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University Innovation Fellows Will Help Drive Change at Boise State

By: Sherry Squires   Published 7:57 am / March 9, 2016

Innovation Scholars, Kelly Schutt, Rebecka Seward, and Ann Delaney, College of Innovation and Design, Photo by Allison Corona

Kelly Schutt, Rebecka Seward and Ann Delaney

Three Boise State University students, sponsored by the College of Innovation and Design, have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation.

Ann Delaney, Kelly Schutt and Rebecka Seward have completed six weeks of training and will represent Boise State at the University Innovation Fellows annual meet-up in March in California’s Silicon Valley.

“Since innovation in higher education stems from any and all stakeholders, I’m excited at the prospect of our students contributing to the innovations occurring within the College of Innovation and Design, for the benefit of Boise State University,” said Gordon Jones, dean of the college.

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows 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.

The College of Innovation and Design is proactively sponsoring student innovators and creating a portal for students, like these UIF fellows, to impact the future of higher education and be a part of the solution, Jones said.

Delaney is pursing an interdisciplinary master’s degree in materials science and engineering with an emphasis on public policy. Her research is focused on addressing barriers to manufacturing memory with DNA. A senior materials science and engineering major, Schutt recently won the Marshall scholarship, the most competitive scholarship in the world. Seward is actively involved in the Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) related to plasma medicine and will graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in biology – in preparation for veterinary school.

“Our goal in becoming University Innovation Fellows is to find ways to communicate to students all of the resources that are available to them, and to create a conduit for student feedback to go back to the university to make Boise State better,” Delaney said.

So far, the three fellows have created a landscape analysis on the resources, challenges and opportunities for students to become more engaged with innovation across the Boise State campus. The next steps will include a meeting to focus their efforts to align with CID and address a specific challenge or opportunity in the campus community.

Will Hughes, associate dean and head of the college’s VIP program, is Boise State’s mentor for the UIF program. He will travel to the Silicon Valley with the three UIF Fellows to visit Google, Stanford and more.

“Ann, Kelly and Rebecka are more than students, they are partners in the future of Boise State. Working hand-in-hand with the College of Innovation and Design, they are seeding innovation by soliciting and empowering student voices across campus” Hughes said.

The three will take part in a number of events and conferences in San Francisco and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors, and leaders in academia and industry. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell – a nonprofit higher education network on a mission to help an emerging generation of young scientists launch ventures to improve life for people and the planet.

A total of 155 students from 47 higher education institutions have been named University Innovation Fellows. The 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. Fellows who joined the program in the 2014-15 academic year held 112 events and established 35 spaces at their schools.

With the addition of the new fellows, the program has trained 607 students at 143 institutions since the beginning of the Epicenter grant.

“We believe that students can be so much more than just the customers of higher education,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “Fellows are acting as co-designers of the higher education experience, and they are actively collaborating with faculty and administrators to make lasting changes at their schools. They utilize their resourcefulness, creativity and national network to make measurable gains, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

Individual fellows, as well as institutional teams of fellows, are sponsored by faculty and administrators and selected through an application process twice annually.

“Through this program, fellows learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems for new opportunities, understand the needs of stakeholders at their schools, collaborate with peers from different disciplines, and solve problems that have no clear answers,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-leader of the University Innovation Fellows program. “All of these mindsets and skills will help fellows make a difference in higher education as well as in the increasingly complex world that awaits them after graduation.”

During the Silicon Valley meetup March 17-22, which brings together all fellows trained in fall 2015 and spring 2016, fellows will take part in immersive experiences at Google and Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( They will participate 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. Hughes will be joining the trip to advise the Stanford EpiCenter on future program offerings.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows at

The new Boise State Fellows join the program with students from the following schools:

Beloit College
Berea College
Carnegie Mellon University
Case Western Reserve University
Clemson University
Colorado School of Mines
Converse College
Dalhousie University
Elon University
Florida Institute of Technology
Georgia Institute of Technology
Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
Kent State University
Kettering University
La Salle University
Lawrence Technological University
Missouri University of Science and Technology
Morgan State University
North Dakota State University
Ohio Northern University
Ohio University
Purdue University
Quinnipiac University
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Saint Louis University
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Spelman College
Temple University
Tennessee Technological University
Texas Tech University
Texas Tech, South Plains College
Union College
University of Dayton
University of Detroit Mercy
University of New Haven
University of North Alabama
University of North Dakota
University of Oklahoma
University of Oregon
University of Pittsburgh
Utah Valley University
Villanova University
Washington University in St Louis
Western New England University
Wichita State University
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

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. 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