Business Incubator O'Pake Institute Fulton Bank


The O’Pake Fellows Program provides high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students at Alvernia University with the ability to work hands-on with entrepreneurs, small businesses, regional partners, and faculty in a truly unique manner. The highly qualified students that enter the program are provided with numerous hours of professional training and mentoring to prepare them to work with our clients. Once trained, they are partnered with specific clients to provide services that match their expertise. The students receive experiential learning opportunities from their work, learn from faculty and subject matter mentors, and deliver quality services to clients.

Do you have a business idea? If so, you can work directly with the O'Pake Institute's highly qualified staff to start, grow and launch your business before you graduate from Alvernia.

Student Success Stories

Sarah Heckman

Sarah Heckman, graduate assistant of student services, worked diligently to implement software to increase the O'Pake Institute’s capacity model. Heckman developed standard operating procedures to improve the Institute’s overall client experience and portfolio management techniques. This included the integration and optimization of the customer management tool Neoserra. Heckman provided training on the software and tracked its effectiveness. Due to Heckman’s commitment to this process improvement, the Institute was able to increase its capacity model by over 25 percent.  

Heckman graduated in December 2023 with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Max Horn

Max Horn, graduate assistant of client services, successfully launched a recruitment model for the O’Pake Institute’s Office of Student Experiential Learning. Under Horn’s leadership, the Institute implemented a new recruitment program to engage high-performing highschool students to join the O’Pake Fellows Program. The program includes an intentional recruitment plan, an onboarding process and tracking measures. Horn worked directly with the executive director of student and client services and Alvernia University’s Enrollment Office to successfully recruit 15 students between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.  

Horn graduated in May 2023 with a Master of Business Administration degree.

Jack Short

Jack Short, O’Pake Fellow of Finance, expanded the Institute’s venture investment services. Short began to transition into the graduate assistant role, brainstorming comprehensive ideas on how to expand the venture investment department. With many new ideas at the forefront of the Institute’s operations, Short provided direct support to 12 clients between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. He also worked with a team of five other undergraduate Fellows in accounting and finance to support the Institute’s growing activity. In addition, he began to strengthen the Institute’s relationships with many groups from the Pennsylvania Angel Network.  

Short graduated in May 2023 with an undergraduate degree in finance and economics.

Marisol Martinez-Alvarez

Marisol Martinez-Alvarez, O’Pake Fellow of Marketing, provided creative services to over 10 clients, carrying one of heaviest workloads of any O’Pake Fellow between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Alvarez assisted clients in the areas of market research, strategic marketing, social media marketing, and website development. For example, Alvarez worked to develop a comprehensive rebranding strategy for a local nonprofit agency, managed our social media campaigns for small businesses, and assisted a tech start-up with a successful go-to-market strategy.  

Alvarez graduated in May 2024 with an undergraduate degree in marketing and management.


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