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Levin Students Named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford d.school Program

Levin PhD students Abigail Poeske and Bryson Davis, and CSU student Cameron LaMack (from Mechanical Engineering), have been named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that all students gain the attitudes, skills, and knowledge required to navigate a complex world and build the future.

These student leaders from schools around the globe create opportunities to help their peers build the creative confidence, agency, and entrepreneurial mindset needed to address global challenges. Fellows create student innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, facilitate experiential workshops, work with faculty and administrators to develop new courses, and much more. They serve as advocates for lasting institutional change with academic leaders, lending a much-needed student voice to conversations about the future of higher education.

Fellows are nominated by faculty and administrators and are selected through an application process each year. Faculty and administrators who guide Fellows, known as Faculty Champions, also have the ability to engage in a community of Faculty Innovation Fellows. This cohort-based program is a two-year experience that helps educators work to identify and design their own projects to make a difference at their schools. Faculty Champions for CSU’s Fellows include Dr. Nicholas C. Zingale, Associate Professor at Levin and CoDirector of CSU’s TECH Hub, and Dr. Kelle K. DeBoth, Assistant Professor in CSU’s Department of Health Sciences. They said they encouraged Poeske, Davis, and LaMack to apply as part of an effort to create new experiences for students at CSU.

“The Levin College and Cleveland State University serve as a student-focused center of scholarly excellence, providing accessible and exceptional education by fostering innovative fellowship opportunities for students,” noted Dr. Zingale. “These students have inspired faculty across campus to participate in developing an interdisciplinary program to address the impacts of advanced technology in society. We are very proud to have had the opportunity to work with them and the UIF program.”

“Higher education needs student change agents now more than ever,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, codirector of the University Innovation Fellows program. “The pandemic has forced our school’s leaders and faculty to change the way they educate students. This is our second cohort of Fellows impacted by the pandemic, and they’ve truly embraced this opportunity to help their schools adapt to today’s challenges.”

Upon acceptance into the program, students participate in a six-week online training experience. During training, students learn to analyze their campus ecosystems and identify opportunities for change related to innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity. They work to understand the needs of peers across disciplines and the perspectives of educators. They apply this new knowledge to design new educational opportunities for their peers. After training, Fellows continue to create new projects and serve as change agents at their schools and beyond. With the addition of the new Fellows, the program has trained more than 2,600 students since its creation.

“The new Fellows are designing experiences that help all students learn skills and mindsets necessary to navigate these uncertain times and to shape the future they want to see,” said Humera Fasihuddin, codirector of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They are giving back to their school communities, and at the same time, they’re learning strategies that will help them serve as leaders in their careers after graduation.”

You can learn more about Poeske, Davis, and LaMack by viewing their change story project video here.

About the University Innovation Fellows program:
The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. The Fellows are a global community of young leaders working to ensure that all students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge required to compete in the economy of the future. Fellows create new opportunities that help their peers develop an entrepreneurial mindset, build creative confidence, seize opportunities, define problems, and address global challenges. They are creating student innovation spaces, founding entrepreneurship organizations, hosting experiential events, and working with faculty and administrators to develop courses. They serve as advocates for lasting institutional change with academic leaders and represent their schools at national events. The University Innovation Fellows is a program of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). Learn more at universityinnovationfellows.org.

Photo Credit: The photo on the College homepage referring to this news item is by Zach Lucero on Unsplash.