NEWS FLASH! Blackstone LaunchPad presents: Beyond the Court: Equity, Inclusivity & Innovation

Published: October 05, 2022

Thursday, October 6, 10AM, Student Union

Back Row: Sharon Whinstone (left) Valerie Muse (Right) Bottom Row Ryan Martin (left)  Leonard Blades (right - Queensborough)

Back Row: Sharon Whinstone (left) Valerie Muse (Right) Bottom Row Ryan Martin (left)  Leonard Blades (right - Queensborough) 


WHAT: The Blackstone Foundation is celebrating Female Founders and October is National Disability Awareness Month.  

WHO: a panel discussion with Queensborough Community College student moderators VALERIE MUSE, majoring in Public Health, and SHARON WHINSTON, Art & Design, who were previously in the spring Blackstone Launchpad cohort together.  Muse, 19, is co-founder of a nonprofit for girls from underrepresented populations to play volleyball called the Long Island Knights. An accomplished athlete, Muse ranked nationally last year with Queensborough’s Track team for the heptathlon, finishing 5th nationally. She was also named USTFCCCA All-American. This year Muse is a member of the Women’s Volleyball team and has been recognized by Blackstone as Featured Women's Founder.

Muse centered her business idea on establishing a comprehensive health and wellness center. “I got so much out of this experience. It was about mentorship, workshops, building businesses and how to market and present projects. I will connect this experience to my entrepreneurial future,” said the 19-year-old from Long Island. Muse is planning to graduate from Queensborough in the spring of 2023 and continue her education at a CUNY four-year college.

Whinston, who came to Queensborough to pursue her passion in drawing, painting, and illustration, participated in several Blackstone Innovation Challenges and was Student Ambassador for the 2022 Summer innovation challenge. She added that, “Queensborough has caring professors who go out of their way to help students take part in opportunities that could ultimately change lives.”


Panelists are:

RON NACLERIO, Cardozo High School, Wingiest Coach in the Public-School Athletic League

RYAN MARTIN, playing this season for the New York Rolling Knicks of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA).

LEONARD BLADES, Queensborough Disability Accommodations Specialist

COACH KARLYN SUPPLE, Mentor, Entrepreneur & US Olympic Ski Coach


Some Background:

The QCC Blackstone Launchpad program began in September of 2021, with a three-year, $300,000.00 grant awarded to Dr. Christine Mooney, Professor, Business and Dr. Sandra Palmer, then Dean of Faculty for Academic Affairs for the provision of entrepreneurial and innovation programming for students and Queensborough alumni. In the Spring of 2022, QCC launched the Blackstone Launchpad Community College Innovation


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