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Loyola’s University Innovation Fellowship program ignites entrepreneurial spirit in students

| By Stephanie Weaver
Loyola's 2018 cohort of University Innovation Fellows

The four students who represented Loyola University Maryland at University Innovation Fellowship (UIF) this spring brought back ideas and priorities to introduce to the University.

As members of Loyola's 2018 cohort for UIF, Alex Santarelli, ’21, Emily Cebulski, ’21, Christopher Carangelo, ’20, and Grant Versfeld, ’21, came back with ideas to update the Loyola mobile app and increase student interaction with the Baltimore community. 

“The faculty champions, and Loyola in general, have been more than supportive in all our ideas no matter how farfetched. They are always open to trying new concepts,” said Carangelo.

Carangelo, a mechanical and materials engineering major from West Harford, Conn., has always had a passion for creating and changing thing, and UIF was the perfect outlet for this. His favorite part of being a part of Loyola’s UIF program is the support he receives from Loyola.  

The UIF, an international training and development program for student leaders interested in bringing innovation to their colleges and universities, gives Loyola students the chance to innovate and create with other students from around the world.

UIF is a program of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The program was created by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) and funded by a five-year National Science Foundation grant. Loyola joined the program in 2017, with faculty advisor, Bahram Roughani, Ph.D., associate dean of the natural and applied sciences, and three students. Suzanne Keilson, Ph.D., professor of engineering, also mentors the University Innovation Fellows. 

To apply to the program, students have to answer the question, “What would you innovate at Loyola?”

Cebulski, a statistics and finance major from Reading, Pa., said the prompt intrigued her and made her consider everything she had observed and loved at Loyola.

“Innovation isn’t confined to a STEM or business-oriented realm, rather, it involved simply identifying a problem and proposing a solution that makes it better,” said Cebulski. “It’s nothing complicated or restricted to certain groups of people. Innovation is for everyone.”

Students who are selected participate in six weeks of online training about design thinking and the entrepreneurial mindset. They also travel to the regional meeting and the national Silicon Valley Meetup, where they visit Stanford University, Google, and IBM headquarters. Roughani blogged about their trip this year. Suzanne Keilson, professor of engineering, works with Roughani and the UIF students as a faculty mentor.

“I first became interested in UIF because of its empowering message for students around the world,” said Versfeld, a computer science major with a focus in pre-law from Langhorne, Pa. “I was inspired by the impact that previous Fellows have had on their campuses (and on our own), and I knew immediately that I wanted to join such a positive and encouraging group of students so that I could help change our campus for the better.”

Students are invited to apply for the 2018-2019 cohort by the May 7 deadline.

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