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Four CAU Students Named University Innovation Fellows By The National Science Foundation

Posted on Monday, March 02, 2015

(In photo from l-r): Ariel Rogers, Damon Willis, Aaron Chambers, David Duncan, and Tiffany Mitchell.


Donna Brock

Larry Calhoun

ATLANTA (March 2, 2015) – Four Clark Atlanta University (CAU) students are among new University Innovation Fellows so designated Feb. 24 by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), a program of the National Science Foundation.  The students are Ariel Rogers, Damon Willis, Aaron Chambers and Tiffany Mitchell.

The University Innovation Fellows program, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and Venture Well (formerly NCIIA), empowers a total of 291 Fellows at 114 U.S. schools to become agents of change.  The Fellows comprise a national community of scholars in engineering and related fields working to ensure that their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future.  To accomplish this, 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.

The new Fellows gathered in Silicon Valley Feb. 20-22 for their annual meeting, where they took part in immersive experiences at Google and Stanford University.  At the event, Fellows participated in experiential workshops and exercises focused on topics including movement building, student innovation spaces, design of learning experiences, and new models of change in higher education.  They engaged with leaders in academia and industry from Google, Google for Entrepreneurs, Stanford University and Citrix, among others.

David Duncan, director of CAU’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurial Development, says, “Participating in the University Innovation Fellows program gives us the opportunity to inculcate best practices from some of the top innovators in the world in creating a culture of innovation on our campus.  We also will leverage our relationships with Google, Stanford, and other world class organizations as we continue to build our Center to ensure we are a thought leader and a national forum for educating successful, competitive participants in the new economy.”

Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter, said, “In today’s economy, it is imperative for all students to acquire an entrepreneurial mindset. College graduates need to enter the workforce skilled in assessing complex problems, conceiving innovative solutions and developing scalable solutions, whether they join a company, non-profit organization or start a new venture.”

Individual Fellows as well as teams of Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through a biannual application process.  Upon acceptance into the program, schools fund six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Annual Meetup in Silicon Valley.  Throughout the year, Fellows take part in events and conferences across the country, learning from one another, Epicenter mentors, and academic and industry leaders.

Past Fellows have created design spaces, founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to design new 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.

“Over the course of the program, we’ve seen Fellows have a powerful impact on student engagement and campus culture at a national scale,” Fasihuddin said.  “Word of their success has attracted more than 50 institutions for this new cohort.  We're thrilled to see the impact of the new Fellows in the year ahead."

View a list of all the University Innovation Fellows and learn more about the program at http://epicenter.stanford.edu/university-innovation-fellows.  Additional information and photos from the event are available upon request.

Category: University Media
Keywords: CAU, NSF, David Duncan, EpiCenter