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

For Immediate Release
October 2, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Media contact:
Laurie Moore
Communications Manager, Epicenter
(650) 561-6113


Only Students Could Have This Kind of Impact

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

TEDxWakeForest Student Ambassador Christina Oelsner had tough shoes to fill. Last year’s Student Ambassador Lucy Lan rocked the campus with a sold-out first-ever TEDxWakeForest to share ‘ideas worth spreading’ and infuse innovation and entrepreneurship into the dialogue at Wake. Not only was Christina tapped on the shoulder to be a Student Ambassador with two other co-organizers, but her brother Billy was NCIIA’s first Wake Forest Student Ambassador back in ’10-’11. Well, Christina and her colleagues are killing it! Conference registration opened on January 1st for the February 25th event, but relative to this time last year the team has double the registration figures at 375.

*THIS* Is Why We Believe Students Can Change the World

Students are the customers of the educational experience Colleges and Universities are providing them. They know what other students need to hear and who they need to hear it from. That is why our Student Ambassador Program is so successful. Students can leverage their peer-to-peer marketing abilities to create a movement on campus and create a climate for innovation and entrepreneurship.

This bodes well for the event which drew nearly 1,100 participants last year… unless, of course, there is a maximum capacity for the Wait Chapel space… in which case you better hurry up and register. Check out the awesome video (above) produced by the co-organizing team of three. You can also check out the event website and Facebook page.

Sign up to have a Student Ambassador on your campus by the March 21st deadline.

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

Wake Forest University Surgeon Prints Human Kidney

An unmet need exists in the insufficiency of available organs transplants. In response, an entrepreneurial, medical mastermind is revolutionizing the face of transplant science.  Dr. Anthony Atala and his research team at the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine focus on the growth and regeneration of over 30 tissues and organs. They engineered the first lab-grown organ to be implanted into a human and are currently developing novel technology to “print” human tissue on a modified desktop inkjet printer. Watch the following TED talk and get inspired!

[ted id=1088]

Dr. Anthony Atala is the Scientific Co-Founder, Chairman, and Member of Scientific Advisory Board of Tengion (TNGN:NASDAQ GM). This venture performs R&D and subsequent commercialization of neo-organs and tissues to address unmet medical needs in urologic, renal, gastrointestinal and vascular diseases.

“Anthony Atala bakes things that will make you feel good inside, but we’re not talking cakes and muffins.” (PBS)

– Lucy Lan, Student Ambassador at Wake Forest University

Wake Forest University- Jumpstart Innovation

So where does one start?…

For those who are entrepreneurially minded, itching to create a venture but sans ideas or previous experience in start-ups, the whole entrepreneurial process may seem extremely daunting. There are several basics that every aspiring entrepreneur should learn about, including how to: generate innovative ideas, analyze and target specific markets and industries, synthesize business models, create sustainable financial models, and pitch effectively. Take a look at the following NCIIA- sponsored workshops at Wake Forest University to get an idea of entrepreneurial essentials for jumpstarting innovation

Upcoming Entrepreneurial Workshops at Wake Forest University:

The Innovation & Entrepreneurship Process: Sources of Innovation | Date: 9/7/2011 | Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Location: Innovation Station, 230 Reynolda Hall | Link: http://entrepreneurship.wfu.ed…

This workshop kicks off the NCIIA-sponsored program of workshops and speakers, culminating in the Innovation to Venture Conference to be held in the spring. More details on this workshop will be forthcoming soon.  In the meantime, follow the link above to learn more about the series.

Grant Writing Workshop 1 – Industry & Market Analysis and Targeting | Date: 9/13/2011 | Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Location: Innovation Station, 230 Reynolda Hall | Link: http://entrepreneurship.wfu.ed…

The first of four grant writing workshops for students planning on applying for a new venture seed grant. In order to be successful, a venture needs to have a clear and compelling competitive advantage.  To identify that competitive advantage, it is important to understand the industry and where the market potential is and to know specifically who the intended target is and why they would be motivated to buy.  This workshop will help you understand how to perform this analysis.
Grant Writing Workshop 2 – Competitive Advantage and The Business Model | Date: 9/20/2011 | Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Location: Innovation Station, 230 Reynolda Hall | Link: http://entrepreneurship.wfu.ed…

If you are wondering…How does the basic business model go together? How do I identify the resources I will need? How will I source and deliver my product or service? What are the key success factors? … then don’t miss this workshop. This workshop will consider the basic elements of the business model and how they work together.

Grant Writing Workshop 3 – Financial Model & Pricing | Date: 9/27/2011 | Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Location: Innovation Station, 230 Reynolda Hall | Link: http://entrepreneurship.wfu.ed…

This workshop will help you understand how to put together the financial model so that the business is sustainable. If you have an idea and are wondering…How much money do I need to get started? How should I set up the model so I have cash to operate the business? How will I ensure that the venture is sustainable? How should I price my product or service to be both competitive and profitable?… then this workshop is for you.

Grant Writing Workshop 4 – The Proposal and Pitch | Date: 9/29/2011 | Time: 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm | Location: Innovation Station, 230 Reynolda Hall | Link: http://entrepreneurship.wfu.ed…

Often entrepreneurs have great ideas and have a sound business model, but their proposal is not well written and the funding pitch is weak.  Being successful at raising funds is a learned skill and requires training and rehearsal.  This workshop will help you hone your pitch so you will be more successful in getting the funds your venture idea deserves.

For more information, contact Lucy Lan (lanl8@wfu.edu)

– Lucy Lan, Student Ambassador at Wake Forest University

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.