Three Georgia Tech biomedical engineering (BME) students are new members of the University Innovation Fellows (UIF) program, which trains and encourages students to be better leaders and bring new opportunities, creativity, and entrepreneurship to their campuses.
Undergraduate students Sierra Mulrine, Jeremy Levin, and Cassandra McIltrot, are now part of this global initiative. Run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the UIF program “empowers students to become agents of change in higher education,” according to their website.
The UIF program states that “fellows represent the student voice in the global conversation about the future of education. They become deeply familiar with the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem at their schools, working closely with faculty, administrators and community stakeholders. They develop system thinking skills and learn a variety of design approaches that support their work as change agents.
Based on their deep understanding of the landscape of learning opportunities available at their schools, Fellows design and implement activities to enhance that landscape. 1,500 Fellows at 185 schools around the world have created innovation and makerspaces, courses and extracurricular resources.”
The students are working to create a cohesive entrepreneurship landscape at Georgia Tech, and build awareness of opportunities in innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) through interdisciplinary courses, clubs, and spin-outs. They are also seeking to enhance “discovery” of innovation and entrepreneurship at Georgia Tech by integrating course topics with I&E.
“During the past six weeks we have been going through training that taught us more about design thinking, and pushed us to discover more about our campus and how we can start making changes right here at Georgia Tech,” said McIltrot. “We are very excited about being launched as fellows, and can’t wait to get our project rolling. We talked to many faculty members, especially in the BME department, and they were very enthusiastic about our ideas and eager to support us. I can’t explain how exciting it is to be a part of a department that shares the same passion and excitement for innovation and entrepreneurship at Tech.”
For Levin, “the UIF program is all about giving each team the skills to build up their college campus. Our research project led us to identify gaps in discovery of innovation and entrepreneurship (I&E) and in the connection between learning and experimentation with I&E,” said Levin. “We hope to start our work within the BME department at Georgia Tech and then later generalize to the wider student population, working across majors.”
“It’s amazing to see the students grow as they participate in this program with students from all over the country,” said Cristi Bell-Huff, a faculty member in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Georgia Tech and Emory University. “They get unique training in looking for issues and opportunities through this program. They apply their new skills immediately to impact their campus, but they also take them into their future careers as innovators.”