Max Coppola was raised on the south shore of Long Island, New York. Living in New York, Max saw many different lifestyles and wondered about what caused the differences he saw. More importantly, he thought about what could be done to help those most in need. After an experiential learning exhibition in Kiev, Ukraine, Max settled on a solution: Economic Empowerment. Max believes that empowering people at all levels to make economic decisions, start businesses, and learn about the systems that run global economies will lead to a population more primed for innovation. Max believes that technology can play a vital role in this mission and that private enterprises with socially-oriented missions can be the catalyst for such a change. Max maintains that when profit is motivated by a service or product that inherently serves the greater good, opportunities will become more evenly distributed.
Max’s service in high school began with Key Club International, where he directly oversaw service from 10 schools and worked with other student leaders and adult advisers to lead over 13,000 ‘Key Clubbers’ within New York state. All of this was done while interfacing with the Key Club International Board to pursue a mission of service in coordination with the hundreds of thousands of Key Clubbers worldwide. Through his role as Lieutenant Governor, Max found his love for organizational effectiveness and efficiency. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Max worried about the many schools that were completely shut down and feared the long-term impacts this could have on students. Moreover, he feared that certain structural barriers would prevent motivated students from continuing to pursue their education. To solve this problem, Max and a friend started Safe Solution Tutoring: an online peer-to-peer tutoring service aimed at supporting education throughout the most uncertain days of quarantine. The service’s mission was simple: bring back the classroom experience by helping students learn from each other. In addition, the organization donated a portion of the proceeds from every session to the Coronavirus Relief Fund. Through Safe Solution Tutoring, Max discovered not only the lack of resources available for students who wanted to start a business, but also the sheer number who had dreams of doing so. This led Max to his second venture, Elev Labs, which helped students with business ideas turn their visions into a reality. Through Elev, Max learned about the process of starting many different businesses across various industries and worked with a wide variety of partner organizations and industry professionals to create something innovative from scratch.
At Vanderbilt, Max plans to continue studying how society can develop more efficient systems to help the most people while empowering individuals at all levels to make informed economic decisions. Additionally, he plans to continue experimenting with precisely how technology can be used to design and implement these types of solutions on a large scale. Through his service with the Ingram Scholars Program, Max is excited to learn more about the precise needs of various communities and explore new solutions to serve them.