Innovation Spotlight: Linnea Munro
by Marina Nysten
Meet Linnea Munro: an undergraduate student, innovator, and entrepreneur. Raised in the pacific northwest, Linnea is completing her final year in the B.Sc. Computer Science and Biology program at McGill. She is passionate about helping the disabled community via accessible computing technologies.
In 2019, Linnea co-founded Malyus, a start-up that uses software to help the D/deaf and Hard of Hearing (HoH). Malyus is a software company that aims to create tools for hearing aid users. The start-up hopes to take advantage of recent advancements in AI and machine learning to help Hard of Hearing communities. Linnea is a hearing-aid user, and she has experienced barriers related to her hearing throughout her life. She used these obstacles as a motivator to start Malyus, bringing innovative solutions to other members of her community.
Additionally, Linnea hopes that Malyus will bring more awareness to ableism and accessibility issues. In our interview, Linnea talked about the importance of accessibility in STEM, “Diversity in experiences is imperative to development and growth, especially in STEM. People with disabilities have so many perspectives and skills to offer, and if our spaces are not accessible, we silence them.” Overall, Linnea hopes that her involvement with Malyus empowers D/deaf and HoH individuals and brings attention to the need for accessibility in society.
Not only is Linnea an innovator herself, but she also creates a space to support and educate other innovators. Linnea is the founder of the McGill Startup Summit, which allows students to explore business and entrepreneurship without any risk or experience. Her inspiration for founding the McGill Startup Summit arose from the desire to explore STEM careers beyond medicine and academic research. Linnea hopes that students involved in the summit will gain valuable career insight and professional skills that they can use in the future.
For students interested in pursuing entrepreneurship, Linnea suggests visiting your school’s local entrepreneurial centre and seeking out incubator programs, as they are built to guide beginners in the field. Finally, Linnea shared some words of wisdom for students and professionals alike: “Don't be afraid of your ideas; all ideas seem impossible and overwhelming to pursue, but promise me, just try. If you have an [...] idea that could help others, jot it down and ask yourself how to make that a reality.”