver circuit to measure a particle’s position as it speeds along the beam in the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s most powerful particle accelerator. At BU, he started a company to simplify circuit board building and was a finalist in Innovate@BU’s NEW VENTURE COMPETITION. In fact, Chaharom’s design for the new circuit at CERN was reviewed and approved by the center’s engineering team and is now in production. Perhaps what made the biggest impression on him was the diversity of the research community, which comprises 23 member countries.

“[At CERN], I have met more students and researchers from a wider variety of countries than I have in my whole life,” Chaharom says.