White House Hosts STUDENT STARTUPS Hangout with #UIFellows Own Jared Karp & Shark Tank Hosts

November 23, 2013 – The video recording of the Student Startup Google Hangout is now available. Due to technical difficulties, they are in two parts. Watch the first video until just after 7:30, then switch to the second one to view the remainder of the session:



Here’s our favorite excerpt…


Q: Doug Rand, The White House: What kinds of projects do Jared’s friends get to work on in the innovation space and how can other universities get such an innovation space?

A: Jared Karp, University Innovation Fellows @  UC Berkeley: there are a ton of projects people work on. It is a free space for students to bring their own ideas and projects to the table, to recruit help from other talented individuals. For example sometimes students work on industry-sponsored projects or they design for a cause. One of my friends recently designed a water pump for farmers in India to replace high-cost diesel-powered water pumps, using capillary physics to generate water from a well and bring it up to the source. Other students work on fun projects such as video games like Campus Cart, which is a live mapping of your college campus and you use an RC car to drive around the levels that are made by your own environment. I actually made this (holding up device) … this is a mini MPC, which is a music production tool which fits onto the back of most cellular phones and you can export the files to your favorite music production software and make beats on the go. For those who are interested in connecting with BetaVersity (company that installs maker spaces at college campuses) or bring an innovation space on campus you can check out the website http://www.betaversity.com or as a student there are many ways to bring an innovation space to your campus without necessarily having to go through an external party (see wiki page: http://universityinnovationfellows.org/wiki/How_to_build_and_outfit_an_on-campus_innovation_space).


November 22, 2013 – Today the White House hosted a #wethegeeks Google Hangout with our very own Jared Karp and Engineering Undergraduate student at University of California Berkeley. According to the White House blog, the live streamed online conversation will celebrate “the extraordinary stories of young entrepreneurs—students who, along with all the usual demands of pursuing a high school, college, or a graduate degree, are building companies today that are spreading homegrown ideas all over the world.”

Join us at 2pm ET here.

The blog goes on to say, “Two proven entrepreneurs featured on the popular TV show Shark Tank will join these student innovators to share lessons from their own entrepreneurial journeys”. Barbara Cochoran and Daymond John, two of the six sharks on the show, will be joined by Jared, three other college students and members of NIFTY, a program that inspires young people in low-income communities to stay in school, recognize business opportunities and plan for successful futures.

More about Barbara Cochoran and Daymond John…



Tweet questions using the hashtag #WeTheGeeks. See you at 2pm ET.

~ Humera Fasihuddin, Senior Program Officer, University Innovation Fellows



Berkeley Students Help Land $20MM From Jacobs Foundation for Design Institute

Jared Karp and Adam Eastman describe the sequence of events over one academic year which helped catalyze a student-led movement in the innovation culture on campus. New! Timeline for sequence of events posted below.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZziMZC5RD4Y&w=560&h=315]

We got word of the $20 million gift on Monday afternoon and 78 hours later, we were able to extract Jared and Adam from their highspeed pace of change-making for a half-hour conversation. It felt like a clandestine secret agent meeting at the ungodly hour of 10:30pm EDT, but that’s what they were able to fit into their crazy schedule of summer internships, design teams, SPARK trucks (a traveling Maker truck sponsored by Motorola) and more.

Their efforts this past year drew hundreds of students from across disciplines to form design teams focused on creating solutions to industry-identified problems. The design community that took over as a result ultimately provided the momentum faculty and administration needed to land substantial investment from the Jacobs Foundation. Paul Jacobs, the CEO & Chairman of Qualcomm, serves on the Advisory Board of the Engineering School at Berkeley. This 30-minute video is a must watch if you want your campus to have more entrepreneurship and innovation activity, and for students to adopt a more entrepreneurial mindset.

Watch the video and post comments below for Jared and Adam’s direct feedback. Oh, and check back soon… we’re working on creating a timeline that helps document the key milestones their team undertook that brings us to present day in just under a year. If you would like to seed student change agents on your campus, consider enrolling a Student Ambassador for our Fall training. Epicenter is also introducing a Faculty Pathways program that works with teams of faculty and administration on a campus to acheive similar outcomes. For more information, visit us this week in Booth #417 at the American Society of Engineering Education, or email us today.

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

Timeline: 2012 – 2013 Sequence of Events Leading to Design Institute at UC Berkeley

  • September 2012: Jared and Adam attend event and tour at IDEO
  • September 2012: Interdisciplinary group of seven students come together, read The Art of Design brief created by Adam, inspired by vision & recruited as core team. Design Engineering Collaborative (DEC) is born.
  • October 2012: DEC Team attend Design Thinking workshop at Stanford’s D.Lab
  • October 2012: Jared participates in Student Ambassadors Program training
  • October 2012: Student Leaders approve DEC request to take over unused storage room in Engineering Building
  • November 2012: DEC’s first Design Challenge: Transform room into innovation space with budget of $600. Named Student Hub of Engineering Design (SHED)
  • November 2012: SHED open for use by all student organizations on campus, all scheduling managed by Adam
  • December 2012: DEC hosts Dennis Boyle, Founder of IDEO, to lead ~100 students through workshop that catalyzes engineering design teams working on real projects
  • January 2013: Adam invited to be only student representative on faculty team called PROTO committee (quoted charter from department chair is shown below)
  • March 2013: Adam works closely with Department Chair Professor David Dornfeld to establish main points to discuss about design innovation in department meeting ; Adam creates PowerPoint that overviews what DEC has done & what needs to be taken into account when creating more active learning classrooms
  • March 2013: Student Ambassadors Program invites Jared to speak at Smithsonian in Washington D.C. at the OPEN Conference, video and blog post creates more buzz on campus
  • April 2013: DEC organizational leadership forms enabling Jared and Adam to focus on attracting funding and industry engagement
  • April 2013: NCIIA invites Jared to participate at EPA People, Planet, Prosperity Symposium on Washington Mall
  • May 2013: Project teams present to Engineering Advisory Board, team of prominent alumni, including Qualcomm board chair and CEO Paul Jacobs
  • June 2013: Jacobs Foundation Awards $20 Million to UC Berkeley for Design Innovation Institute
Jared Karp

Jared Karp

Adam Eastman

Adam Eastman

Four Student Ambassadors Launch Innovation Space Venture, BetaVersity

Congratulations to Student Ambassadors Sean Maroni (NCSU), Lucas Arzola (UC Davis), Blake Marggraff (Washington University St. Louis), and Jared Karp (UC Berkeley) who launched BetaVersity this past April. BetaVersity designs and installs prototyping labs and ‘design kitchens’ for students to not only cook up new ideas, but also to make them a reality.

For a fee, campuses can be up and running with a space and brand that draws students from all disciplines to design and bring their idea to life. For their investment, campuses receive training and support for student leaders and campus officials who are increasingly recognizing the importance of supporting a ‘maker culture’ to support the anticipated demand in manufacturing jobs (summarized well in this Forbes piece: The End of Chinese Manufacturing and Rebirth of U.S. Industry).

Within a month, the team landed their first customer UC Davis and now lists UC Berkeley and North Carolina State University as BetaVersity sites. These happen to represent three of the four locations where the founders go to school, so my guess is that Washington University at St. Louis will take advantage of their ‘in’ before BetaVersity has a backlog.

Tim Huntley’s piece BetaVersity – Taking Innovation to School, in An Entrepreneurial Life, credits the team’s visit to Stanford E-Week. There, the founding team met for the first time learning about the value of innovation spaces like Stanford’s D.Lab or ‘The Garage’ on Google’s campus. Imagine the power of connected innovation spaces on each of the nation’s 350 undergraduate engineering schools. Now THAT would make for an economically competitive future. To learn more, visit their website at www.betaversity.com.

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

Biomimicry, Berkeley and Whole Foods

What does the study of Biomimicry, Berkeley University and Whole Foods have in common? Boys growing mushrooms, that’s what.

But first, let me tell you why this is on my radar screen. I was recently invited to review Stage 2 applications for The Biomimicry Design Challenge biomimicry(visit the link to see the submissions that made it past Stage 1), a competition spearheaded by The Biomimicry 3.8 Institute. Aimed at college and university students, the design challenge provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively in teams to apply biomimicry concepts and tools to arrive at a sustainable and innovative design solution.

I manage two competitions for NCIIA, coached hundreds of founders, reviewed SBIR Phase II grants for the NSF … BUT, what do I really know about biomimicry? Time to brush up!

On the WebEx orientation for judges (something you don’t see many reviewing organization do) a passing comment alluded to ‘the mushroom boys from Berkeley’. That’s how I discovered Nikhil Arora and Alejandro Velez of University of California Berkeley who are using the fundamental principles of biomimicry to haul off thousands of pounds of waste from barista coffee grounds to grow gourmet mushrooms, mushroom kits and premium soil amendment sold at hundreds of Whole Foods locations on the West Coast… and they’re expanding nationally.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nboaE3O8zE8&w=560&h=315]
Alex Velez & Nikhil Arora, from Back to the Roots,
describe ‘Business 3.0’ as delivering value to all partners.

These recent grads have developed a truly sustainable business, having cultivated a symbiotic relationship between the coffee shop sector, through its waste stream, and the urban local food consumer. You will not regret watching their 15-minute TEDx talk (above). If you’re like me, you’ll be smiling the entire time, taken by their charm, authenticity and … well … giddiness, about how obvious it is that time-tested fundamentals of value generation can serve as a guiding principle in building highly-sustainable businesses.

Another great way to take in a crash course in Biomimicry in under a half hour is by watching Biomimicry 3.8 founder Janine Benyus’ riveting TED talk, ’12 sustainable design ideas from nature’.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n77BfxnVlyc&w=420&h=315]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgTgP2vfSbw&w=560&h=315]

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Blank’s Article in the Harvard Business Review

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

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

When Hell Froze Over – in the Harvard Business Review.

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

UC Berkeley Ambassador Speaks at Smithsonian, Washington D.C.

Jared Karp, Student Ambassador from University of California Berkeley, spoke at the Smithsonian Museum of American History in an event entitled, “Spaces of Invention.”


The six-speaker event, held as part of the NCIIA Open Conference in Collaboration with Epicenter and was delivered Pecha Kucha-style (also known in some circles as an Ignite talk). In 15 slides that auto-advanced every 15 seconds, Jared Karp, a 3rd year Mechanical Engineering major at Berkeley, captivated the audience with his team’s quest to bring a Stanford d.School and IDEO-esque design space to the Engineering School at UC Berkeley. The result of their work, the Design Engineering Collaborative is a space now claimed by the Engineering Department as their own and is used by student clubs and faculty alike. Less lecturing and more hands-on making will create more inventive and innovative engineers, is the premise under which Jared Karp, Adam Eastman and other core team members are operating. NCIIA has seen many faculty espousing this belief in its 17 year history, but it’s the first time we’ve seen a student-led effort to make it so. Student Ambassadors joining the program will learn catalytic strategies like these to institutionalize a maker culture within their STEM Colleges and Universities. To see Jared’s 3.5 minute talk, advance to 32:40 of the following YouTube video of all six talks.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgTgP2vfSbw&w=560&h=315]

The five other speakers include faculty who describe their Design Kitchens and maker spaces from the collegiate through K-12 arenas. They include:

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

Bottling the Bay Area and Stanford Magic

Student Ambassadors travel to Bay Area, attend Stanford E-Week

[wpvideo Jczop8dN]

Nine top-performing Student Ambassadors had an immersive experience in Silicon Valley last week to bring back best practices to their campuses. Some may say, “What happens at Stanford can’t be replicated in our region!” Perhaps not in its entirety. But, we think by breaking down the constituent parts of the magic that is at Stanford and its surrounding area, Student Ambassadors learned valuable new tools that will enhance their own Entrepreneurship and Innovation (E&I) ecosystems.

Student Ambassadors reported that the trip was life-changing for them and as one student described, it was a “completely tremendous experience, exceeded literally every other leadership/entrepreneurship event I’ve ever had the chance to attend.” They learned about several key-ingredients in the secret sauce at Stanford, including the importance of optimizing SPACE for creative thinking, to “unencumber the mind from constraints”. They learned about being EMPATHETIC, which allows them to get at the root of the source of the problems for people instead of just treating symptoms of assumed problems. They were involved in 2-hour and 12-hour DESIGN CHALLENGES saying, “it was cool to work with a team of strangers to get something done.” They attended a lecture with Tom Byers that “broke down entrepreneurship” and spent some one-on-one time with Byers who inspired them to lead an E&I movement on their campuses.

Off-campus, they met examples of rising-star INTRAPRENEURS at Google and EBay/PayPal and saw first-hand how Google’s open workspaces, casual atmosphere, and amenities like free food and laundry service maintain happy/healthy/productive people who foster an their inherent culture of design thinking, creativity and innovation. Students returned to the d.lab to have a one-on-one with CEO Rick Klau of Google Ventures who imparted words of wisdom like “beware of small successes”, and kicked-off roundtables with 12 portfolio company CEOs. Student Ambassadors also attended lectures and signature classes like the Entrepreneurship Thought Leaders Series (top download from iTunes U) with the four founders of SkyBox Imaging, followed by a discussion of their backstories with the Spirit of Entrepreneurship Class, taught by Draper Fisher Jurvetson Partner Heidi Roizen.

All-in-all, the trip was amazing, exhausting and inspiring. Students Ambassadors are all digesting the experience and returning to their campuses having bottled a bit of the magic. Stay tuned for more as we develop step-by-step materials that teach Student Ambassador how to implement the implementable on their campuses. In the meantime, recruit a Student Ambassador to attend our Spring Training, which begins at the OPEN Conference on March 21st of this month (register here: Apply).

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

UPDATE 3/26/13: View additional photos at the Epicenter Facebook Album.

TEDxEuclidAve at UC Berkeley


Cal students are spreading the word about how to positively transform the world through entrepreneurship. In this trying times, it seems like all we ever hear is negative news. We are pummeled with the debt crisis, the decline of public education, the spread of HIV aids and so forth. It is enough to make you want to run for cover and give in to nihilism.

Well, I am crazy enough to believe that this moment with all its accompanying woes presents a unique opportunity for us to craft new solutions that are both economically sustainable and social redeeming. Sometimes things have to fall apart so that we can build it anew.

TEDxEuclidAve speakers are examples of people who are well aware of the problem and have crafted various solutions to ameliorate it. All of them have done this through entrepreneurship, some through non-profits and others through for profit.

Hopefully this event empowers the attendees by displaying tangible examples of what happens when science, engineering and technology meets entrepreneurship and social good. TEDxEuclidAve hopes to change the metaphor “Business is War,” to “Business is Community.” Lets go forth and invent the future.

Omoju Miller, UC Berkeley

Innovation at Berkeley

Fung Institute Berkeley Engineering

There is a lot of interesting things going on currently at Cal, as we affectionately call it. Innovation and entrepreneurship have found a resurgence on campus. There is a new one-year engineering professional master’s degree on campus, beginning this semester at the Fung Institute. This program is designed to educate a new type of engineer, one with leadership skills and the outlook of a global citizen. What makes this program interesting is its multidisciplinary cohort and the integration of a two semester long capstone project. We have been told that students will learn new approaches to creativity that go beyond traditional engineering boundaries. We stand on anticipatory tip-toe to see the kinds of projects that emerges from the inaugural cohort.

Technology Entrepreneurship Across the Nation!


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

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