USFSM ALUMNI Q&As

Jason Krywko USFSM ‘07, Business Administration 

What are you doing now? 

Currently I am working in two different positions. My father and I co-own a company called Sleek Audio that fits and creates custom in-ear earphones for professional athletes, bands and large churches. Athletes like them because they allow them to relax and detach from their environment. Additionally, I have taken a position with the University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. I help place engineers in a seven-county area around Florida’s Suncoast.   

What motivated you to become involved in undergraduate research? 

When we were starting Sleek Audio, we really didn’t understand the market size and potential. I wasn’t sure how to properly research, analyze and plan a go-to-market strategy. With the help of Robert Anderson (PhD, former Dean of USFSM’s College of Business) and my professors, we were able to establish a course of study and create a model to see if it was a viable project. 

In 2006, when I started, no one had heard of in-ear headphones. Today, it is a $21 billion industry. We were the first company to offer wireless in-ear headphones to the consumer. That was in 2008. We also were the first to sell headphones with tunable acoustics to fit different listening preferences. Had I not researched industry trends and learned what the “Big Box” vendors were seeking, we would never have been so successful. The information from my research also helped us to secure a $500,000 SBA loan.  

Do you feel that the skills you gained at USFSM benefited you in graduate school/your career? 

Absolutely, I am still very involved with USFSM and have created tremendous relationships. By working with a smaller campus and having direct access to my professors, I was able to bounce ideas off of them, and I still use those connections to better our business and the community. 

Do you have any advice for students? 

Follow your dreams, but listen to others who have suggestions. It may seem like the world’s greatest idea, but you need validation from other than family and friends. Research is critical in today’s market, and understanding your competitors and market potential is necessary for success. 

Amelia Foxwell USFSM ‘11, Psychology 

What are you doing now? 

Three years ago, I opened an applied behavioral analysis program for children with autism spectrum disorder in Stevensville, Md., now called the Sweet Bay Magnolia Academy. Since then, my agency has added tutoring, a school and day care that are all behaviorally focused. We currently are running a research project to develop and test a more appropriate standardized IQ-type test for children with autism and other developmental disorders.  

I initially became interested in this field after taking a part-time position at a school for children with autism in 2001. I worked with a group of four 2-year olds and realized that the approaches and foundations to successfully facilitating children with autism made sense to me and became second nature. 

What motivated you to become involved in research? 

Research has always been a passion of mine. At USF Sarasota-Manatee, the faculty and their research projects inspired me to further pursue research involvement both at USFSM and in my career. 

Do you feel that the skills you gained at USFSM benefited you in graduate school/your career? 

I do feel that the professors and the school prepared me for my graduate studies. They inspired me to pursue research and always encouraged me in my studies. I gained a strong understanding of statistics and how to read research pages for many of my graduate courses.  

My time as a student ambassador for USFSM greatly increased my ability to make relevant connections with colleagues and other professionals as well.  I was a member of both the Ambassadors program and the crew team. Watching Jay Riley, the staff advisor for both, interact with alumni and students paved the way for me to have positive mentoring relationships. 

Do you have any advice for students? 

My advice is to just keep going. Show up and ask for help when you need it. Life is full of wins and losses. The trick is to see the losses as lessons learned instead. 

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Jason Krywko

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Amelia Foxwell