Three MSOE students, Noe Gonzalez, Nicole Lange and Jack Turicek, have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIF). They are the second group of MSOE students to participate in this prestigious international program, which is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( UIF empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking.    

Fellows become agents of change at their schools and 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.

“We want to be at the forefront of working with administration to tackle the problems that students are currently facing,” said Gonzalez, software engineering junior.  

To accomplish this, 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.  

“Our events are designed to foster a community and culture on campus that gets students excited to be involved and work together on things that they’re passionate about,” said Lange, biomedical engineering sophomore. “We want to promote MSOE’s Mindset and CREATE Institute.” Both of these initiatives encourage the entrepreneurial mindset and the servant-leader mindset among students.  

MSOE’s Fellows were among 358 students from 96 universities in 16 countries chosen to participate in the UIF program. With the addition of the new Fellows, the program has trained more than 1,800 students since its creation. Throughout the year, they take part in conferences, digital meet-ups, and opportunities to learn from one another, Stanford mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.  

Following acceptance into the program, students go through six weeks of online training and travel to the Silicon Valley Meetup in California to continue their projects and skill building. They participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models for change in higher education. The Kern Family Foundation is sponsoring MSOE’s Fellows.  

“With UIF, we had the opportunity to talk to many different students,” said Turicek, mechanical engineering sophomore. “We want to ensure they never lose their sense of wonder.” In that spirit, MSOE’s Fellows have identified several strategies for expanding innovation and entrepreneurship on campus and in the community: 

  1. Encourage school life balance with a mid-quarter event to destress with therapy dogs
  2. Host Funky Fridays twice monthly to help students take a break from academic studies
  3. Offer a Startup Meetup Fair
  4. Create the #MSOE-Inspire Competition  

The first two strategies are designed to bring students together and build excitement for the Startup Meetup Fair and #MSOE-Inspire Competition.  

“Higher education needs to change faster to meet the needs of students and industry today,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “As the key stakeholders of higher education, students should be active participants of a change process that helps them learn the skills and mindsets necessary to create the future. The students who participate in our program are ideally poised to help accelerate the pace of change at their schools. They are highly motivated to make progress quickly, as they’re only on campus for a short time, and they care deeply about their schools and the experience of all students.”  

“Through this program, Fellows gain skills, mindsets and knowledge to face complex challenges at their schools and in the world,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “During training, Fellows analyze their campus ecosystems and identify learning opportunities related to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity. They work to understand the needs of peers across disciplines and the perspectives of faculty and administrators. Armed with this knowledge and perspective, they design strategies to take advantage of these opportunities for change.”  

In Spring 2019, students will have the opportunity to participate in the Silicon Valley Meetup, which brings together all Fellows. During this gathering, Fellows will take part in immersive experiences at Stanford’s and Google, and work with leaders in education and industry. They will participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models for change in higher education.