NDSU students Lydia Gregersen, Samantha Schultz and David Syverson have completed training to become University Innovation Fellows, a national program designed to empower student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking.
They are among 169 students from 49 institutions in four countries to be selected in the latest group of University Innovation Fellows. The program is run by Stanford University's Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. With the addition of the most-recent cohort, the program has trained a total of 776 students at 164 institutions.
In their duties as University Innovation Fellows, Gregersen and Schultz will be supported by David Wells, professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering, while Syverson is advised by Anuradha Vegi, assistant professor of practice for plant science.
Schultz, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering from Brainerd, Minnesota, said, "Being a fellow is a great opportunity to make a difference, even in the smallest ways. I hope to be the voice of change, and try to reach every person possible. I'll tell them that the future is in our hands, and what we do now can make big changes." Her main project is developing Innovation Corps, a student club intended to connect students with all forms of innovation across campus."
Gregersen is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.
"Lydia and Sammy are budding superstars," Wells said of Gregersen and Schultz. "They are both mature beyond their years, ultra-creative, very smart, utterly responsible and fun to be around. Our University Innovation Fellows team members are exemplars for others. I feel gratified to be able to be a mentor for Lydia and Sammy."
Syverson, a junior majoring in food science and food safety from Hastings, Minnesota, will lead a project called Stackable Credentials that allows students to learn material outside the classroom and, after proper testing, have it listed on their transcript.
"As a fellow, I hope to learn as much as possible from other fellows from different schools to bring a different perspective to NDSU," he said. "The hardest and most important way to promote innovation is for people to be active in it. As a group, we try to recruit students for Innovation Corps, which is a fantastic way to get students more involved in innovation and entrepreneurship around campus."
"David is a fantastic leader and has excellent vision for the future," Vegi said, describing Syverson's abilities. "He is not only a dedicated student in food science, but also wants to see growth in the food science field through applications from other areas of science, engineering and art. He can do amazing work as a University Innovation Fellow."
The purpose of the University Innovation Fellows program is to help students develop as catalysts for change.
"We believe students can be so much more than just the customers of their education. They can be leaders of change and co-design the higher education experience," said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. "Fellows are collaborating with their peers, faculty and administrators to create more educational opportunities for students. They are making measurable gains, both in the number of resources and the students served by the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem."
NDSU's three latest fellows join previous recipients Deni Danielson, Ben Ferguson, Kyle Stapleton, Diedrich Harms, Robert Kringler, Jordan Brummond, Jacob Larson, Drew Spooner and Andrew Dalman.
In March 2017, Gregersen, Schultz and Syverson can participate in the Silicon Valley Meetup, where they will participate in experiential workshops and exercises focused on movement building, innovation spaces, design of learning experiences and new models for change in higher education.
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