Muskan Kanungo, Shahbaz Mogal and Kirat Mokha have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIF), creating MSOE’s third cohort of Fellows. The international program, run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (, empowers students to become agents of change at their universities.

UIF is part of a global community of student leaders that help their peers develop an entrepreneurial mindset, build creative confidence, seize opportunities, define problems and address global change. This year’s cohort of Fellows is excited to encourage collaboration across campus and in the community to bring ideas to life.

“I am really excited to be a part of this platform that allows me to interact with all of the community at MSOE, collaborate with new people, look at the different perspectives everyone has to offer, and overall give more opportunities for people to showcase their ideas and concepts,” said Mokha, a sophomore majoring in electrical engineering.

MSOE’s third cohort plans to implement strategies to establish innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) on campus and in the community. They hope creating a presence of I&E on campus will help students, faculty, staff and the community learn and get excited about brainstorming, entrepreneurship, innovative thinking, forming creative solutions, thinking future-forward, prototyping, design thinking and implementation.  

MSOE’s Fellows developed four strategies for implementing and establishing I&E on campus and in the community:

1.       Bringing student ideas to life

2.       Encouraging engineering/business major collaboration

3.       Continuously exposing students to I&E early in their careers

4.       Strengthening on-campus I&E culture

Kanungo, Mogal and Mokha are among 360 students from 90 higher education institutions in 13 countries that were named Fellows in 2019. There is a total of 1,838 Fellows at 258 global schools. These student leaders collaborate to create opportunities to help peers build creative confidence and develop entrepreneurial mindsets. They create innovation spaces for students, start entrepreneurship organizations, facilitate workshops and more.

“I deeply believe that students are budding change agents whose mindset is molded by what they are able to achieve and what they are limited by. I wish to remove limits on dreams. I envision an MSOE where a student can enter with the loftiest dreams and has the organizational structure, peer support, mental coaching, and resources to achieve them,” said Mogal, a software engineering junior.

As a Fellow, Kanungo, a sophomore majoring in biomolecular engineering, hopes to encourage people to engage with new individuals and expand their networks. “As students at an engineering school, we get so busy studying and socializing with our small group of close friends that we forget to relax and talk with new faces. I want to encourage people to talk with people they never knew before. Imagine how many friends we could have if we talked to someone new every day—imagine how we could leverage those connections both in college and after graduation,” said Kanungo.

MSOE’s Fellows are supported by faculty champions Dr. Olga Imas, associate professor in the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department, and Dr. Leah Newman, associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. As faculty champions, they support and assist the Fellows with projects on campus. Often their initiatives involve working with MSOE administration, faculty and staff, and faculty champions help streamline that process.

“It is very exciting to see students make positive changes on campus. Having the opportunity to help students do that and advocate for them when needed is what go me excited about being a UIF faculty champion,” said Imas.

One of the group’s first missions is hosting a free design thinking workshop, The Innovator’s Toolkit, during Startup Milwaukee Week. The workshop will share tools on how to integrate empathy into the design process.

The Fellows will have the opportunity to join other Fellows across the nation at the Silicon Valley Meetup in spring 2020. The Meetup allows Fellows to work with leaders in education and industry at Stanford’s and Google. They participate in immersive experiences including workshops and exercises focused on movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models for change in higher education.

“Nobody can advocate better for students than students. It is very important that the students have a voice and use it. UIF is a phenomenal platform to have their voice heard and used to make positive changes,” said Imas.