Seven University of Tulsa students have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIF) by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design (d.school). The UIF program empowers fellows to create opportunities that ensure 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.
TU’s seven new UIF program participants are:
- Ann Marie Flusche, a junior pre-med biology major
- Ghulam Haider, a mechanical engineering Ph.D. student
- Sheharyar Malik, a sophomore mechanical engineering major
- Srivats Srinivasan, a senior pre-med biochemistry major
- Andrew Varvara, a junior pre-med biology major
- Suraj Vodnala, a junior pre-med business management major
- Freddy Ward, a sophomore pre-med chemical engineering major
Professor of Marketing Charles Wood has served as the adviser to the UIF program for all four years of TU’s involvement. “These are some really phenomenal students; they’re taking advantage of the unique UIF program and the support TU puts into it,” Wood remarked. “Even more than usual, these students come from diverse majors and backgrounds, yet they have figured out how to work well together with their different experiences. They speak a language of innovation, which is the same language that every department and discipline on campus is constantly working to learn and practice.”
At the same time, Wood has been named to the inaugural Faculty Innovation Fellows program at Stanford.
As part of their training, the UIF fellows will create solutions to foster a culture of innovation across TU’s campus. Their proposed projects include evaluating ways to support professors with online education, identifying opportunities to increase TU’s social community and evaluating the audience for new online offerings by TU.
Andrew Varvara is looking forward to the unique opportunity the fellowship will provide: “It’s an exciting chance to identify and pursue high-impact opportunities to change TU. After learning how to implement design-thinking strategies, we’re in a unique position as students to lead projects while also receiving support from the school administration and faculty.”
Sheharyar Malik echoed Varvara’s enthusiasm, adding how honored he feels to have been accepted as a UIF by Stanford: “It’s more than just an achievement. It means that I’ve been recognized as an innovator and change agent who has now been given the tools to help make an impactful change on campus!”
Malik, along with the rest of TU’s crew of UIF fellows, are certainly that: young thinkers and entrepreneurs who will help make TU the best university it can be while they are on campus, and then ultimately spread that same passion wherever they may go.