FSU Student Named University Innovation Fellows by NSF-Funded Epicenter

Fayetteville State University student Malik Oliver was among 66 university students from 45 higher education institutions across the United States who has been named University Innovation Fellows by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter).

The University Innovation Fellows are a network of student leaders working to create lasting institutional change that will increase student engagement with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is part of a national movement to help all students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge required for them to compete in the economy of the future.

The new cohort of Fellows brings the total number to 110 Fellows at 78 schools in the U.S. The program is run by Epicenter, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA).

Oliver is an undergraduate research scholar in FSU’s Center for Defense and Homeland Security (CDHS). He was nominated for the fellow by Dr. Curtis Charles, executive director of the CDHS. In addition to being named a fellow, Oliver was one of 165 students from around the country selected to conduct research at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory this summer.

“It is no longer enough for engineering students to graduate with a purely technical education,” said Tom Byers, Director of Epicenter and Professor at Stanford University. “Whether they start their own companies or join established organizations, engineers need to have an entrepreneurial mindset to identify and seize opportunities, bring their ideas to life, and solve global problems.”

The program offers undergraduate students in engineering and other fields the guidance and support to become agents of change on their home campuses. The Fellows have made it their mission to expand the number and quality of resources available to students and to advocate for necessary advancements with external advisory boards, trustees and institutional leaders.

Fellows are sponsored by faculty and administrators at their schools and selected through an application process each spring and fall. Following acceptance into the program, students complete six weeks of online training, during which they connect with their new network of Fellows, examine their current entrepreneurial ecosystems and formulate action plans for their ideas.

At their schools, Fellows have founded entrepreneurship clubs and organizations, worked with faculty to create courses, hosted events and workshops, and created student design and maker spaces.

Founded in 1867, FSU is the second-oldest public institution in North Carolina. It offers nearly 60 degrees in the arts, sciences, business, and education at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. It serves a student body of more than 6,100 students and has a faculty and staff of approximately 900.

The National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter) is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA). Epicenter’s mission is to empower U.S. undergraduate engineering students to bring their ideas to life for the benefit of our economy and society. To do this, Epicenter helps students combine their technical skills, their ability to develop innovative technologies that solve important problems, and an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset.