The first MSOE cohort of University Innovation Fellows (UIF), Tara Rahmani, Sabrina Stangler and Nick Hennigan, has been selected to represent MSOE as a “Fab” at the March 2020 Silicon Valley Meetup. 

Experienced Fellows take on a “fab”ulous leadership role at the UIF Silicon Valley Meetup. They are selected out of the entire international community of Fellows for the impact they have had at their schools and for their contributions to the UIF movement. At the event, Fabs give ignite presentations on their UIF work to all attendees, modeling for the new Fellows the kind of impact they can have at their own schools. They also facilitate workshops, mentor teams of Fellows from different areas of the world, and provide event logistic support. 

In just the few short years MSOE’s first cohort has been active, they have made an impact on campus and beyond.  

“I’m most proud of the design thinking workshops that we hold on campus. It’s a place where students from all walks of life and majors can come together to solve pressing issues in our community,” said Hennigan. “I get to see a diverse group of students realize they can use their unique skill sets and knowledge to make a difference. For the past two years, we have been able to extend this outreach into the greater Milwaukee community by hosting design thinking workshops at Startup Milwaukee Week.”  

“We have done a great job of inspiring students to tackle the wicked problems they face and help them realize they can be heroes on their own. I think most students leave, too, with a new set of tools, language and eagerness to continue solving problems,” Stangler added. 

Incoming students at MSOE have a front row seat to some of the Fellows’ efforts. “Our take on Freshmen Welcome Week (AKA ‘UIFresh’) has had a huge impact. We helped create engaging and active sessions throughout the week to complement the traditional informational sessions,” said Hennigan. “We implemented a ‘Post-It Party’ where the entire freshman class shares hobbies, interests and talents, and created a massive game of Rock, Paper, Scissors to boost energy. What can be more exciting than 300+ students battling it out for Rock, Paper, Scissors’ supremacy? We also energize the CAECM-UX joint department meeting by running a dance workshop, ‘lighting round’ style faculty introductions, and student networking. Finding a way to deliver information while giving students an opportunity to meet and socialize with their new classmates and faculty is as important as understanding school policy.”  

The Silicon Valley 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.  

“I am looking forward to meeting the new fellows from around the world and hearing about what drives and inspires them,” said Stangler. “It’s always fun to hear what motivates others and what they care about—it helps to round out my perspective.”  

UIF is an initiative of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( at Stanford University. It empowers students to become agents of change at their universities, and a major goal of the program is to inspire innovation and an entrepreneurial mindset among university students. Currently, there are 2,201 Fellows at 267 global institutions.