Two students from the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences were among the 258 students from 64 higher education institutions in nine countries who recently were named University Innovation Fellows. Daniel Mozel, a student in engineering design technology, and Saleh Mohamed, a student in mechanical engineering, are part of the incoming group of the University Innovation Fellows program, which empowers students to become agents of change at their schools. Two other Western students also were named Fellows this year: Megan Miller, a marketing major, and Andy Hobelsberger, a physics major.
The program is run by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. With the addition of this year’s new Fellows, the program has trained more than 1,500 students since its creation.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. To accomplish this, these students advocate for lasting institutional change and create opportunities for other students to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity at their schools. They design innovation spaces, start entrepreneurship organizations, host experiential learning events, and work with faculty to develop new courses.
“WMU and our college have had a number of students admitted into the University Innovation Fellows program in recent years,” said Dr. Steve Butt, professor and department chair of Industrial and Entrepreneurial Engineering and Engineering Management and also department chair for Engineering Design, Manufacturing and Management Systems. Butt is an ongoing supporter of the University Innovation Fellows program and obtained the funding for the college’s students to attend.Sponsored by faculty and administrators as individuals or teams of students, Fellows are selected through an application process each year. After 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.
“These students are creative and resourceful, and are making an impact and positive change here at Western,” he said. He noted, for example, that through the efforts of previous Fellows, an Innovation Club was started on campus and a student-run makerspace was created, providing a place for students to design, build and be creative. “Our participants in the University Innovation Fellows program really build resources that will last beyond their time at Western. They truly are agents of change.”