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Columbia College of Missouri student wins Startup Weekend Syracuse

SYRACUSE, N.Y., Dec. 4 - Peter Michael Whalen, a Columbia College of Missouri-Hancock Field student, was part of the winning team at the recent Startup Weekend Syracuse competition. Their startup, Music Mashup Weekend, aims to provide musicians with greater exposure by hosting a 54-hour collaborative event where musicians pitch their skills, form teams and compete for prizes. Whalen’s team was awarded $2,500 to help launch their venture.

“I believe this idea has potential to help musicians get recognized and I’m honored that the judges decided that our idea was worth investing in,” said Whalen. “Personally, this award is the culmination of years of hard work and I’m excited to see how far we can take this venture.”

Whalen is working toward a bachelor’s degree in general studies and is an active member of the National Guard. He began participating in startup competitions after enrolling at Columbia College of Missouri, which offers a growing center for entrepreneurship.

Whalen has participated in several pitch competitions in the area, and struck up an online camaraderie with a Columbia College adjunct professor, Sean Siebert, a year ago. Siebert specializes in entrepreneurship and small-business planning.

Whalen’s team plans to host Music Mashup Weekend Feb. 7 - 9. The event provides musicians access to a professional recording studio, as well as mentoring from music industry professionals.

Columbia College of Missouri originally began educating service members at Hancock Air Force Base in 1975. When the active duty base closed in 1983, the campus moved to the Air National Guard base. In early 2012, the college opened a new facility on the West side of the base, off Townline Road, which allows for unfettered access for both base personnel and civilians. Columbia College of Missouri-Hancock Field offers six associate, nine bachelor’s and two master’s degree programs in-seat; additional associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees also are available online. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Columbia College educates more than 31,000 students each year and has more than 80,000 alumni. For more information, visit