150 Students Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter


(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


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