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Four Elon students named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford d.school

The students join a global community of Fellows charged with increasing campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity.

Four Elon University students have been accepted into the University Innovation Fellows program administered by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattnew Institute of Design, more commonly called d.school. 

Clockwise from top left, the four University Innovation Fellows from Elon — Haley Brengartner, Yousaf Khan, Regan O'Donnell and Noor Irshaidat. 

​Haley Brengartner '20, Noor Irshaidat '20, Yousaf Khan '20 and Regan O'Donnell '21 are among 258 fellows selected from 64 higher education institutions in nine countries. Brengartner is originally from Strongsville, Ohio, and is majoring in economic consulting and entrepreneurship. A native of Jordan, Irshidat is majoring in international business and international and global studies. Khan, born in Pakistan, is from New Jersey and is majoring in computer science and finance. O'Donnell, a Business Fellow at Elon, is majoring in marketing with a minor in communications. 

The program is designed to empower students to become agents of change at their schools, with a focus on helping their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world. 

Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators as individuals or teams of students, and selected through an application process each year. Following acceptance into the program, schools fund the students to go through six weeks of online training and travel to the University Innovation Fellows Silicon Valley Meetup. Throughout the year, Fellows take part in events and conferences and have opportunities to learn from one another, Stanford mentors, and leaders in academia and industry.

​“We believe students can help accelerate the pace of change in higher education,” said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They have creative ideas, and are very resourceful. With proper training and mentorship, they are initiating positive lasting changes at their schools and making a difference in the lives of their peers.”

The team of fellows from Elon will be focusing on how to increase student engagement with innovation and entrepreneurship on campus. The goal is to discover why students are not more involved with entrepreneurship courses, maker spaces and other innovative opportunities on campus and develop methods to help increase participation. An overview of the team's work and a blog about their activity is available here.

“Through this program, Fellows gain skills, mindsets and knowledge to face complex challenges at their schools and in the world,” said Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. “They learn how to analyze their campus ecosystems and identify learning opportunities related to innovation and entrepreneurship. In doing so, they identify gaps and strive to understand the needs of peers across disciplines, and the perspectives of faculty and administrators. Armed with this knowledge, they design strategies to take advantage of these opportunities for change.”

Owen Covington,
3/6/2018 10:35 AM