Upcoming Deadline (June 30): University Innovation Fellows Program

When you’re paired with a group of motivated and energetic individuals, anything is possible.”  – Elliot Roth, University Innovation Fellow, Virginia Commonwealth University

After training 66 University Innovation Fellows this past spring, 110 students from 78 different institutions across the nation have come together to build a more experiential learning system for undergraduate engineers and their peers on campus.

Fellows join this movement to better the higher education system as a whole for their current and future peers. There was a moment for these Fellows when they decided that they needed something more from their higher education, something to challenge them more emotionally and mentally. These Fellow’s have been told “No;” been told they are “Crazy;” and been told countless other negative things about their visions for their future. The University Innovation Fellows program is a peer-based environment to support these students. The program allows Fellows to build a network of support for their visions and their ideas for the future. There is an overwhelming sense of pride, inspiration and amazement when these students come together and to define themselves as the economic future of our nation.

These 110 Fellows understand our nation needs us. That our future depends on us. They are leaders, followers, students, entrepreneurs, innovators, problem-solvers, hard-workers, professionals, teammates, mentors, mentees, owners, influencers, and visionaries. Fellows are changing institutions of higher education one at a time, while tackling the nation’s largest problems as a whole. They are taking their degrees into their own hands, creating an experiential learning environment and challenging the boundaries of traditional education systems. These Fellows work with administration, faculty, deans, congressmen/women, and students. They are building the future we currently dream about.

Fellows have surpassed just creating awareness on campus around innovation and entrepreneurship and are building lasting institutional change through events, workshops, makerspaces, venture funds and curriculum. Last year, Fellows created more, built more and designed more. The lasting institutional impact is being scaled by efforts through Leadership Circles.

There are 5 days left to apply for the fall cohort (deadline: Monday, June 30). The application can be found here. If you have further questions, please post them below so we can share the Q&A with other visitors. We will respond in a timely manner. If you would like to speak to someone directly, please contact Humera Fasihuddin at humera@nciia.org or Katie Dzugan at kdzugan@nciia.org, (413) 341-1663. We are extremely excited to get to know our new candidates this fall!

Cheers,

Katie Dzugan
UIF Program Associate

Cal Poly Freshman and Dublin High School Alum Nicholas Sinai Selected as Prestigious University Innovation Fellow

University Innovation Fellow, Nicholas Sinai, is recognized by his high school (Dublin High School) for his entrepreneurial pursuits at Cal Poly University San Luis Obispo during his freshman year. His past teachers and family provide an amazing insight into the type of person Nicholas is, and we couldn’t agree more. Keep up the great work Nicholas!

Pinning Ceremony

On March 20-22, 88 students from across the U.S. descended on Silicon Valley in California for our University Innovation Fellows (UIF) Meetup 2014. Over the course of three days, we convened at Google, Stanford University and OPEN 2014 to participate in an action-oriented, highly-engaging agenda (which was shared here a few days back). These 88 students comprised of elders, current Fellows, and new Candidates of the UIF program who are completing their training this week.

This event marked the first meeting of the Fellow Candidates and allowed them to forge partnerships with students from neighboring schools, find peers who were interested in the same opportunities, and create lasting friendships.

At the meetup, we recognized the University Innovation Fellows in our previous cohorts, who have already been incredibly active at their campuses. These students have put in tremendous amounts of work. They took part in 6 weeks of demanding training sessions last fall and spring that included researching strategic resources, interviewing other Fellows to learn from their activities, analyzing their campus ecosystems, learning about what students on campus want to see, and combining all of their new knowledge into a strategic vision to deploy on their campuses. This amazing group of talented, smart students have put in countless hours to engage students on their respective campuses to take interest in innovation and entrepreneurship and empower other students to harness their ideas and take control of their learning.

Below are students from our 2013 fall and spring cohorts.


Back row (from left): Dean Tate (Texas A&M), Brian Rhindress (UPitt), Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park), Mary Wilcox (ASU Tempe), Breanne Przestrzelski (Clemson), Brittany Wouden (WSU), Gregory Wilson (University of Georgia), Jennifer Mayo (Oklahoma State), Yifan Ge (Bucknell), Derek Dashti (Tulane)
Front row (from left): Katelyn Stenger (Rose-Hulman), Graham Leslie (Texas A&M), Terrence Agbi (NYU Polytechnic), Nate Smialek (UPitt), Ellery Addington-White (Beloit), Chen Cui (University of Iowa), Nolan Nicholson (University of Nevada, Reno), Andrew Dalman (North Dakota State)
Not pictured, but present at the Meetup: Jared Karp (UC Berkeley), Sharang Phadke (Cooper Union), Jack Goodwin (UC San Diego), Karuna Relwani (UPitt)

On the afternoon of March 21, we called these 18 Fellows up on stage, and symbolically welcomed them into our program by presenting them with Epicenter pins. We asked they choose a Candidate Fellow from the audience with whom they recently bonded to “pin them” (see below).


Front (left): Jorge Sanchez (ASU at the Polytechnic Campus); (right): Nolan Nicholson (University of Nevada, Reno)
Back (left): Kelly Thomas (UVA); (right): Brittany Wouden (WSU)

Each Fellow from the 2013 cohort now wears this pin with pride:

Congratulations to these students for tackling their learning needs and inspiring others to harness their creativity in order to make the world a better place! They represent a diverse group of leaders who will continue to inspire our up-and-coming generations.

Our Candidate Fellows will be finishing their training at the end of this week and we will acknowledge their efforts by presenting them with Epicenter pins in the very near future. The optimism and hope illustrated by this group of Fellows and the Candidate Fellows is remarkable. We are training groups of Fellows every semester. To host a University Innovation Fellow at your campus, apply today. Our fall deadline is September 8, 2014.

We truly believe students will change the world. Our nation needs us. The time is now.

 

 By: Katie Dzugan, Program Associate, University Innovation Fellows

Attention: This is a matter of national security.

Secret Agents Wanted. Report to ASEE Booth #417.

We are recruiting operatives for the Fall training. Faculty and Administration should report to the Epicenter Booth at the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) to learn why the country’s future, not to mention the future of your engineering school, will only be secured by the addition of a secret agent of change (a.k.a. Student Ambassador) helping institutionalize a culture of innovation and engaging engineering peers in adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. Authenticate your identity, watch the video and report to ASEE, booth #417 this Sunday, June 23rd through Wednesday, June 26th for further instructions.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

Makers Earning $45K After High School, Our Future Innovators

Today show segment showcases exciting new program that’s ‘making makers’ within high school.

High School Makers in MA Earning Big Bucks in Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing

High School Makers in MA Earning Big Bucks in Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing

According to the segment, The unemployment rate for people under the age of 25 is 16.2%, double the national average. A new program in Massachusetts is designed to train students in advanced manufacturing, robotics and precision machining to satisfy the predicted 100,000 jobs that will be available in medical devices, biotechnology and other technology sectors. The program trains students in advanced techniques at vocational school, and students graduate with their high school diploma with 100% chance of getting a job in their field at rates at a starting salary of $45,000. As someone who believes in the value of a college education for the experience of broadening one’s viewpoint, adopting solid STEM expertise, dabbling in the humanities and more … the phenomenon does give me pause. Still, one can’t argue with the defying of unemployment odds. If they felt they needed it, $45K allows students to self-fund evening and weekend courses to earn the notch on their resume that contributes to upward mobility. Heck, they could potentially take Stanford and MIT Massively Open Online Courses (MOOCs) for free and amass a powerhouse of knowledge, allowing them to lead the U.S. rebirth of technology-driven manufacturing debt-free and on their terms.

If you’re a college track student, though, you can still gain these practical skills. We see a growing trend in Colleges and Universities offering Design Kitchens and Innovation Spaces complete with CNC machines, 3-D Printers and other prototyping, invention and innovation tools. NCIIA has funded a number of of these with its Course and Program Grants in which faculty get $50,000 to support University/College build-out of such programs, five page proposal deadline due next Friday, May 10th). We highlighted six such spaces at the Smithsonian during our OPEN 2013 national conference last month in Washington D.C.. If you’re a faculty member or student thinking about ‘setting up shop’ at a place the University community can openly access maker tools, check out the YouTube video below. You’ll hear six 3-minute talks faculty from U-Michigan, Georgia Tech, Rice, Stanford, Berkeley and the K-12 environment. Imagine a space, central on campus and accessible to students regardless of major or year. Imagine a space that allowed students to create Valentine’s Day presents and other personal items in order to encourage a culture of making, inventing and innovating. Imagine a space staffed entirely by students, developing strong student expertise and incorporating strict codes of safety. Now, imagine a nation of makers and entrepreneurial-minded young people, socially aware and passionate about tackling the world’s most pressing problems. College students don’t want to find themselves at a disadvantage to those who gained practical skills through vocational training. They’re dissatisfied with the pace of change within academia (Making, Entrepreneurship and Innovation seen as one in the same practical tool set College Students want) and many are leading the charge within their own institutions, like Jared Karp our Student Ambassador from Berkeley and one of the six speakers in the following video. While academia may be slow to change, students have more of a sense of urgency (with graduation comes repayment made impossible without a job). What’s more, they’re the customer! And that gives them a certain clout and ability to avoid institutional politics. Click and get ready to be inspired:

To inquire about bringing a Design Kitchen or Maker Space to you your campus, contact me at humera at nciia dot org.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

April 2013 Issue of Harvard Business Review Includes Steve Blank and Lean Startup Methodology

The April issue of Harvard Business Review features a must-read article from Steve Blank on the acclaimed Lean Startup Methodology being deployed widely in the technology venture development circles. This is an especially exciting development for two reasons:

1) While HBR has published widely on management issues faced by large and established companies, it hasn’t been known for its relevance to the startup world (until now), and

2) It casts a much-needed spotlight on a disciplined process that has received a lot of attention, namely for its proven results in minimizing wasted development investment prior to vetting the business model.

Steve Blank’s Article in the Harvard Business Review

At the heart of this technique is the rigorous, and oft times brutally honest, customer development process in validating, refining and finding the customer value proposition and associated business model that makes the most economic sense. National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance has been managing the scale up of the National Science Foundation’s use of this methodology as it relates to its I-Corp research grant recipients. In addition, NCIIA and Epicenter (National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation) are about to hold a third workshop for University faculty to learn directly from Steve Blank, who teaches University venture teams at U.C. Berkeley, Stanford University, Columbia University, Caltech and the Joint Berkeley/Columbia Executive MBA program. The workshop, called, Lean LaunchPad Educators, will be held from June 18 – 20 in the Bay Area. There’s one slated for the East Coast in late September as well. These tend to sell out, so make your favorite faculty person aware. There may be opportunities for Student Ambassadors to attend future versions of this workshop. If you’re a Student Ambassador interested in this opportunity, let me know.

Read Steve’s blog post and access the HBR article here.

When Hell Froze Over – in the Harvard Business Review.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

Entrepreneurship on College Campuses

infographicsnapshotHere’s a great infographic for why student ambassadors are leading the charge to create entrepreneurial ecosystems on their college campuses. Click on the graphic to see the larger image and read the post “The Rise of Entrepreneurship on College Campuses (Infographic)” by Diana Ransom, Contributing Editor of Young Entrepreneur.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Manager of Student Programming, T: @ihumera

Why Student Ambassadors?

Today, we are starting our new online training for 8 student ambassador candidates. This departs from our typical format of bringing 20 or so students to NCIIA headquarters in Hadley, MA to indoctrinate them in the lessons that make a great student ambassador. The online training consists of six one-hour sessions with experiential learning during the week. Student Ambassadors hit the ground running while drawing on the power of an unrivaled national network of student leaders.

You’ll learn more about the 8 candidates in the coming days, but here’s the list:
NAME, INSTITUTION
Tyler Salem, University of Central Florida
Wilson Kurian, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Karuna Relwani, University of Pittsburgh
Elliot Roth, Virginia Commonwealth University
Jared Karp, University of California Berkeley
Blake Marggraff, University of Washington St. Louis
Kevin Mobolade, Mercer University
Alexandra Halbeck, Tufts University

To learn more, watch the Prezi: “Student Ambassadors of Innovation: The Making of a Movement”
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Students interested in participating in a Spring online training (dates TBD) to serve as a Student Ambassador for the 2013-2014 academic year, click here. Faculty interested in sponsoring a student for the Spring online training, click here.

Brilliant Student Innovations Address Global Challenges

The NCIIA grants program is one that has given rise to numerous student-led companies. Actually, given that NCIIA has been around for 17 years, many are ‘all grown up’ and employ hundreds of people, garnering millions in economic impact…. but I want to highlight the ones that one might classify as ‘International Development’. If you’re from a campus that has a well-developed programs to help students explore opportunities for ‘social venturing’, you are lucky. Look into it. For those that do not, students should know that philanthropies, corporations and venture capitalists are investing in for-profit business models to serve the bottom-of-the-economic-pyramid customer base. Socially focused enterprises are thought to effectively address poverty through affordable services and products, including health care, sanitation, clean water, and energy, to those most in need. The NCIIA encourages students to apply for grant funding and create new ventures that benefit society, including ‘bottom-of-pyramid’ customers for whom socially beneficial products, like neonatal technologies, can be a game-changer.

I watched this video today and it hit home personally. Liya’s Diary, produced as part of the Bill and Melinda Gates ‘Living Proof Project’ video series outlines the persistent global challenges of maternal and neonatal health. My father grew up in a rural village in India. Although I was very young, I can remember visiting the poor dwelling where he and his 15 siblings lived. As a woman who has given birth to three children in the last 10 years, one who was born with severe jaundice, the notion that 600,000 deaths still occur annually due to jaundice illicits a personal and emotional response. Ben Cline is a student from Stanford that helped form Brilliance, a company that makes phototherapy devices for the developing world. We first met Ben in 2009 at NCIIA’s venture-development workshop which he had to leave early to catch a flight to India, to develop the innovation further and investigate the best means to bring it to market. We’re pleased to report that in three short years, the phototherapy device is hitting the market at a price point of $400 (see NYT article below).

What separates this success from other student-led projects that aim to have the same level of meaningful impact? Well, there are many but in my mind it was the early partnership with D-Rev, a Bay Area-based non-profit that has years of experience commercializing technologies for the developing world. For any given technology, market sector or innovation, the partner might be different but the importance of forging a strong commercial tie to an organization that has the experience, network and financial resources to move accurately and expeditiously towards appropriate commercial track is one of the biggest challenges for student ventures. Watch the TEDx talk (right) delivered by D-Rev’s, CEO Krista Donaldson, and the value of such a partnership is readily evident.

Last June National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) convened the Neonatal Technologies Forum with support from The Lemelson Foundation. According to the report from the meeting released by NCIIA last September, University-based innovation teams’ technology development and dissemination work is taking place in the context of a larger international development and global health push to improve maternal and child health. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) four and five call for reductions in child and maternal mortality by 2015. The UN’s 2010 Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health calls for new interventions, including new technologies, as key components of an integrated global strategy to achieve the MDGs. Other aspects of the strategy include health systems strengthening, integration of care, support of country health plans, and ensuring access to comprehensive care interventions and services. Students searching for a meaningful way to do well in life and do good should consider ways to be part of the solution.

– Humera Fasihuddin, Program Manager, NCIIA

(On twitter @ihumera)

UCLA – The Ecosystem of an Entrepreneurial University

A Conversation with:
Dr. James Economou, UCLA Vice Chancellor for Research
Dr. David Feinberg, Associate Vice Chancellor, CEO UCLA Hospital System
Dr. Al Osborne, Senior Associate Dean, Anderson School of Management 

 Moderated by Roy Doumani, Executive Director, UCLA Business of Science Center 

This conversation focused on how the speakers view the value of innovation and entrepreneurship on campus and what UCLA offers to encourage and support their faculty and students in collaboration across departments and with industry. In creating this ecosystem of entrepreneurship, the shared goal is to provide the necessary support to bring important discoveries from the research laboratories to the public domain for the benefit of society.

NCIIA and the Technical Entrepreneurial Community UCLA student organization were showcased during this event.

Art Center College of Design • $50 Challenge

 

 

The $50 Challenge at the Art Center College of Design was an event created to bring designers together to be entrepreneurs by combining their skills and creativity to build a small business in 24 hours. The challenge began with an inspirational talk about the spirit of entrepreneurship by Errol Gerson and an introduction to creative strategies by Fridolin Beisert . The joint forces of these two motivational instructors paved the way for teams of students to go out and experience fast and spontaneous entrepreneurship.

Teams were given $50 and asked to go out and make as much money as they could in 24 hours. The rules were simple: make as much as you can, return the $50 investment and keep the profit or cover the losses. 24 hours later teams reunited for story telling, pizza and prizes.

Well, but what did the teams do? There was a lucrative bookbinding course, making sandwiches, distributing sodas, making a music video, creating “provocative” water, drawing portraits, selling smiles and even selling wishes. This last group called “Popwish” sold wishes and popsicles for a dollar. This idea turned out to be a great success and they are now in the process of continuing the project beyond the challenge.

The Art Center College of Design is a school full of genuine curiosity, sparking creativity and directed passion, which makes it an incubator for potential young entrepreneurial spirits. The $50 Challenge was an event created to highlight these qualities and inspire the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

This event was organized by Impact • Design for Social Change and sponsored by NCIIA (National Collegiate Inventors & Innovators Alliance)

 

 

 

— Mariana Prieto •  NCIIA Student Ambassador for Art Center College of Design

Technology Entrepreneurship Across the Nation!

Welcome!

Congratulations to each of the thirteen new NCIIA Student Ambassadors from across the nation for the 2011 – 2012 school year.  These Student Ambassadors will serve as advocates  for NCIIA, driving the mission of the organization.  For more information on NCIIA, view the website at www.nciia.org.

This blog will serve as an opportunity for Student Ambassadors to highlight entrepreneurial activities on campuses and provide insight to resources that students can leverage.  Increased collaboration between campuses will lead to a greater impact in furthering the NCIIA mission.