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Four Loyola students named University Innovation Fellows

Upper left to bottom right: Elena Johnston, ’24, Juan Lopez, ’24, Joshua Rafferty, ’24, and Kelly Reynolds, ’24
Upper left to bottom right: Elena Johnston, ’24, Juan Lopez, ’24, Joshua Rafferty, ’24, and Kelly Reynolds, ’24

Four Loyola University Maryland students have been selected as University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University.

The recipients are Elena Johnston, ’24, a double major in communication and Global Studies with a minor in English; Juan Lopez, ’24, a Global Studies major with a minor in innovation and entrepreneurship; Joshua Rafferty, ’24, an economics and political science major; and Kelly Reynolds, ’24, a computer science major with a double minor in mathematics and information systems.

The four Loyola students are among 251 students from 65 higher education institutions around the globe who have been named University Innovation Fellows. As fellows, selected students are challenged with bringing innovative ideas to campus to help foster entrepreneurial opportunities, creativity, and design thinking. The students participated in a six-week online training experience during which they analyzed their campus ecosystems and learned how to recognize the needs of their peers and the perspective of educators from across disciplines. The six-week training culminates in a presentation to senior administrators and stakeholders at Loyola. Their ideas were received with enthusiasm by University leaders.

“This is an amazing cohort of students who have the potential to lead real change on campus and beyond,” said Wendy Bolger, director of the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship. “Loyola is lucky to be able to offer the UIF program and work with such inspiring leaders.”

The international UIF program offers training and development to student leaders interested in serving as change agents and bringing innovation to their colleges and universities.

This is the sixth cohort of fellows from Loyola. Past cohorts from the University have led efforts such as establishing makerspaces in the Loyola/Notre Dame Library, planning life-hack events, and establishing the Green Bandana Brigade for mental health. This year the cohort will implement design thinking to consider new ideas and solutions for addressing campus composting, planning events related to CI&E, establishing a new dual enrollment program that enables students from Baltimore City schools to earn college credits and exposes them to college opportunities, and mentorship programs for local Baltimore students who are interested in STEM.

“This fellowship has become an invaluable resource for me,” said Lopez, who is a resident assistant at Campion Tower and a member of Loyola’s Running Club. “To be surrounded by other people who share your passion and vision and want to improve our community through innovation is truly a unique opportunity. Also, having such dedicated faculty who champion your ideas is a valuable resource to have here on campus; they are always willing to help and offer great insight.”

UIF, which is a program of Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, 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 as part of the “Pathways to Innovation” initiative. Suzanne Keilson, Ph.D., associate professor of engineering, Bahram Roughani, Ph.D., associate dean of the natural and applied sciences, and Bolger serve as mentors to the fellows.