Fellow Spotlight: Sean Pennino, Notre Dame ’11 & Brown University ’12

Name: Sean Pennino

Hometown: Rochester, NY

University: Notre Dame ’11, Brown Grad ‘12

Degrees: B.S. in Physics & ScM in Innovation Management and Entrepreneurship


What led you to apply for Venture for America?

I knew I wanted to work for an early-stage company after graduation. When I learned that VFA combines the startup experience with a socially conscious mission and a community of young entrepreneurs, deciding to apply was a no-brainer. As was accepting the offer.

What were you doing when you found out you were accepted?

I was in a pub in Tralee, Ireland while on a class trip. I stepped out to take the call and when I returned my friends were ready with a celebratory Guinness! (They eavesdropped.)

Now that you’re a fellow, what are you most excited about with regard to VFA? What do you hope to accomplish?

I’m most excited about being surrounded by other recent graduates who share the same interests and aspirations. I hope I can make a meaningful contribution to whichever company I am with.

If you had to live one place for the rest of your life, where would you choose?

Probably New York City- it has the best combination of opportunity and proximity to friends and family. Though I hope not to be tied down to one place!

Best thing about your universities: Notre Dame: The camaraderie. Brown: The progressiveness.

Favorite Book: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Favorite childhood TV show: Saved by the Bell

Favorite meal: Chipotle burrito bowl

Role model: Phil Dunphy

Favorite holiday: Fourth of July

Best class you’ve ever taken: Wood Sculpture

Favorite movie quote: “How do you like them apples?” – Good Will Hunting

Favorite thing to do on Sunday: Netflix and nap.

Favorite start-up: Forsake Footwear

Favorite cereal: Cap’n Crunch

Most worn article of clothing: Gray Notre Dame hoodie

Favorite sports team: New York Yankees

Best trip you’ve ever been on: Road trip from Chicago to Seattle to LA (among many other stops) last summer with four college friends.

Favorite historical figure: Ambrose Burnside – 19th century US general, politician, and namesake of the facial hair he popularized, sideburns.

Accomplishment you’re most proud of: Remaining an Notre Dame Football fan despite attending the university during the worst four cumulative seasons in school history.

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