New University Innovation Fellows hope to empower student leaders
Five Wichita State students have been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter). They are:
- Jocelyn Galicia, sophomore, business major
- Jesus Gomez, junior, engineering major
- LaRissa Lawrie, junior, communication major
- Michael Schlesinger, sophomore, business major
- Caylin Wiley, senior, engineering major
The new fellows are the second group of students from Wichita State to be named fellows through this prestigious national program, which seeks to empower student leaders to increase campus engagement with innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity and design thinking.
The University Innovation Fellows program enables students to become agents of change at their schools. Fellows work to ensure that 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.
Lawrie says the leadership team is working toward goals that include increasing awareness of innovation and entrepreneurship resources on campus, introducing interdisciplinary capstone projects, and educating students on their intellectual property rights.
“(This) shows how committed the university is to innovation and entrepreneurship, and it was an incredible honor to be chosen by Wichita State,” she says.
The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.
The new fellows have plenty of plans for their time at Wichita State. Projects include:
- WSU Ignite, a two-day event that would include a small-scale music festival, film festival, business startup competition and a technology trade and demo show. The music and film components offer an entertainment option for students and encourage those uninterested in innovation to attend. The other two components serve to transform the local and regional perception of WSU and create a campus culture shift that inspires students to think more innovatively. This would be done by showcasing and celebrating the talents, resources and current innovation occurring at WSU and in the Wichita area. Overall, the event would serve as a flagship event for the Innovation Campus.
- Altering the campus culture through curriculum, a continuation of an initiative, announced late last year, with the goal of increasing collaboration between colleges for students working on senior design projects. The fellows also hope to find ways to allow students the opportunity to involve employers in senior design projects and provide resources for turning a research project into a viable business or patentable product.