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Mount St. Mary's Community Supports First Student-Authored Patent

Donna Klinger

Ascent Sporting Innovations team

The Ascent Sporting Innovations team and mentors, from left to right: Paul Palmieri, C'92, Diane Loiello Palmieri, C'83, Michael Wysong, Sophia Culmone, C'23, Dennis Garcia, Alicia Russo, C'86, Mitchell Gallo, C'23, MBA'25, Jeffrey Link, C'99, Anthony Dragisics, Anthony Milazzo, C'24, Thunlwyn Garcia, C'23, and Garth Patterson

 Mount St. Mary’s University on December 3 celebrated the first student-authored patent at Mount St. Mary's University and the entrepreneurial spirit of the Mount with a ceremony at the ARCC. “We’re recognizing our wonderful group of Ascent team students who have displayed their innovation and entrepreneurial skills but also the community of faculty, alumni and others who contributed to their success,” said President Timothy E. Trainor, Ph.D.

t-and-a-at-half-court-with-tt-and-pp-in-text.jpgAscent Sporting Innovations, a company established by Thunlwyn Garcia, C’23, and Anthony Milazzo, C’24, received a patent in August 2023 for its temperature-regulating insole. Garcia and Milazzo, the inventors and teammates on the university’s NCAA Division I men’s soccer team, sought to alleviate the pain they experienced on the soccer pitch through heating and cooling insoles. Their technology also may directly benefit foot and mobility ailments such as plantar fasciitis and diabetic nerve pain.

“We feel fortunate to have the best university to support us during this journey,” said Garcia, as he shared his story of “hope and promise” during the celebration. Seeking to alleviate pain when playing the sport they love, Garcia and Milazzo, at the ages of 19 and 18 respectively, spent many hours in Powell Hall looking for solutions. “We believed we were on to something. I had encouragement from my parents saying this might work. That spark of encouragement led Anthony and me to spend days and weeks and a year between Phillips Library, the Powell dorm and the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship,” Garcia shared. “Every single day we felt we were on to something, and we let everybody else know it.”

With the support of alumni and other business professionals and the mentorship of Mount faculty, including Associate t-and-a-half-court.jpgProfessor of Chemistry and Director of the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship Garth Patterson, Ph.D., and Director of the MBA Program Nancy Kimble, the Ascent Sporting Innovations team was granted U.S. Patent #11,712,086 Temperature Regulating Insole. Patterson, who holds several patents and previously served as chair of the Mount’s Science Department, provided mentorship on technical aspects of developing the product and applying for the patent, and Kimble, who has expertise in business management and marketing, identified student internship candidates with the qualities needed for this project.

The Ascent team, working with the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship (PCE), includes current students Anthony Milazzo, a biochemistry major, Mitchell Gallo, a MBA ascent-reception.jpgstudent, and Nate Stricker, a business major; 2023 Mount St. Mary’s graduates Thunlwyn Garcia, an entrepreneurship major, and Sophia Culmone, a business marketing major; and Anthony Dragisics, a recent Villanova University graduate in finance & accounting.

“Ascent founder, patent author, and CEO Thunlwyn Garcia has set the standard on what it means to be a student-athlete and entrepreneur,” PCE Director Patterson said. “Thunlwyn, and the entire Ascent team, seek to inspire future Mount students to innovate and work together across university departments to create something bigger than themselves.”

Garcia and Milazzo benefited from the mentorship of several business professionals, including Mount alumni Jeffery Link, C’99, managing partner at Quillion Wealth Management; Alicia Russo, J.D., C’86, co-chair of intellectual property at Venable LLP; and Paul Palmieri, C’92, managing general partner and founder of Grit Capital Partners. In addition, they were advised by Dennis Garcia, a nuclear engineer and Thunlwyn’s father, and Michael Wysong, CEO of CARE Pharmacies Cooperative and treasurer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.

“We’re so fortunate to have a wonderful corps of alumni who are willing to reach out and help,” Trainor said. “Our mission is all able graduating ethical leaders who are inspired by a passion for learning and lead lives of significance in service to God and others. Our alumni are demonstrating those lives of significance and showed that by helping our students here.”

President Trainor and Thunlwyn Garcia noted that this patent would not have been possible without the generosity of alumni Diane Loiello Palmieri, C'83, and Paul Palmieri, C'92,  the namesakes of the PCE. “Today marks a great milestone for the Palmieri Center for Entrepreneurship. We are here to celebrate the achievements of Ascent Sporting Innovations and the expert and nurturing support they received from the Center, faculty, staff, alumni and key mentors, all of whom were instrumental in getting to this day,” Paul Palmieri said.

“When Diane and I conceived of the opportunity for the Center here at the Mount, we noted there are a great many Mount alumni who have become active successful citizens through their success as entrepreneurs,” Palmieri continued. “We felt very strongly that Mount St. Mary’s University was uniquely suited to nurture, train and advise the next generation of entrepreneurs. We believe that all disciplines across the university benefit from the activities, ideas and design thinking that lead to entrepreneurial accomplishment.”

Palmieri recognized PCE Director Garth Patterson for bringing to life the vision for PCE by guiding the Ascent team and putting on display “what is possible when you combine passion, expertise and talent in a mission-driven way that ascent-brad-young.jpgis supportive of others.” He concluded that “T and Anthony … have impressively dug in to travel the hard yards, spend the late nights, learn new skills, marshal their team, package their offering, pitch their idea and assemble their resources to reach the point of being awarded their first of what I’m sure will be a portfolio of patents.”

In addition, Frederick County Council President Brad Young presented Garcia and Milazzo with a proclamation congratulating them on the first student-authored patent in the Mount's history. "This is a tremendous achievement, and we are proud to have you as members of the Frederick community. Your leadership and collaborative spirit have led to innovation that will help countless people in the future. We celebrate your entrepreneurial spirit and wish you success in your future endeavors," the proclamation stated.

With the granting of their patent, the Ascent team has completed the full-circle ideation journey of being on to something, defining its potential and turning the idea into reality. As the team transitions to bringing their products to consumers nationwide, it is exploring and evaluating the various pathways to the market.

Donna Klinger