Ten undergraduate students take on product development challenge

An interdisciplinary group of ten San Francisco State students

An interdisciplinary group of ten San Francisco State students, as well as a group of students and faculty from Italy and China, are working on a product development and innovation challenge supported by two companies, Barilla and SAP, through the Sugar Network.


  • Travis Joseph, Information Systems
  • Tyus Pettis, Marketing
  • Julia Rodriguez, Marketing
  • Ryan O’Leary, Information Systems
  • Cherise Cheuk Yin Lau, Computer Science


  • Natalie Brandenburg, Family Interiors and Nutrition Science
  • Steven Papalia, Information Systems
  • Andoeni Ruezga, Marketing
  • Ian Frazier, Family Interiors and Nutrition Science
  • Samantha Perez, Hospitality and Tourism Management

The students learn cutting-edge methods in market research, product design and development, prototyping, testing, and entrepreneurship using design thinking methodology at San Francisco State University, USTC (Hefei, China), University of Bologna (Italy), and Stanford University. Beyond travel to China, Italy and Sweden, the students enjoy the advantage of networking experiences through company visits in China, Italy, Sweden and San Francisco.

Faculty Support


  • Leigh Jin, Information Systems
  • Arno Puder, Computer Science
  • Sybil Yang, Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Minu Kumar, Marketing
  • Gretchen George, Family Interiors and Nutrition Science

About Sugar Network

Sugar Network is a global innovation network of academic institutions collaborating with companies to solve challenging, real-world problems using the design thinking methodology. Each academic year, participating companies provide product development challenges to students from different universities from different countries who then collaborate to develop design solutions to meet the challenge.