Abington senior unlocks creativity at Abington LaunchBox

Darryl Gregory embarks on a journey of innovation and skill development with LaunchBox resources
Darryl Gregory holds up a 3D print of a bee in front of a wall that says "Don't quit your daydream."

Penn State Abington senior Darryl Gregory takes advantage of the resources available at the Abington LaunchBox powered by Penn State, such as the 3D printers and the Cricut computer-controlled cutting machine.

Credit: Provided by Darryl Gregory

ABINGTON. Pa. — Penn State Abington senior Darryl Gregory has always loved designing, building, and creating artistic works. It wasn’t until he was introduced to Abington LaunchBox powered by Penn State that he realized he could cultivate and apply his creative skillsets for valuable endeavors.  

The Abington LaunchBox, part of Invent Penn State’s LaunchBox and Innovation Network with 21 locations across the commonwealth, connects Philadelphia region entrepreneurs to the support and resources they need to build a sustainable and scalable business with a viable plan for growth. Abington LaunchBox offers several resources including hands-on makerspace tools, a podcast studio, 1:1 mentorship and coaching, as well as educational events. 

Noting Gregory’s outstanding curiosity and creativity in his business class, Peter Hornberger, business lecturer and director of the Abington LaunchBox, encouraged Gregory to check out all the hands-on resources the LaunchBox has to offer. 

“Entrepreneurship is a creative function,” said Hornberger.  “We want the Abington LaunchBox to be a place where people can work on their business ideas as much as they can find creative inspiration for ideas that have not yet formed. Darryl is a great example of how exercising his creative functions helps him to identify new possibilities for his hobbies, career or new business ventures.” 

Gregory, a marketing and management major, has specifically taken advantage of Abington LaunchBox’s 3D printers as well as the Cricut computer-controlled cutting machine. 

“The Abington LaunchBox has helped me gain real-world skills,” Gregory said. “For me, I’m not necessarily using the business aspect of LaunchBox, but the creative side. While you’re having fun creating, you’re also learning new technologies. I started with something as small as creating a sticker and a 3D print of a bee, and now I understand what to do if there’s a failed print. I understand the software that goes into making a 3D model. I understand how to turn something 2D into something 3D.” 

Gregory mentioned how he was able to apply the Cricut skills he learned at LaunchBox directly to his current part-time job with the university. This experience made him recognize the creative aspect of his personality as a valuable skill set for pursuing a future career. Additionally, his time at LaunchBox prompted him to enroll in the Entrepreneurship & Innovation (ENTI) minor. 

“LaunchBox forces you to think outside of the box, no matter what major you are,” Gregory said. “LaunchBox is not just for business — you can do things with engineering, nursing, and learning new technologies. Peter will meet you at your level where you are and help you succeed.” 

Gregory was recently selected for the Penn State Startup Week powered by PNC Commonwealth Campus Scholarship, which reimburses students for hotel, meals, transportation and parking costs to attend Startup Week events at University Park. 

During Startup Week, Gregory’s creative ambitions were further reinforced by speaker Aaron Maybin, a former NFL player turned art activist, who spoke on the intersection of art and activism. During the event, Maybin explored the importance of vulnerability and empathy when pursuing innovative ideas. 

“That vulnerability helped me realize my potential, so my advice to other students would be, do not limit yourself, don’t be shy, and know that it’s OK to make mistakes,” Gregory said. “I think everybody should be spending time at a LaunchBox no matter what major they are — it’s an incredible resource. I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t found out about it. It opened my mind to possibilities of what I can do and adds another layer of depth to my studies.” 

About Invent Penn State  

Invent Penn State is a commonwealth-wide initiative to spur economic development, job creation and student career success. Invent Penn State blends entrepreneurship-focused academic programs, business startup training and incubation, funding for commercialization, and university/community/industry collaborations to facilitate the challenging process of turning research discoveries into valuable products and services that can benefit Pennsylvanians and humankind.   

This project was financed in part by a grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Community and Economic Development.