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Future Unveiled: University Innovation Fellows Post-NSF Plans

An Open Letter to the University Innovation Fellows Community

We have big news! 

As you know, the University Innovation Fellows program was born as a successful program of the Epicenter. This center was created with the support of a 5-year National Science Foundation grant and has served as a lab for learning about how U.S. schools might embed innovation and entrepreneurship into the student experience.

We are thrilled to tell you that when Epicenter’s NSF grant ends on June 30, 2016, the University Innovation Fellows program will leave the lab and continue to empower students to change higher education!

In its very essence, the University Innovation Fellows program will remain unchanged. Today, we are providing you with a breakdown of what our exciting future entails:

What will remain the same?

  • The program will keep the same name and mission.
  • We will continue training new student change agents and welcoming students from all disciplines.
  • We will continue offering online training and in-person meetups to support the development of change agents on your campus. We are accepting applications for fall 2016 with the deadline of May 2, 2016. (Request an application today)

What will change?

  • The new home of the University Innovation Fellows program will be Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). The UIF program will continue under the leadership current directors Humera Fasihuddin and Leticia Britos Cavagnaro and with the support staff you know and love. We’ve always considered the d.school a center of gravity for the Fellows program and we are excited to create even further linkages between d.school initiatives and your change efforts on campus. Next time you’re in the neighborhood, come check out our new space!
  • Without subsidy from the NSF, we will need to increase the program fee from $2,000 to $4,000 per student. We thought long and hard about this decision. The increase won’t cover our entire budget, but it will go a long way. We know it won’t be easy for some institutions. But, ultimately, we leaned in favor of maintaining the integrity of the program aspects we know to be catalytic in support of Fellows.
  • Campuses can continue to sponsor a Leadership Circle of up to four students for a single $4,000 fee, with a letter from the president of the university.
  • For future Silicon Valley Meetups, schools will continue to be responsible for the costs of the students’ travel to California, but this will now include the price of their hotel stay (please note that this change does not apply to the March 2016 Meetup).
  • We’re going global! We will now be accepting applications for Fall 2016 from countries around the world (we have already received requests for applications).
  • We will also offer workshops and resources for those who sponsor Fellows (faculty, staff and administrators). These offerings will include a 4-day workshop on design thinking pedagogy and a program for sponsors of Fellows to learn best practices in achieving change through their student leaders. We hope that revenue generated from these offerings will contribute to supporting the program.
  • We are seeking new funding sources and collaborators to grow the program.

How can you help us continue to strengthen our future?

Like any good social venture, we would love to break even by generating revenue through program offerings our customers love. However, these revenue streams may take time to ramp up. Until that time, we need to secure philanthropic funding with donors and foundations. We may even launch a crowdfunding campaign! To support these fundraising campaigns, we are creating a video featuring the Fellows story of impact on campuses across the nation. This video will collect all of the amazing stories, voices and faces to show the power of our movement as we build this new future for the program. Want to submit a 15 second video of your impact? Email Stacey: stacey@universityinnovation.org. 

In the meantime, your work to create lasting institutional change is making a difference. This spring, we will publish articles, papers and books documenting Fellows’ impact, along with hard evidence from evaluators and researchers. We hope this will help expand the movement to new heights. We are grateful for all your hard work. Together we are ensuring a brighter future for young people in our nation.

For continued information and updates, follow the University Innovation Fellows program on social media:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/universityinnovationfellows/
Twitter: @uifellows, #uifellows
Instagram: @uifellows, #uifellows

To learn more about the future of Epicenter’s other initiatives, please read the letter from the PI’s to the Epicenter community.

We are excited about what the future holds!

Sincerely,

The University Innovation Fellows Team
Humera, Leticia, Katie, Laurie and Stacey

UIF-logo-black

 

 

2015 Year in Review: What Innovation & Entrepreneurship Education Looks Like

“Since our Nation’s founding, our progress has been fueled by an inherent sense of purpose and ingenuity in our people.  Americans have more opportunities now than ever before to carry forward this legacy — to create something, to raise capital in creative ways, and to pursue aspirations.” – President Obama, Presidential Proclamation of National Entrepreneurship Month (November 2015)

2015 was a year of opportunity for University Innovation Fellows to be co-designers of and contribute value in higher education. Today, innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) education can take a wide range of forms at our colleges and universities in the U.S. In addition to starting ventures, I&E education can also expose students to the mindsets and skillsets that make innovators and entrepreneurs successful, whether they start their own companies or join industry, government or the nonprofit sector. Faculty and students are seeing the benefit of exposure to an entrepreneurial mindset in all majors and career paths, and there isn’t one perfect model or collection of activities that can be used to teach students.

Across the country, students are taking the lead to understand their school’s needs and develop opportunities for their peers to learn an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset. The University Innovation Fellows are leading this charge. This national student program — run by the NSF-funded National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), which is directed by Stanford University and VentureWell — empowers students to be change agents in higher education. Fellows collaborate with one another and with faculty and administrators at their schools to develop activities that teach entrepreneurship, innovation, design thinking and creativity including courses, spaces, workshops, events and organizations.

Below are just a few ways that Fellows are creating new opportunities for their peers to pursue their aspirations:

Startup weekendsUniversity of New Haven

  • In November 2015, a Fellow at the University of New Haven hosted 3-Day Startup, a 72-hour learning-by-doing campus workshop. This program is used by colleges across the globe to teach entrepreneurial skills to university students in an extreme, hands-on and experiential environment.
    https://www.facebook.com/Newhaven3DS/
  • William Jewell College, Rockhurst University and the University of Missouri – Kansas City William Jewell Collegecollaborated to host #OneDayKC in April 2015. This event gave six teams of undergraduate and graduate students 12 hours to create and pitch a lean startup company that leverages Kansas City’s infrastructure and the Internet of Things to solve community challenges.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9tU0YMbOt8

 

Hackathons

  • University of the Virgin IslandsFellows at the University of the Virgin Islands hosted a hackathon in November with 28 students from different majors who collaborated on ideas to impact the local community. The winning team designed the community service app “Win-Win.” This app’s goal is to raise awareness and participation in community service across the territory. App users will earn points for performing community service that could then be redeemed at local merchants for discounts and other specials.
    https://www.facebook.com/uvidea/

 

University of Puerto Rico MayaguezK-12 engagement

 

Virginia Commonwealth UniversityCo-working spaces

  • A Fellow and several students from Virginia Commonwealth University created Indie Lab, a co-working community laboratory designed to provide access to equipment in a creative space in order to accomplish scientific projects. The space provides a membership program to supply aspiring scientists, artists and entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to perform safe and reliable experiments outside of higher education labs.
    http://rva.indielab.co/
  • This Fall, Fellows at Kent State University created and launched The Fridge, an open co-working space in the library for students from all majors to work on collaborative projects. Fellows hosted a University Innovation Fellows Regional Meetup in the space in mid-November, where participants used the design thinking methodology to explore ideas around advising and mentorship.
    http://www.fridge.space

 

Michigan TechFreshmen orientation


Pop-up classes

  • At James Madison University, the JMU X-Labs offer free, non-credit workshops to help faculty, students and community members learn new skills. Faculty and students also use JMU X-Labs as maker spaces and facilities to teach courses, with a future goal of offering 24-hour access to the campus community. In November, Fellows and faculty also hosted a University Innovation Fellows Regional Meetup in the X-Labs space, where attendees participated in design challenges and explored projects Fellows are implementing across the country.
    http://jmuxlabs.org/

  • Utah Valley UniversityA Fellow at Utah Valley University created a mobile cart with prototyping materials that can travel to multiple classrooms to teach design thinking. This pop-up model allows faculty to help students to engage with the methodology without having to create new curriculum, with the future goal of creating a dedicated makerspace on campus for this type of engagement.

 

Incubators

  • Southern Illinois University CarbondaleAt Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Fellows enhance the entrepreneurial playing field for the region’s student entrepreneurs and innovators through Saluki Ventures. This incubator runs the Saluki Innovation Series, which offers a pitch competition, hackathon, marketing workshop and other events.
    http://researchpark.siu.edu/saluki-ventures/index.html

 

Student organizations

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-16 at 1.21.14 PMNorth Dakota State University’s Fellows created the Hammock Initiative to encourage students to discuss ideas in a relaxed setting. As part of the #uifresh initiative, in August, they hosted the activity “I3: Ignite Innovative Ideas,” where students relaxed on hammocks and discussed innovative and entrepreneurial activities on campus and in the community.
    http://vimeo.com/130341536
  • Fellows at La Salle University created a 3D printing club to pique interest in entrepreneurship among students and establish a culture of making. The space features a white board where students can share new ideas and connect with others. In the future, the Fellows plan to collaborate with faculty on robotics and design thinking activities in the space.

 

Program Updates for 2015

  • Welcomed 274 of Fellows: 123 in Spring 2015 and 151 in Fall 2015.
  • Held largest (to-date) Annual Meetup, which took place at Google and Stanford’s d.school in February 2015 with 157 Fellows and 12 faculty sponsors. Participants learned design thinking and lean startup strategies and worked on collaborative projects.
  • Created two national initiatives:
    • #uifresh: launched in March with 10 campuses, #uifresh introduces incoming STEM students to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. The number of campuses doubled to 20 in August by partnering with Epicenter’s Pathways to Innovation program.
    • Higher education commitment in honor of the first-ever White House Demo Day: 30 institutions committed to actions that will expand innovation and entrepreneurship education offerings in order to enhance the economic potential of colleges and universities and better prepare students to create products that benefit humankind.
  • Attended multiple conferences to share the impact of Fellows, including the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for the first time. Members of Epicenter’s Research Team received two paper awards at the ASEE Annual Conference in Seattle, Wa.
  • Co-hosted two regional meetups at Kent State University (read one student’s perspective here) and James Madison University.

This is a high-level synopsis of 2015 and we’re excitedly looking toward the future and what 2016 will bring. Happy New Year!

 

 

Imagine, Create & Ignite: Building a Path to a Meaningful Future

STVP Future Fest 2015, Elon Musk

STVP Future Fest 2015, Elon Musk. Photo by Matt Beardsley.

by Francis Atore

As I sat in the Bing Concert Hall at Stanford University, I was in awe of the environment. The architecture of the hall plus the opportunity of being in the presence of influential people in attendance such as Bernie Roth and Heidi Roizen made me feel euphoric. As the talk began, Elon Musk, (founder of Tesla & SpaceX) and Steve Jurvetson (partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson) walked out on stage. Steve began to ask Elon a series of questions about the future of technology and even Mars! I was blown away at the moonshot thinking that the people  around me had. They spoke freely about audacious goals and progress for mankind with moxie and hope. They even discussed how artificial intelligence (AI) and genetics are projected to be the next major revolutionary fields. Talking cars, watches and phones were regarded as impossible 20 years ago and are now reality. Holograms were a fairytale, but with the emergence of developer environments such as leap motion, they are now reality (I guess fairytales come true)!  An episode of MTV cribs on Mars now seems far fetched, but how about we fast forward to 2035. Will the first episode feature a University Innovation Fellow?

The event was an incredible experience and encouragement to what I hope to achieve as a person who happens to be studying engineering. Hearing Elon Musk speak about the future and the opportunity to go after goals that are often difficult for most people to picture exemplifies the seed that was planted in me through the University Innovation Fellows program. We always need to think about how people imagined our present world in the past, then think about the present, then think about how we view the future, and then time travel to the future by making it happen. We don’t necessarily have to focus on one thing our whole lives, and don’t have to specialize in what we went to college for or what we have always done.  It’s ok to be regarded as crazy–at least we know it. The crazy ideas tend to have the best chance of changing the world, but we always need a community of realistic collaborators and friends to keep us streamlined.

Alexandra Seda (left) & Francis Atore (right) with their DIY Tesla waiting to enter STVP's Future Fest with guest Elon Musk.

Alexandra Seda (left) & Francis Atore (right) with their DIY Tesla waiting to enter STVP’s Future Fest with guest Elon Musk.

I entered the program as a creative hopeful with the outlook that I could accomplish little. However, through the program I’ve grown to outgrow the limited mentality I once had–the mindset that dreams could not come true if I did not have sufficient resources on hand. Now, after becoming a Fellow and having the opportunity to travel to California twice, gaining and sharing as much knowledge accumulated back to my campus; I know this is only the beginning.

Elon mentioned how he only focuses on solving problems that will have a significant impact on others. He is able to solve these problems with an extraordinary team of doers who have the capacity to imagine and believe. As a Fellow, I hope that I can ignite the freedom of imagination and belief in solving mankind’s challenges through empowering the students on my campus. As we analyze the world we live in and imagine the future, we need to identify the most interesting problems to solve that will develop a meaningful purpose in others. Secondly, prioritize the sequence in which we tackle problems based on the amount of resources that are readily available for each problem. Third, the notion that good people finish last is not true and does not have to be the case. We can always help others shine and succeed and still be successful.

STVP Future Fest 2015 with guest Elon Musk at Stanford University.

STVP Future Fest 2015 with guest Elon Musk at Stanford University. Photo by Matt Beardsley.

UIF’s mantra is, “We believe students can change the world!” As a Fellow, I firmly believe and stand by this . How do Fellows live out this mantra? We live it by creating/strengthening innovation spaces, entrepreneurship events, design thinking workshops, multi-school collaborations, and national partnerships in the hopes that these offerings will raise up curiously empowered problem solvers and selfless entrepreneurs all across America and the world. “We believe students can change the world.” Do you believe?

P.S. This has nothing to do with the talk, but you need to make sure that you have the RIGHT type of post its. That is, a number of 3 X 3 post it brands and not yellow (too generic), multi colored set. For more technical details consult Leticia, the POST IT guru.

Francis_Atore

Francis Atore, Texas Tech

Francis Atore, Texas Tech University

Francis is an honors college student studying
Chemical Engineering at Texas Tech. He is
engaging students in design thinking and
creativity through Do. Think. Make. events.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Seda, Ohio Northern University

Alexandra Seda, Ohio Northern University

Alexandra Seda, Ohio Northern University

Alexandra is studying Electrical Engineering
at Ohio Northern University. She is working to
redesign spaces across campus to enhance
creative thinking in students.

 

150 Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

PRESS RELEASE

(October 26, 2015) – 150 students from 52 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.

“We’ve trained over 450 students at 130 institutions in the last four years,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Faculty and administrators are funding a consistent supply of students to go through the program because they can count on Fellows to make a big impact. Fellows understand the big picture and use their resourcefulness, creativity and national network to make measurable gains on campus, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

“It’s been so inspiring to see these changes at such a large scale,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “The Fellows themselves are learning to be leaders and creative problems solvers, and they’re bringing other students along with them on this journey to make a positive difference at their schools and in their communities.”

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.

The new Fellows join the program from the following schools:

  • Bucknell University
  • California State University, Northridge
  • Clemson University
  • Dalhousie University
  • Florida Institute of Technology
  • Furman University
  • George Fox University
  • George Mason University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Grand Valley State University
  • James Madison University
  • Kent State University
  • Michigan Technological University
  • Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • Morgan State University
  • New Mexico State University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • North Dakota State University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oklahoma State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Purdue University
  • Rockhurst University
  • Skidmore College
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale
  • Temple University
  • Texas A&M University
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • University of Colorado at Colorado Springs
  • University of Connecticut
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Florida
  • University of Georgia
  • University of Louisville
  • University of Maryland, College Park
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • University of North Dakota
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Portland
  • University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez
  • University of the Virgin Islands
  • University of Virginia
  • University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington State University
  • Western Michigan University
  • Wichita State University
  • William Jewell College
  • Xavier University of Louisiana

This year, the University Innovation Fellows launched a national STEM initiative called #uifresh (University Innovation Freshmen). Participating institutions are exposing incoming first-year students to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity in order to attract and retain more students in STEM disciplines. The initiative was launched in March 2015, during the White House Science Fair, and 20 schools held activities for new students during orientation in August and September. Read more about the schools and their activities at http://bit.ly/uifresh-news.

This November, students will have the opportunity to participate in two University Innovation Fellows Regional Meetups at Kent State University and James Madison University. These events are designed by Fellows at a host school and attract Fellows from nearby states as well as other local students. The events feature local thought-leaders and showcase the school’s efforts to promote  innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at http://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.

 

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

 

What Role Can Students Play in Attracting & Retaining their STEM Peers?

#BigBeacon Twitter Chat – April 22, 2015

Join the conversation at 8 p.m. EST.
Tweeting as @epicenterusa, using the #BigBeacon.

Preparing college graduates for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) is a national education priority in the United States. According to a report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, fewer than 40 percent of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field actually complete a STEM degree. Many organizations have been working to address this issue on the national level, and higher education administrators and faculty are working on ways to attract and retain more STEM students on an institutional level.

This article was originally posted on bigbeacon.org. To read the full post, please follow this link.

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.

Change Agents Activated

Students take the lead in the evolution of higher education at the University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup. Originally posted via Epicenter

by Laurie Moore

At 8:00 pm on Saturday, February 21, the second day of the University Innovation Fellows 2015 Annual Meetup was drawing to a close. Nearly 160 Fellows from across the U.S. had just participated in a 12-hour day of activities at Stanford University, including a one-hour movement workshop, a self-guided tour of campus to discover innovation spaces, and a four-hour, five-session circuit of experiential activities.

They should have been tired.

Instead, they sang karaoke together. They danced. They played basketball outside in the warm (to the East Coasters) evening air. They made s’mores around a fire pit and told their favorite stories from the day. They took selfies and gathered in small groups to learn more about one another and their schools. When the buses came at 9:30 pm to take the students back to their hotels, they demanded one final karaoke song, and then another.

It was hard to believe that these University Innovation Fellows met for the first time as a community only 48 hours earlier.

The University Innovation Fellows program, run by Epicenter, offers training and support for students to become change agents at their schools. Through the training and ongoing support, Fellows learn to navigate their campus landscapes and create offerings that hone peers’ entrepreneurial mindsets and instill creative confidence.

Fellows on the last day of the Annual Meetup at Stanford's d.school.

Fellows on the last day of the Annual Meetup at Stanford’s d.school.

While many Fellows had met online during their intense 6-week video-conference-based training, the Annual Meetup allowed them to connect in person for the first time. Together, they had the opportunity to share experiences and insights from their schools, collaborate on new strategies for change in education, understand their role in this national movement, and learn from leaders in higher education and industry.

The Fellows at the 2015 Meetup were from two cohorts trained in Fall 2014 and Spring 2015. Also in attendance were 12 of the Fellows’ faculty sponsors, who who were invited to attend and participate alongside students as partners in achieving institutional change.

The Meetup was organized by the University Innovation Fellows program staff at Epicenter: Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, Humera Fasihuddin, Katie Dzugan and Laurie Moore. Eight Fellows assisted with the design and facilitation of the event and hosted several sessions: Atin Mittra, Meenu Singh and Valerie Sherry from the University of Maryland, College Park; Greg Wilson from the University of Georgia; Ryan Phillips from the University of Oklahoma; Bre Przestrzelski from Clemson University; Ben Riddle from Furman University; and new Fellow Bradley Dice from William Jewell College.

AletaSession2015

Rhythm of a Movement

 

 

 

 

 

The event spanned three days. The first day at Google was hosted by Frederik Pferdt, head of Innovation and Creativity Programs at Google. Activities included an inside look into Google X with Amanda Kelly, a design challenge in teams, a panel discussion with representatives from People Development at Google, a spaces tour, and a talk on Google for Entrepreneurs with Daniel Navarro.

The second and third days of the Meetup took place at Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). Sessions on Saturday included a leadership through movement session with Stanford Dance and Performance Arts instructor Aleta Hayes, an exploration of Stanford innovation spaces, a talk with Olga Dotter from Citrix on the intersection of lean startup and design thinking, a circuit of five experiential activities, and a workshop to help students create and facilitate similar activities at their schools.

Sunday activities included a panel with educators and students on new models of education, examples of campus initiatives from current Fellows, and a workshop on how students can accelerate change in higher education. Several special guests stopped by the meetup, including Stanford alumnus and violinist Kai Kight and author and entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki.

Surprise guest: Kai Kight

Surprise guest: Kai Kight

At the end of the event, Fellows shared their insights from the event in the form of sticky note “bumper stickers” which they placed on a life-size, hand-painted University Innovation Fellows Volkswagen van. Examples included “Never give up,” “Think, Do, Fail, Learn,” “Innovation or Bust,” and “Be the change.”

After the three-day event ended, Fellows returned to their campuses. Their charge: to be the change they want to see in higher education.

Fellows Bus after creating bumper stickers.

Fellows Bus after creating bumper stickers.

More 2015 Annual Meetup materials and articles:

Talking With America’s Future: Removing Barriers, by Shawn Drury http://bluenationreview.com/talking-americas-future-removing-barriers/

Event photo gallery: https://www.flickr.com/photos/epicenterusa/sets/72157650907065066/

Meet the changemakers: map of student attendees at the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup 2015: http://prezi.com/ahoz-sfvstdd/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy&rc=ex0share

 

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.

 

A Trip to Georgia Tech

Amin Mojtahedi,  UW Milwaukee

Amin Mojtahedi, UW Milwaukee

 


This article was written by Amin Mojtahedi, a University Innovation Fellow Candidate at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. Amin is a Ph.D. candidate in the School of Architecture and was visiting the Georgia Tech campus for one week at the end of January. See his full bio here
.

 

 

As part of an architectural study for Georgia Tech (GT), I had the chance to spend the entire last week on the GT campus exploring places related to the landscape of innovation and entrepreneurship

Georgia Tech Invention Studio

Georgia Tech Invention Studio

(I&E). One of my most memorable visits was to the Invention Studio at the Manufacturing Related Disciplines Complex where Alexis, a PhD candidate in Electrical Engineering, gave me a comprehensive tour of the facility. The Invention Studio was a student-run maker space where the opportunity for students to design, prototype and share was provided through workshops, experienced student “masters” in about 13 areas, and access to a wide range of materials and impressive cutting edge machinery including computer controlled machines (e.g., 3D printers, 3D scanners, laser engraving and cutting machines, waterjet, etc.), powered manual machines (e.g., bandsaw, injection molding, drill press, etc.) electronics equipment, and hand tools. In the fifth year of its operation, the Invention Studio has about 170 members and is opening branches in other schools on campus. Despite the rapid growth, members still bond over video games and move nights in the comfy lounge equipped with a large screen right across the Studio.

Amin_PicCollage1

IDClogo

Innovation & Design Collaborative, Georgia Tech

Perhaps the most exciting part of the trip was meeting the GT three UIFs: Megna, a 5th year Biomedical Engineer; Alex, a 3rd year Mechanical Engineer; and Rachel, a 5th year Biomedical Engineer. We all first met at the Starbucks in the architecturally impressive Clough Learning Commons. Later, Megna and Alex kindly gave me a complete tour of the Innovation & Design Collaborative in the GT library. IDC, or Design Block as Megna liked to call it, was an intelligently designed 4,000 sqf space with a variety of furniture from playful foam cubes to customized tall studio-like desks for group work. A Unistrut ceiling and racks provide drop-down access to electrical utility for users to be able to plug in while being in their desired spot and white boards were everywhere. With Wayne Li’s help, the space and program were designed after Stanford’s d.school. I concluded the tour by participating in Wayne’s class on Contextual Awareness – as one of the five tenets the 21st century creative thinker can use to disrupt markets and drive innovation. IDC’s space is open to GT students 24/7 and is currently holding workshops while providing resources for learning Design Behavior.

Amin_PicCollage2

 

 

 

 

Sponsors Crash Fellows Meetup: A Faculty Glimpse into the Student Movement

The following post is a reflection of two faculty sponsors: Landon Young of William Jewell College (Missouri) and John Santa Lucia of Wayne State University (Michigan). Both faculty sponsors had the pleasure of joining Fellows at two separate meetups; the first was the Southeastern Regional Meetup in Greenville, South Carolina, from October 3 – 4, 2014 and the second was the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup in College Park, Maryland, and Washington D.C. from November 1 – 2, 2014. Each meetup had a unique theme dedicated to the strengths of the universities being represented and the resources within local community relationships. 

Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia (right), Fellows Faculty Sponsor;  Professor at Wayne State University and Owner, DNA Software, Inc.; Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia (right), Fellows Faculty Sponsor; Professor at Wayne State University and Owner, DNA Software, Inc.; Southeastern Regional Meetup

It takes a special person to be an entrepreneur. It takes courage, vision, innovation, optimism, energy, perseverance, team building, leadership, and technical skill. Few people have the winning combination of skills needed for success. However, three students from Wayne State University — Nikolas Upton, Siwatu Sanders, and Pradeep Bhat — have these skills in spades. All three of them successfully completed the training for the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program. Nationwide, only 168 students have completed the program to date.

As a faculty sponsor, it is a privilege to mentor Nik, Siwatu and Pradeep. I have been working with them to refine their business ideas and their ideas for spreading entrepreneurship at Wayne State through business short courses and the creation of a “maker space” for 3D printing, prototyping and fabrication. The capstone event for the UIF training was a regional meeting October 3-4 in Greenville, SC. This was attended by 68 students from throughout the U.S. and our hosts from Clemson and Furman University were wonderful. I was thrilled to be able to participate in this event.

John Santa Lucia, Southeastern Regional Meetup

John Santa Lucia during dancing (!!!) activity; Faculty Sponsor, Wayne State University

We started out at 9:00 PM with an overnight road trip from Detroit to South Carolina. The road trip itself was a great opportunity to have extended conversations with the students. Their energy and optimism is infectious. At the UIF meeting we were treated to some wonderful talks from local entrepreneurs and various instructional games from the Design Thinking Group. The students participated in several workshops that involved brainstorming business ideas in small groups, making elevator pitches, writing business plans, dancing (!!!), and performing real marketing research by performing polls of people on Main Street. As a faculty sponsor, I had great fun mostly observing the incredible creativity of the students. It was also fun to jump in and offer some guidance and to ask some probative questions.

I love the social idealism of this generation. Most of their business ideas involve socially conscious issues such as care of the elderly, how to deal with student loan debt, green technologies for energy and waste disposal, engineering prosthetic devices for handicapped people, and engineering clean water for poor countries. One of the unique aspects of the regional meeting was that the structure of the meeting was engaging, instructional and FUN! Quite different than the usual classroom didactic. I think that more faculty sponsors should be encouraged to go to these meetings so that they can import some of the entrepreneurial ideas into their curricula. Entrepreneurs like Nik, Siwatu, and Pradeep give me optimism for the future of our country.

John SantaLucia
Professor and UIF faculty sponsor, Wayne State University

Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup

I am thrilled that I chose to attend the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) Mid-Atlantic Meetup at the University of Maryland with my students! It was a provocative weekend that helped me to better understand the goals and activities of Epicenter and the UIF program. I was able to experience the activities with students first-hand, and this shared experience reinforced the bond with students and gave us a shared vocabulary, vision and purpose.

The hands-on activities gave the students experience in materializing their ideas into tangible products and designs, and we all had a blast laughing at ourselves as we fashioned virtual reality wearables out of fuzzy pipe cleaners!

Landon Young (left), Faculty Sponsor, William Jewell College

Landon Young (left) during the creativity circuit; Faculty Sponsor, William Jewell College

The meetup took several serious turns as well. As a group, we discussed national trends and specific ideas for William Jewell College, including an outline that we developed for changes in the student curriculum. The most meaningful take-away for the students was being guided into a mindset of empathy, which gave them insight into other points of view, including the perspective of a customer, a friend, and an administrator on campus.

As a faculty member and advisor, I was able to meet the staff and organizers from Epicenter. Over the course of the two-day gathering, I saw the passion and knowledge that they brought to the table and learned the specific methodologies that they use. This group of driven and focused individuals guided the students with care and gave specific as-needed instruction to each Fellow. The group accomplished so much together, and I left inspired by the relationships forged and the innovative dialogue we shared. I cannot wait for the next meetup when I can join students and advisors in shaping the next phase of the UIF program.

Landon Young
Professor and UIF faculty sponsor, William Jewell College

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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Purpose, Passion and the Quest for ‘Why?’: Today’s College Students Yearn to Make Sense of STEM

The Massachusetts STEM Summit, held October 22, 2014, had roughly 1,300 attendees at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts. Attendees traveled from across the state to discuss engaging k-12 students in science, technology, math, engineering and independent research. The University Innovation Fellows were invited to present in the afternoon. The following excerpt appeared in the MA STEM Summit program booklet. 

“Weed-em-out’ courses, dry lectures, rigorous math and an array of prerequisites stamp the love of learning out of young college students. Some universities are getting it right, but overall not so much. Fewer than 40% of students who enter college intending to major in a STEM field complete a STEM degree, according to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). Our nation needs us to produce one million more STEM college graduates than predicted. So, how do we, as K-12 educators, who care about the future of our most promising students, ensure a successful handoff to our collegiate counterparts? A new program called the University Innovation Fellows empowers college students to develop a culture of creativity and innovation. These students are developing strategies and learning opportunities that engage peers in project-based learning and human-centered design. The model of empowering students to develop their voice to serve as partners to faculty in bringing about institutional change has been a fruitful one, yielding innovation spaces, new courses and has even attracted alumni investment in new programs. University Innovation Fellows believe connecting high school graduates to a creative community of makers and innovators is the answer. Connecting freshman to learning opportunities that inspire students based on relevant and real-world problems as soon as they arrive at college is a means to keeping students engaged in STEM. As 168 Fellows at 85 schools work to expand and attract peers to innovation and entrepreneurship programs, the opportunity exists to create a bridge for high school students to a cool creative culture of like-minded students who can introduce and engage them in the innovation ecosystem. Recognized by the President’s Office of Science and Technology Policy, the University Innovation Fellows is a program of the Epicenter and is funded by the National Science Foundation. In this session, participants will be introduced to the work of two Fellows who also volunteer their time in local K-12 schools to inspire young STEM enthusiasts. Learn what triggered their interests in STEM and hear their recommendations for high schools to guide students towards successful STEM careers.

The session was moderated by the Fellows Senior Program Officer, Humera Fasihuddin. The two Fellows panelists were Ellery Addington-White and Kevin Desjardins (below).

Ellery Addington-White

Ellery Addington-White

Ellery is currently a senior at Beloit College in Wisconsin working to complete a Computer Science degree. He is actively involved in CELEB, the Center for Entrepreneurship in Liberal Education at Beloit. Find out more about his student priorities here.

Ellery became very interested in digital art in high school, which led him to teach the class to other students his junior year. He now volunteers his time to work with the Beloit Boys & Girls Club and other K-12 youth to make innovation, entrepreneurship, coding and computer science more accessible.

 

 

Kevin Desjardins, University of Massaschusetts, Lowell

Kevin Desjardins

Kevin is a senior at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He is completing his degree in Civil Engineering and his taking his capstone project to the next level by creating an immersive, hands-on, project-based learning experience in Haiti. Find out more about his student priorities here.

Kevin has always had an interest in engineering. He works closely with Future Cities and other local organizations to bring underserved youth STEM education learning opportunities.

 

 

 

 

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

How You Can Join a Student-Driven Movement

Do you feel that there is a gap in the student learning experience as compared to the skills graduates need to compete in today’s economy? Do you feel that your campus would benefit from student-driven demand regarding experiential learning opportunities around innovation and entrepreneurship? If you answered yes to both of these questions — you have encountered 110 like-minded students representing 74 U.S. higher education institutions.

Students are joining a national movement* of undergraduate engineers who are changing the face of higher education — Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows (Fellows). Last year alone, students created over 20 maker spaces, founded student clubs and organizations, hosted events and workshops and even worked with faculty to design courses.

Epicenter’s Fellows program is a 6-week intensive and experiential online training program that introduces candidates to design thinking, lean methodologies and student-led change strategies. This knowledge leads students to build the necessary skills to implement lasting institutional change on their campus. Throughout training, candidates are exposed to a network of Fellows across the U.S. that enables them to share ideas, stories and key learnings around an array of resources and topics that bring innovation and entrepreneurship to campus.

Applications for the Fellows program are now live! The deadline is Friday, October 31, 2014. If you are a student, find more information about the program here and information about the application process here. If you are a faculty member looking to sponsor a student on your campus, find more information about the role of a faculty sponsor here and more information about Epicenter’s mission here.

To read the full press release about the October 31 application deadline, and to find more information about Epicenter, click here.

*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). Our mission is to change undergraduate engineering education, but Epicenter’s University Innovation Fellows considers all majors.

Summer 2014 Updates

Dear Fellows,

We can hardly believe that school is back in session – and we’re almost half way through training! We hope all of you enjoyed your summer endeavors and are settling back into campus life and managing your course loads this fall. As we catch up with you individually, we’d like to recap what we have been up to this summer:

National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges for Engineering
April 30 – June 1, 2014

UIFs & Dan Mote, National Academy of Engineering

UIFs & Dan Mote, National Academy of Engineering

Our first event of the summer was hosted at the National Academy of Engineering in Washington D.C. During these two days, Fellows discussed the 14 Grand Challenges identified by the Grand Challenge Scholar’s Program (GCSP) alongside deans from institutions across the country. Karuna Relwani (UPitt) presented on the student panel with students from Engineers Without Borders (EWB), Engineering Projects In Community Service (EPICS) and the GCSP. Each student discussed their experience with these programs at their institution and also their key learnings from being exposed to experiential engineering. Megna Saha (Georgia Tech), Mary Wilcox (ASU Tempe), Yifan Ge (Bucknell), Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park), Ben Riddle (Furman), Lauren Distler (James Madison), Natalia von Windheim (NC State) and Corey Brugh (Colorado School of Mines) joined as well to light the fire for these deans to commit to creating change on their campus. The outcome of these two days was 66 deans signatures that solidified their commitment to bringing visibility to the Grand Challenges on their campus. For more information, visit dreamdesigndeliver.org to see a video of the commitment that Fellows made and additional articles written by both Megna and Mary after this event.

Deshpande Symposium for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Higher Education
June 10 -12, 2014

UIFs & Desh Deshpande, Deshpande Symposium

UIFs & Desh Deshpande, Deshpande Symposium

Back in June, Humera and I hoped in a car and met Nate Smialek (UPitt), Mary Wilcox (ASU Tempe), Rob Soloman (UWMilwaukee), Ben Riddle (Furman), Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson) and Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park) in Lowell, Massachusetts for the Deshpande Symposium. We also conveniently saw Kevin Desjardins (UMass Lowell) and his faculty sponsor Tom O’Donnell. The Deshpande Symposium is designed around innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems, curriculum, commercialization and trending topics. Fellows facilitated a session titled: Students: Secret Agents of Change. Fellows discussed their path to serving as campus change agents and offered tips on how to foster student engagement. We had two faculty sponsors join us: Ross McClain of Furman University and Ilya Avdeev of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. To add to the discussion, the faculty spoke to their approaches in cultivating a faculty sponsor-Fellow relationship and how they were supporting their Fellows strategies for change on campus. In addition, we got to visit UMass Lowell’s M2D2, a Medical Device Development Center; the New England Robotics Validation and Experimentation (NERVE) Center; and Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC).

EurekaFest 2014
June 20 – 21, 2014

Katie Dzugan, UIF Program Associate (left) & Fellow Hristina Milojevic, Union College at EurekaFest 2014.

Katie Dzugan, UIF Program Associate (left) & Fellow Hristina Milojevic, Union College at EurekaFest 2014.

EurekaFest is an MIT and Lemelson Foundation sponsored event hosted at MIT in June. InvenTeams are high school student teams invited to showcase their work from the year throughout the day in various formats — presentations and a demonstration. Student Inventions included a robotic snowblower to a pedal desk that created energy to light up a classroom to a reinvented irrigation and water system. In the evening, were the collegiate prizes which showcased the winners of two categories, “Cure it!” and “Use it!” The Lemelson-MIT student prize winners presented their technology-based inventions that were designed to improve healthcare and consumer devices and tools. The winners ranged from an easily accessible classroom 3D printer to a device that helped people monitor glucose levels. We were joined by Hristina Milojevic (Union), Natalia von Windheim (NC State) and Malik Oliver (Fayetteville) and also received a tour of the amazing MIT Media Lab. The MIT Media Lab is THE. ULTIMATE. MAKER SPACE.  Any undergraduate student that wants to support the work of the many research teams within the media lab can do so with ease. Imagine this at every campus.

 

Epicenter Research Summit
August 4 – 5, 2014

Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Fast forwarding to August, several students joined us at the Epicenter Research Summit held at Stanford’s d.school. Fellows in attendance were Hristina Milojevic (Union), Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson), Gurlovleen Rathore (Texas A&M), Ben Riddle (Furman), Elliot Roth (Virginia Commonwealth), Valerie Sherry (UMD College Park) and Gregory Wilson (University of Georgia). Along with program leaders, Fellows co-facilitated a session titled, Cooking Up New Research Ideas: With Students, About Students. We were extremely impressed with how each Fellow stepped up and truly helped plan and lead this session for an audience of roughly 70 researchers.

 

Researchers saw first hand that students were much more than research subjects and recipients of education. They could be active partners and co-designers of their educational experience. After a high-level program summary, researchers joined four

Valerie Sherry (UMD) during UIIF breakout groups; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Valerie Sherry (UMD) during UIIF breakout groups; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

breakout groups, each led by a pair of University Innovation Fellows. They explored two research threads of interest to students:

  1. The what, who and why of successful I&E spaces for students: maker spaces, incubators, accelerators; and
  2. Personal and contextual factors that support the success of UIFs as change agents.

As a result of their participation, Fellows have reportedly joined together to undertake research projects with one another and with Researchers.  For more information on the Summit, click here.

 

 


Training, Fall 2014
August 25 – October 4, 2014

Fall 2014 Training Orientation; August 25

Fall 2014 Training Orientation; August 25

We have launched our Fall training! Much of our summer was consumed by application intake, interviews and planning training for the fall cohort. During the afternoon of Monday, August 25, over the course of 3 hours, we held a successful orientation session via Blue Jeans with over 80 participants, including new candidates, faculty sponsors and Epicenter staff!  In those 3 hours, we had an overview of the University Innovation Fellows mission, a faculty-only orientation discussing cultivating a strong candidate-faculty sponsor relationship and two breakout sessions for students before we convened to a close. So far, candidates have covered design thinking and have interviewed current Fellows to create 30 new how-to guides on the Wiki. This week they are surveying the ecosystem and delivering the first draft of their landscape canvases! Training will also cover spaces of innovation, the lean approach, students’ strategic priorities and finish with their strategies to give voice to student priorities for Innovation & Entrepreneurship.

Student IP Mission

Caleb Carr (UC Denver) has done an amazing job of getting Fellows involved to push the national agenda of student intellectual property issues. As a team, these Fellows are creating a full campaign, including a website, a petition, a Facebook and indiegogo page — even drafting bill language for the Higher Education Reauthorization Act that went up for revision this August. The following is a request for additional help from Caleb Carr (caleb.carr@ucdenver.edu):

I wanted to thank each and every one of you for your work and support these last couple weeks while pushing this very important initiative. We really are starting to lift a new leaf on the topic surrounding undergraduate/master’s research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. I am emailing you all to request some help. We need help in the following areas:

  • ​​Logo Development
  • Marketing
  • Social Media Management
  • Lobbying
  • Podcast development

If any of you have specific strengths that would help us in these specific areas and would be willing to put some time in it would be greatly appreciated. As always, if you have any questions or concerns please dont hesitate to contact me via email or phone. <End Message>

**Please note that this initiative is not directly supported by Epicenter or it’s affiliated partners: the National Science Foundation, Stanford University and the NCIIA.**

Meeting with NAB board members — Key Takeaways

Susan Brennan; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Susan Brennan; Epicenter Research Summit 2014

Humera, Leticia and I met with three of the Fellows National Advisory Board Members — President Rick Miller of Olin College, Susan Brennan of Bloom Energy and Steve Blank of Lean Launchpad and Stanford. Our initial meeting included three Fellows: Bre Przestrzelski (Clemson), Ben Riddle (Furman) and Jaime Arribas (Morgan State). Way to represent! They discussed the projects they are implementing on their campus and what being a Fellow means to them. We met with Susan Brennan in California, just after the Epicenter Research Summit to discuss future strategies for the Fellows program.

 

(left to right) Katie Dzugan, Humera Fasihuddin & Leticia Britos Cavagnaro; Olin College 2014

(left to right) Katie Dzugan, Humera Fasihuddin & Leticia Britos Cavagnaro; Olin College 2014

Later in August, we had a wonderful visit from Leticia — she came to Massachusetts this time! During her stay we visited President Rick Miller at Olin College, had a wonderful tour from an undergraduate engineering student and also had lunch to meet a few key faculty members.

In other news: please keep up with the google group, where we frequently post travel opportunities for Fellows to travel around the nation with us and represent the national movement. We also hope you are available to join us for one of the two Regional Meetups this fall — Southeast: Greenville, SC (October 3&4) and Northeast: UMD College Park (early November).