Student Change Agents – University Innovation Fellows

UWM University Innovation Fellows Cohort, (L to R): Grace Rogers, Caleb Marks, Elizabeth Gallagher, Collin Roberts.

What are University Innovation Fellows?

The University Innovation Fellows (UIF) are part of a national movement to ensure that students gain the necessary attitudes, skills and knowledge required for them to compete in the economy of the future. These student leaders from schools around the world (yes around the world) work with their peers to catalyze even greater levels of innovation and entrepreneurship activity on their campuses.

The program is run by Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school) at Stanford University. The program was created as part of the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), funded by the National Science Foundation from 2011 to 2016 and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell. Learn more at the University Innovation Fellows website.

Each year, around 300 students around the globe are selected and trained to be catalysts for change on their campus. As of this fall, there are 1,838 fellows at 258 global institutions. There are now 24 University Innovation Fellows from UWM. Check out the exciting things the fellows at UWM have been a part of, and are helping to create at the UWM UIF Wiki page.

This month, LEC intern (and spring 2018 UWM UIF) MJ (Madeline) Horinek, met with the newly inducted fellows to get to know them more. Follow along to get to know the new fellows in MJ’s interview with them.

Grace Rogers

Major: Community Art

Year: Sophomore

About Grace: Grace is pursuing not only a degree in Community Art, but also a double minor in both biology and Conservation and Environmental Science, as well as a certificate in Cultures and Communities. She works as one of the Lubar Entrepreneurship Centers Interns and has been a campus ambassador, as well as a Supplemental Instruction Leader.

MJ: What is your mission – what gets you up in the morning, what problem are you trying to solve?
Grace: My mission is to raise awareness about environmental issues and actively combat negative effects on our climate. I intend to build sculptures which involve the community and steadily work to solve real-world problems.

MJ: What projects are you currently working on?
Grace: Right now, I am working on entering several sculptures into a gallery on campus. Hopefully, this will help me put my name out there. Otherwise, I am continually sketching and developing ideas for physical projects that I can focus my energy on post-graduation. For now, the steps I am taking primarily involve making connections and building the foundation from which I can jump in the future.

MJ: Reflect on your training and on where you stood before it began. Discuss something you’ve learned about yourself or the way you navigate problems.
Grace: Coming into my UIF training with very little experience in the realm of the prototyping mindset, problem space, and design thinking, I found my training incredibly valuable. I have learned the value of empathy in a business setting, utilizing the process of customer discovery with environmental scientists to understand the needs of the planet at large. I also learned that I tend not to focus too firmly on the process, instead narrowing my gaze on the product. I have come to understand the necessity of taking the time to understand and feel comfortable navigating the problem space, instead of jumping straight to the solution.

Caleb Marks

Major: Electrical Engineering

Year: Junior

About Caleb: Caleb is an avid fan of virtual reality, 3-D printing, and circuitry. He has been a part of both Prototyping Club, and the Immersive Media Lab.

MJ: What is your mission – what gets you up in the morning, what problem are you trying to solve?
Caleb: My mission is to use my engineering knowledge to help make the work a better place.

MJ: What projects are you currently working on?
Caleb: Right now I am focused on hosting pop up workshops and restructuring interdisciplinary courses at UWM.

MJ: Reflect on your training and on where you stood before it began. Discuss something you’ve learned about yourself or the way you navigate problems.
Caleb: The biggest takeaway from UIF was how to effectively work in a team, it takes time to know when you should facilitate or follow with a new team.

Elizabeth Gallagher

Major: Civil Engineering – Water Management

Year: Senior

About Elizabeth: Elizabeth is focusing her Civil Engineering Degree on Environmental Engineering and Water Management. She has a degree in Business but returned to school to follow her desire to change how human’s affect their environment. Elizabeth is involved in Associated General Contractors and Engineers without borders, as well as Plastic Free MKE and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

MJ: What is your mission – what gets you up in the morning, what problem are you trying to solve?

Elizabeth: I’m extremely passionate about the environment. I want to work on changing the way water is used in Big Agriculture. There are ways to minimize how much water is needed to grow crop.

MJ: What projects are you currently working on?
Elizabeth: Connecting students with viable start ups to funding.

MJ: Reflect on your training and on where you stood before it began. Discuss something you’ve learned about yourself or the way you navigate problems. 
Elizabeth: We sometimes think we know the solution to the problem without realizing the very real and possible consequences to those solutions. Being critical of your own solution is extremely important and being open to others criticism is an important part of solving an issue.

Collin Roberts

Major: Finance

Year: Senior

About Collin: Collin is pursuing a certificate of Entrepreneurship in addition to his degree in finance and is a Business Scholar. He has been a part of Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization (CEO), Student Startup Challenge, and is now working to build his startup, Pro Go.

MJ: What is your mission – what gets you up in the morning, what problem are you trying to solve?
Collin: Through entrepreneurship and innovation, my mission is to bring passionate people together to build startups and movements that focus on improving human and animal welfare, as well as the environment, to create positive change. Understanding the importance of empathy, I am passionate about growing others’ and my own empathy to help ignite compassion and action to create sustainable solutions.

MJ: What projects are you currently working on?
Collin: Reflecting on our UIF cohort’s efforts in exploring ways for students to best utilize campus resources and get the most out of their experience while at UWM, I am continuing my work in creating a resource that will help students connect their passions with their major. After taking a short questionnaire, this resource will connect students to a campus guide specifically designed for each student to explore their interests and passions. I am also working with students and staff at UWM to create a program to help ignite passion and opportunities for kids K-12 by bringing entrepreneurship, innovation workshops, and student mentorship to schools.

MJ: Reflect on your training and on where you stood before it began. Discuss something you’ve learned about yourself or the way you navigate problems. 
Collin: Looking back at my time at UWM, I have realized how impactful UIF and other outgoing faculty and students have been in exposing me to the many opportunities I pursue today. These kind people have connected me with the entrepreneurial ecosystem and have shared their knowledge and experiences while challenging me to grow. Although I have much to continue learning, I am certainly willing and excited to discuss and offer a hand to anyone who is interested in reaching out.

 

 

*This post has been edited for length and clarity.*