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155 Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2016

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

 

155 Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

 

(February 22, 2016) — 155 students from 47 higher education institutions have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world.

To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity at their schools. Fellows design innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, host experiential learning events and work with faculty to develop new courses. Fellows who joined the program in the 2014-15 academic year held 112 events and established 35 spaces at their schools.

The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. With the addition of the new Fellows, the program has trained 607 students at 143 institutions since the beginning of the Epicenter grant.

“We believe that students can be so much more than just the customers of higher education,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Fellows are acting as co-designers of the higher education experience, and they are actively collaborating with faculty and administrators to make lasting changes at their schools. They utilize their resourcefulness, creativity and national network to make measurable gains, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

Individual Fellows as well as institutional teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

“Through this program, Fellows learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems for new opportunities, understand the needs of stakeholders at their schools, collaborate with peers from different disciplines, and solve problems that have no clear answers,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “All of these mindsets and skills will help Fellows make a difference in higher education as well as in the increasingly complex world that awaits them after graduation.”

The new Fellows join the program from the following schools:

  • Beloit College
  • Berea College
  • Boise State University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • Clemson University
  • Colorado School of Mines
  • Converse College
  • Dalhousie University
  • Elon University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  • Kent State University
  • Kettering University
  • La Salle University
  • Lawrence Technological University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Morgan State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Ohio Northern University
  • Ohio University
  • Purdue University
  • Quinnipiac University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Saint Louis University
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Spelman College
  • Temple University
  • Tennessee Technological University
  • Texas Tech University
  • Texas Tech, South Plains College
  • Union College
  • University of Dayton
  • University of Detroit Mercy
  • University of New Haven
  • University of North Alabama
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • Utah Valley University
  • Villanova University
  • Washington University in St Louis
  • Western New England University
  • Wichita State University
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute

In late March, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Silicon Valley Meetup, which brings together all Fellows trained in Fall 2015 and Spring 2016. During this meeting, March 17-22, Fellows will take part in immersive experiences at Google and Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). They will participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, student innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models of change in higher education.

This event will be the first of many times that the Fellows have the opportunity to engage with the d.school at Stanford. After Epicenter’s National Science Foundation grant ends on June 30, 2016, the University Innovation Fellows program will become part of the d.school. Visit bit.ly/UIF-future to read more about the transition.

Applications for the Fall 2016 cohort are due on May 2, 2016. Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows and find out how to apply at universityinnovationfellows.org. 

 

About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:

At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu. 

About VentureWell:

VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is a leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

Virginia is for Makers*

Bluestonehacks 5*A play on Virginia’s state motto, “Virginia is for Lovers.”

We kicked off our roadtrip strong, driving 5 hours through 5 states – MA, CT, NY, NJ, and PA – before stopping in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to get some Zzzs. Our biggest priority was to get to James Madison University to join their first-ever, student-led 24-hour hackathon, Bluestone Hacks. Participants of the hackathon had started innovating about the time we hit the road Friday night (6 p.m. on Friday, April 17) and were up all night developing their ideas, building working prototypes, and honing their final presentations.

BluestoneHacks1

On Saturday, we arrived at Memorial Hall eager to see the students present their ideas in one of three categories: food and agriculture, health and medicine, or consumer goods and products. Humera Fasihuddin (co-lead of the Fellows program) was invited to judge the food and agriculture category. We arrived to an open auditorium with roughly 60 participants and tables covered in prototyping materials, computers, food and red bull. The participants’ 24 hours was up, and it was time to present their final ideas.

JudgesPanelFourteen teams had formed and had 5 minutes to present with an additional 2 minutes of Q&A from the panel of judges. The teams had developed ideas from aiding local food producers market where they would be selling local produce to gym powered greenhouses to apps organizing medical emergency information to a mobile solution for HR companies on-boarding their new hires. The winner of Bluestone Hacks was Volterre, a mobile app designed to predict epidemics. The software monitors moods, social networks and google searches in a geo-targeted location to identify the spread of sickness in order to avoid epidemics. The winner was a senior at JMU studying physics.BluestoneHacks-Winners

Bluestone Hacks was an amazing event, and the fact that 5 Fellows organized the entire experience in less than one month and raised $8,000 from sponsors in two weeks is highly impressive.

20150419_141902Sunday was an entirely different atmosphere. We took hit the road an hour south to Charlottesville, VA, to meet up with our University of Virginia Fellows and their faculty sponsor, David Chen. After an amazing lunch and tour in beautiful downtown Charlottesville, after which we hit the infamous TomTom Festival. In short, the TomTom festival is a celebration of founders, named after one of our nation’s original founders Thomas Jefferson. A celebration of the startup, creative and innovative talent in Virginia, the TomTom Festival is a two-week shindig incorporating art, music, food and innovation in a fabulous outdoor neighborhood street-fair setting.
20150419_142035

GeniusHourThere, we attended the Genius Hour — an event for makers of all ages — and saw many K12 and collegiate-level projects. It was described as “…a celebration of tech enthusiasts, crafters,  educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, and students.” We had the opportunity to meet one of the organizers, Nate, a senior at UVa, who reached out to TomTom Fest organizers and pulled together the community to exhibit their creativity. As a program, we had heard we were making a difference (from both faculty sponsors and Fellows), but we were blown-away as community members recognized our University Innovation Fellows t-shirts at TomTom Fest.

ICEMakerHouse

After a wonderful afternoon at UVa, we headed back to JMU to have dinner and tour of the ICE House and ICE Maker House. The ICE House is a hub of resources providing students with access to resources for startups and small businesses, a maker space (ICE Maker House) and iterative learning experiences.

PinningCeremony-PresentationJMUPinningCeremony-Pres

Fast forward to Monday afternoon. Humera and I were invited to attend our first pinning ceremony with the JMU Fellows, their faculty sponsor Nick Swayne, President Jonathan Alger and his wife, Mary Anne Alger. Fellows Chris Ashley, Timothy Moore, Emily Pratt and Jack O’Neil gave an amazing presentation on their work as Fellows. We were extremely proud of their ability to articulate their vision and describe the enhancements they wanted to see on JMU’s campus.

And now, we’re on our way to Kent State University to our Fellows Robin Bonatesta, Sravan Kumar, Tapti Saha and Matthew Allen. We have put nearly 800 miles behind us, with many more to go!

Cheers,

Humera and Katie

Pictured Below: James Madison University Fellows: Chris Ashley, Jack O’Neil, Emily Platt, and Timothy Moore; Nick Swayne, Faculty Sponsor; and Humera & Katie.PinningCeremony-UswiththeCoolKids

Pictured Below: University of Virginia Fellows: Ben Matthews, Angela Liu, Katie Kan, Rachel Smith, Anish Dalal, Dasha Tyshlek; David Chen, Faculty Sponsor, and his beautiful children Sofia and Austin; Katie and Humera, along with Humera’s children Noah, Aliya and Jeremiah.UVA-GroupPhoto

Read all posts in this series here:

UIF Roadtrip April 2015

Virginia is for Makers

Just Kent Get Enough

Empowering The Next Silicon Valley

For many of the fellows, the captain announcing the initial descent into San Francisco/San Jose was enough to get our hearts racing. A few weeks back, we had the opportunity to meet our peer Fellows from all around the country, and visit innovative places such as Google, Stanford d. School, and in our spare time, the rest of what Silicon Valley has to offer.

Stanford's d.school

We were all mesmerized by the resources, the opportunities and the networks that were established around the area. But near the end of my trip, I had the chance to head over to East Palo Alto, with poverty and homelessness in unbelievably high density. Even with the classic Silicon Valley iconic dot com boom, there are areas like East Palo Alto which were bypassed. On the flight back home, I had time to consider what this mean to me as a young innovator.

I came to the conclusion that although Silicon Valley is inspiring in and of itself, and many of my peer Fellows are excited to perhaps one day be a part of it, it is also of the utmost importance to empower our youthful innovators and University Innovation Fellows to create the next Silicon Peeyush 4Valley, and deliver unprecedented growth in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) in their own hometowns. This begs the question: What made the tech boom possible in Silicon Valley, and what would it take to mirror the environment in a new burgeoning city?

Innovators, often unintentionally, bullishly attempt to characterize solutions without first understanding the problem. For clarity, think of the jigsaw puzzles you completed as a child. There is a reference picture on the box, providing a sense of an end vision and inspiration, but most importantly, providing a landscape to facilitate the process. Silicon Valley is that picture on the box; when shaping our respective I&E Ecosystem Landscape Canvases, it is common for us to think we are on our own, without any facilitation or guiding end vision. This could not be further from the truth.

Peeyush2The weekend in Silicon Valley with Fellows was a time for collaboration, design thinking and the discussion of a variety of different exciting platforms and initiatives for empowering our movement for growth. But let it be known that there is a reference picture on the figurative box of our movement. It is tech hubs like Silicon Valley, that give us a sense of an end vision – a vision for where the next innovation boom will occur, whether it be in clean energy, biotech or even liberal arts education on college campuses. But just as it is in East Palo Alto, the picture is blurred. There are areas that innovation seemed to bypass, and the people and economy suffer tremendously. It is the burden of us Fellows to begin putting together the puzzle, while also shedding light on the blurred area of the picture.

It is time for the next Silicon Valley to be born; for a new picture to emerge, and for the picture to be clearer than ever before. The next gold standard could be in Ohio, South Carolina, or Idaho. And it would be safe to bet that a University Innovation Fellow would be behind that project.

Consider this a call. A call for action. A call for the next Silicon Valley. A better Silicon Valley, and a better world for it.

-Peeyush Shrivastava, University Innovation Fellow ’15

Peeyush_Shrivastava_OhioStateUniversity




Peeyush Shrivastava is a Biomedical Science major (Economics Minor) at The Ohio State University, and a passionate innovator and entrepreneur working on developing and commercializing a pipeline of diagnostic solutions. An avid researcher and enthusiast of science and youthful innovation, Peeyush hopes to bring a new era of student bioscience innovation with his role as a Fellow at Ohio State. See his full profile here.

123 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

For Immediate Release
February 24, 2015

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

123 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

(February 24, 2015) — 123 students from 51 U.S. higher education institutions have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a national community of students in engineering and related fields who work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

This new cohort of Fellows brings the total number to 291 Fellows from 114 schools. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

“In today’s competitive economy, it is critical for all students to learn an entrepreneurial mindset, which helps them learn to be resilient, creative and empathetic,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Students need to leave school better prepared to tackle our world’s big problems and create new and fulfilling jobs for themselves and others.”

“Our program provides a platform for Fellows to learn to be strategic thinkers, examine the landscape of learning opportunities at their schools, and formulate action plans to implement their ideas,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the Fellows program and Deputy Director of Epicenter. “Fellows develop a community and share strategies about what’s working at their schools. Ultimately, these students, with their drive and motivation, are leading accelerated change in higher education.”

Individual Fellows as well as teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

Fellows have created design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design new courses, and hosted events and workshops. In the last academic year alone, Fellows created 553 activities, 22 new spaces and 65 innovation and entrepreneurship resources at their schools.

“Over the course of the program, we’ve seen Fellows have a powerful impact on student engagement and campus culture at a national scale,” Fasihuddin said. “Word of their success has attracted more than 50 institutions for this new cohort. We’re thrilled to see the impact of the new Fellows in the year ahead.”

The new Fellows gathered in Silicon Valley on February 20-22, 2015, for their annual meeting, where they took part in immersive experiences at Google and Stanford University. At the event, Fellows participated in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, student innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models of change in higher education. They engaged with leaders in academia and industry from Google, Google for Entrepreneurs, Stanford University, and Citrix, among others. Additional information and photos from the event are available upon request.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/university-innovation-fellows.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

About Stanford University:
At Stanford University, the Epicenter collaboration is managed by the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP), the entrepreneurship center in Stanford’s School of Engineering. STVP delivers courses and extracurricular programs to Stanford students, creates scholarly research on high-impact technology ventures, and produces a large and growing collection of online content and experiences for people around the world. Visit us online at stvp.stanford.edu.

About VentureWell:
VentureWell was founded in 1995 as the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA) and rebranded in 2014 to underscore its impact as an education network that cultivates revolutionary ideas and promising inventions. A not-for-profit organization reaching more than 200 universities, VentureWell is the leader in funding, training, coaching and early investment that brings student innovations to market. Inventions created by VentureWell grantees are reaching millions of people in more than 50 countries and helping to solve some of our greatest 21st century challenges. Visit www.venturewell.org to learn how we inspire students, faculty and investors to transform game-changing ideas into solutions for people and the planet.

 

Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup: University of Maryland and Washington D.C.

Originally published by Epicenter

PRESS RELEASE: NATIONAL STUDENT ORGANIZATION HOSTS EVENT ON INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN HIGHER EDUCATION

The University Innovation Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup will take place November 1 – 2, 2014, at the University of Maryland and in downtown Washington, DC.

October 28, 2014

The University Innovation Fellows, a national student organization, will host a regional event at the University of Maryland and in downtown Washington, DC, focusing on innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education.

The University Innovation Fellows Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup will take place November 1-2, 2014. Fellows from across the country will join students from the University of Maryland to participate in experiential activities focusing on entrepreneurial thinking, creativity, design thinking and community engagement.

This event is hosted by the University Innovation Fellows program in collaboration with Fellows from the University of Maryland who designed the two-day program: Atin Mittra (Aerospace Engineering B.S. ‘14), Valerie Sherry (Architecture M.A. ‘15) and Meenu Singh (Civil Engineering B.S. ‘14).

“Our goal is to get participants thinking about innovation and entrepreneurship in new, inclusive ways that challenge the traditional assumptions of what it means to integrate these fields within higher education,” said Meenu Singh, one of the three Fellows organizing the event.

The Fellows are a national community of student leaders who help students at their schools learn about innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is funded by the National Science Foundation.

“Student engagement is the key to a vibrant and growing innovation ecosystem, yet many institutions struggle to inspire and activate their student body with top-down efforts,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter. “Students, on the other hand, have been especially successful at igniting their campus culture across all majors. This event will be an opportunity for students to share best practices and develop new ideas.”

The theme of the event is “Creative Collisions” to help students incorporate innovation and entrepreneurship into all facets of student life and across all areas of study. The event is a collaborative experience that will allow participants to learn from practices at the University of Maryland and share insights from their home institutions.

Activities on November 1 will take place at the University of Maryland and include a creativity workshop, a discussion with administrators on partnerships with students, a campus scavenger hunt and a business model activity. Activities on November 2 will take place in downtown Washington, DC, and include a design challenge, visits to co-working spaces and points of interest, and a movement workshop on the National Mall.

A full schedule of activities is available upon request.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

About Epicenter:

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/.

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Hypothesis Affirmed! Greenville, SC Ignited By Southeastern Regional Meetup

Last week, we tested and affirmed a theory. Our hypothesis was that we could bring together a group of Fellows with other college students interested in creativity, innovation and design thinking and replicate the energy of our Annual Meetup at Google and Stanford at a place far from Silicon Valley. We chose Greenville, South Carolina. Why? Because of our star University Innovation Fellows who happen to be in that region… Ben Riddle of Furman University and Bre Przestrzelski of Clemson University, and their amazingly supportive faculty sponsors Ross McClain (Department Chair, Art, Furman) and John Desjardin (Faculty, Bioengineering, Clemson).

https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicenterusa/sets/72157648089466547/player/

Ben and Bre’s work analyzing the Furman and Clemson Innovation & Entrepreneurship ecosystem informed their strategic plans to enhance that ecosystem (Furman Student Priorities, Clemson Student Priorities). They completed this work last year, over a 6-week WebEx-based program to become University Innovation Fellows and, as part of their training, flew to Google Headquarters and Stanford’s world-renowned d.school (the Hasso Plattner Design Institute). Over three days, 88 Fellows from all over the nation soaked up the innovation culture in Silicon Valley and discussed ways to lead a movement in student innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship on their campuses (March 2014 agenda, and photos). The Annual Meetup was transformative; both Ben and Bre saw the opportunity to replicate the magic and attract peers on campus.

Again, why Greenville? Program leaders, over the year that followed, discovered just how cool of a community Greenville, SC is, as both Fellows reported back the success and overwhelming support they received from institutional and community leaders. Greenville has a strong history of public-private partnership dating back to the entrepreneurial Mayor Max, under whose leadership the city attracted a major Hotel Chain and narrowed a four-lane thoroughfare into the charming downtown Main Street filled with great restaurants, culture, art and more. So, when the pair invited Epicenter and its founders, Stanford University and VentureWell, to co-facilitate design thinking and lean startup sessions with local experts, program leaders enthusiastically agreed. Thus was born the plan for the…

Southeastern Regional Meetup, Hosted by Clemson University and Furman University

SEregionalsmallEpicenter organizers, University Innovation Fellow program leaders and Fellows flew in from California, Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, New York and the Virgin Islands. Fellows drove from North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and even as far away as Michigan and Massachusetts! They were joined by 20 Furman and 20 Clemson students. All had one thing in common: a desire to learn the techniques of design thinking and lean startup, two approaches used to develop strong human-centered ideas and develop scalable business models around them. Using real-world issues from the Greenville community, students applied new-found techniques in observation, empathy, brainstorming, prototyping, customer segmentation & value proposition development.

Students developed low-resolution prototypes and articulated real opportunities to improve Greenville – a more friendly main street and redesigning the eating experience. Students learned by doing and they discovered that their entrepreneurial mindset could be honed on real-world challenges in their local community. On the flip side, community members saw students as motivated and capable individuals who bring a fresh-perspective and an open mind to arrive at highly innovative and achievable solutions to their challenges. One student openly remarked during the debrief, “I learned more this weekend than in the entire semester,” a sentiment often heard by many who first encounter hands-on and experiential learning opportunities. The mood at the reception with community and academic leaders was one you’d see at a sporting event, as evident by the Bear Ninja Cowboy video posted below. This kind of enthusiasm for learning can transform our nation’s higher education institutions. We look forward to replicating this success in Washington D.C. and at UMD on November 1st and 2nd, ringing in National Entrepreneurship Month with an invitation only Meetup for 100 University Innovation Fellows. More on that soon!

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Leader, University Innovation Fellows (on behalf of Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Katie Dzugan & Laurie Moore)

A Big THANK YOU to our Collaborators and Supporters

We are extremely grateful to the many local community members, without whom, this past weekend would not have been possible:

Design Thinkers Group USA, especially Joel, Marc and Susan, for their tremendous efforts in co-designing and co-facilitating a two-day experiential learning experience with our colleague Leticia Britos Cavagnaro from Stanford.

John Desjarin, Clemson, for his awesome giant room-sized Business Model Canvas exercise, imparting Lean Startup skills to participants in an experiential way (and his moral support).

Ross Mclain, Furman, for forging an unprecedented partnership between a liberal arts institution and a major research university (and his moral support).

OpenWorks, for being so accommodating and allowing us to use their open work space for our activities on Friday (see agenda below).

Greenville Health System, especially to Robin, for joining us to discuss what you should never do in an interview — and making it funny.

Clemson MBA at ONE, for giving us access to their swanky new space on Main Street.

Also a special shout out to Envision SC, the Spiro Institute, Ten at the Top, SCBio and all of our additional facilitators and guests of honor.

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Collaborators and Sponsors

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

Fellows Southeastern Regional Meetup Agenda

58 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2014

58 U.S. Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

Palo Alto, CA – Fifty-eight students from 26 higher education institutions across the United States have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a national community of students in engineering and related fields who work to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

This new cohort of Fellows brings the total number to 168 Fellows from 85 schools. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).

“It is so critical for students to have an entrepreneurial mindset in today’s economy. They need more than just technical skills to solve the big problems our world is facing,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter.

“This mindset helps students learn to be flexible, resilient, creative, empathetic. They learn how to identify and frame problems rather than simply solving what’s put in front of them. With these skills, students will be able to leave school better prepared to tackle challenges and create new and fulfilling jobs for themselves and others.”
Individual Fellows as well as teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, students complete six weeks of online training, where they connect with their new network, examine their current entrepreneurial ecosystems and formulate action plans to implement their ideas. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

Fellows have created student design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design courses, and hosted events and workshops. In the last academic year alone, Fellows created 553 activities, 22 new spaces and 65 innovation and entrepreneurship resources at their schools.

“Fellows are having a powerful impact at their schools,” Fasihuddin said. “They are working alongside students, faculty and their university leaders to help all students learn an entrepreneurial mindset, dream big and pursue their career aspirations.”

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/university-innovation-fellows and http://www.dreamdesigndeliver.org.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Epicenter’s three core initiatives are the University Innovation Fellows program for undergraduate engineering students and their peers; the Pathways to Innovation Program for institutional teams of faculty and university leaders; and a research program that informs activities and contributes to national knowledge on entrepreneurship and engineering education. Learn more and get involved at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

Epicenter-NSF-Stanford-VW-logos-stacked

Applications Open for University Innovation Fellows Program

Applications are now open for Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows program.

University Innovation Fellow Meetup 2014
May 16, 2014

This week, the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) opened the application process for its University Innovation Fellows program for U.S. college and university students.

The University Innovation Fellows, a national community of students in engineering and related fields, are leading a movement to ensure that all students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future. To accomplish this, the Fellows advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation at their schools.

The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

Fellows have created student design and maker spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design courses, and hosted events and workshops. At present, there are 78 Fellows at 110 institutions.

“The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change on their campuses,” said Humera Fasihuddin, leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter. “With a little bit of training, some guidance, and a great support network, Fellows are working alongside engineers, their interdisciplinary peers and faculty to prepare students to pursue their career aspirations with an entrepreneurial mindset that is so critical in today’s economy.”

The Time Is Now: The University Innovation Fellows Manifesto

John DesJardins, Associate Professor of Bioengineering at Clemson University, said about his school’s Fellow and bioengineering graduate student Breanne Przestrzelski: “As a result of her University Innovation Fellows experience, Bre has systematically begun to transform the entrepreneurial and innovation landscape of our bioengineering program, our college, our university and our community. At every level, Bre has challenged the engineering and business educators, administrators and leaders in our community to become active facilitators of student-driven engagement in entrepreneurship and technology innovation.”

Elliot Roth, a University Innovation Fellow and engineering major at Virginia Commonwealth University, spoke to the benefit of having a network of like-minded peers across the country: “During the training, I learned what it takes to be a leader, to tell a compelling story, and to work alongside a community in making a sustainable impact. Possibly the most important thing about being a Fellow is the other amazing students in the program. By sharing our experiences, we collectively learned more as a group than any one of us ever could alone.”

The deadline for program applications is June 30, 2014. Students can request an application, and faculty can request an application to sponsor a student at dreamdesigndeliver.org/apply.

Application and program details:

  • The application deadline for the Spring/Fall 2014 cohort is June 30, 2014.
  • Ideally, applicants are undergraduate students in engineering or other STEM fields, but Epicenter is thrilled to consider undergraduate and graduate applicants from all disciplines who are passionate about technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • Students can apply individually or in groups of up to five, called a Leadership Circle.
  • Applicants are sponsored by a faculty or administrator who can provide a program fee, travel support and a letter of support.
  • Following acceptance, students are required to take part in an online training and in-person events. Upon successful completion, students participate in a three-day immersive experience in Silicon Valley.

Learn more at dreamdesigndeliver.org.

About Epicenter:
The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. Learn more and get involved at epicenter.stanford.edu.

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Specialist, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113
llhmoore@stanford.edu

Click here to download the full press release: Epicenter University Innovation Fellows press release – May 2014.

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UIF News: Twitter Chat

ANNOUNCEMENT:

Big Beacon has invited Epicenter back for a Twitter Chat! The topic will be design thinking in engineering. If you would like to join in, use #BigBeacon during the designated time and you will be able to follow the live conversation. Join the conversation by answering questions and chatting with other participants. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
5 p.m. Pacific / 8 p.m. Eastern

Here is a link to Epicenter’s previous Twitter chat with Big Beacon.