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Entrepreneurial engineering freshmen named innovation ambassadors by Stanford University-based program

Jeff Zidonis and Pete Shooner | May 7, 2016
Innovation fellows in the ARC
Photo by Ashley Stottlemyer

Entrepreneurial engineering freshmen named innovation ambassadors by Stanford University-based program

Jeff Zidonis and Pete Shooner | May 7, 2016

Photo by Ashley Stottlemyer

Two freshmen in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology have been selected to represent Ohio University as University Innovation Fellows (UIF) to help enhance and expand innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities for OHIO students.

Engineering and technology management major Ben Scott and chemical engineering major Faith Voinovich’s first step in the National Science Foundation-funded UIF program, run through Epicenter and Stanford University, will be attending the Silicon Valley Meetup from March 17-20 at Stanford University, where they’ll network with students, faculty and industry leaders who have an entrepreneurial mindset.

“It’s really easy to connect with people all over the country through Epicenter and this program,” Scott said. “We’ve already met a lot of different students from different schools along the way, so we’ve been able to experience what other schools have and to tell them what entrepreneurship activities we offer as well.”

One of the UIF program’s goals is to support student “entrepreneurial change agents” to raise the profile of innovation at their own colleges and universities. Supported by a collaboration among the Russ College, the Scripps College of Communication, and the Center for Entrepreneurship, Scott and Voinovich plan to team with fellow OHIO students and University Innovation Fellows Lori Bentz and Alex Kneier, who are working on a project called C-Suite.

“It’s this idea of bringing together a centralized hub that has entrepreneurship in it,” Voinovich said. “It might have a makerspace that would really connect engineering, business, arts and sciences, fine arts – everything in one place.”

Before being accepted, Scott and Voinovich completed a six-week online course through Epicenter that tasked them with redesigning some aspect of OHIO’s campus to create a stronger entrepreneurial environment.

“Creating an entrepreneurial mindset on campus is what they want us to do,” Scott explained. “So whether that’s installing a maker hub, or just opening lab days for students to come in and work on things, or advertising the fact that we have 3D printers, just letting students know that entrepreneurship is an opportunity for their lives and it’s a thing you can actually do - not something to be feared.”

Russ College Associate Dean for Academics Jeff Giesey, the duo’s faculty sponsor, said the connections they make will benefit the projects they plan to implement at OHIO as well as their own activities outside the University.

“We’re very excited about Faith and Ben being chosen for this experience, both for their own development and for how it will help them contribute to the Russ College,” Giesey said.