Thursday March 1, 2018

Changing Face of Engineering

The Stanford University Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( named four University of Dayton students to a global program that empowers student leaders to increase campus engagement through innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity. 

Baylor Franck, Anna Hecht, Brian Sikora and Jennifer Welch are among the 258 students from 64 schools in nine countries the institute named University Innovation Fellows to advocate for fellow students to engage in innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity through innovation spaces, entrepreneurship organizations, experiential-learning events and new courses.

"I've been overwhelmed by the ingenuity and dedication of this year's fellows," said Emily Fehrman Cory, faculty of practice for innovation and entrepreneurship for the School of Engineering and sponsor of the University of Dayton students. "These students already have become change agents to increase awareness and advocate for student innovation and collaboration environments in the School of Engineering and will be fantastic representatives of the University at the national level."

This is the third year University of Dayton students have been selected to the program. The quartet said they want to create more collaboration and study space in the School of Engineering's Kettering Labs, create an app or scheduling system for students to better locate study space in Kettering Labs, integrate more engineering themes into some University of Dayton Common Academic Program courses, and establish an engineering and innovation learning living community. The University of Dayton group has outlined their specific goals and strategies here.

Previous University Innovation Fellows from the University of Dayton have incorporated more art into engineering to help students use their creative and analytical skills and created a student-run incubator for advising students in the early stages of project development, a database of innovators students can tap for mentoring and partnerships, and an innovation and entrepreneurship course open to all first-year students.

"We believe students can help accelerate the pace of change in higher education," said Humera Fasihuddin, co-director of the University Innovation Fellows program. "They have creative ideas and are very resourceful. With proper training and mentorship, they are initiating positive lasting changes at their schools and making a difference in the lives of their peers."

Overall, the program has trained 1,500 students.

Participation with the University Innovation Fellows program is another example of how the University of Dayton is striving to instill an entrepreneurial mindset in its students.

The University is a member of the Kern Entrepreneurial Engineering Network (KEEN), a national partnership of universities with the mission of graduating engineers with an entrepreneurial mindset so they can create personal, economic and societal value through their work.

Since joining KEEN, the University of Dayton has received the 2013 KEEN Best in Class Award; Eddy Rojas, dean of the School of Engineering, was honored with the 2015 Outstanding Dean Award; and Ken Bloemer, director of the Visioneering Center at the University of Dayton's School of Engineering, was recognized for his work in the network with the 2016 Outstanding Faculty Award.

In 2014, The Kern Family Foundation, which created KEEN, awarded the University of Dayton a $1.2 million grant to initiate the largest faculty and curriculum development program in the School of Engineering's history. Much of the funding is going toward developing activity-based, project-based, and entrepreneurially minded classes to enhance the student experience.

Last November, KEEN awarded the University $2 millions to help faculty work with industry and community partners to infuse entrepreneurially minded learning examples and case studies into their courses.

For more information, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391 or

Photo credit: University Innovation Fellows Program