February 25, 2015
Four Susquehanna University students are among 123 students from 52 higher education institutions across the United States named as University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).
The University Innovation Fellows program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell (formerly NCIIA).
Ethan Eastwood '16 of Canton, Mass., Tiffany Richards '16 of St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, Pierce Perkins '16 of Baltimore, Md., and Alexis Gargin '16 of Newton, N.J., are the first students from Susquehanna University to receive the honor.
The University Innovation Fellows are a network of student leaders working to create lasting institutional change and create opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is part of a national movement to help all students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future.
Susquehanna was steered toward the program by 2006 graduate Laurie Moore, who is the communications manager at Epicenter.
"This is a great opportunity for Susquehanna University to build on the idea of entrepreneurship in both social and science fields," says Catherine Cymone Fourshey, associate professor of history, who sponsored the students. "These students had to complete an unconventional and challenging application that consisted of tweets, videos and short essays. That they completed the application successfully on short notice and at an incredibly busy time of the semester is a testament to their strength as a team, their innovative thinking, and their willingness to take on a challenge."
Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process twice annually. Following acceptance into the program, students complete six weeks of online training, where they connect with their new network, examine their current entrepreneurial ecosystems and formulate action plans to implement their ideas. Throughout the year, they take part in events and conferences across the country and have opportunities to learn from one another, Epicenter mentors and leaders in academia and industry.
"The passion, drive and leadership to create and build already exists among many students and is integral to Susquehanna's culture," says Eastwood, a history and political science major. "We look forward to using our University Innovation Fellowship training and resources to develop new opportunities that allow the University to capitalize on their enthusiasm and inventiveness in new and exciting ways."