Three JCSU Students Named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford Program


Charlotte, N.C./ Nov. 15, 2022 – Purity Gumede ’25, John Josiah ’24 and Tanaka Mbavarira ’24 were recently named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( program.

“I think it is a really wonderful opportunity afforded to me not only by Stanford University, but also JCSU,” said Mbavarira. “It allows me to represent myself and the JCSU student population in bridging the gap between students and knowledge of innovation and entrepreneurship.”

These students were three of 63 named to the fellowship. The program consists of students from 17 higher-education institutions in five countries.

Fellows in the program are charged with creating student innovation spaces, starting entrepreneurship organizations, facilitating experiential workshops, working with faculty and administration at their university to develop new courses and more.

Perhaps most importantly, the fellows are meant to serve as advocates for lasting institutional change.

Gumede, Josiah and Mbavarira realized that many students who are not in a STEM or business-related program may not feel they have the capacity to be an entrepreneur. So, they decided they would focus their fellowship on improving the awareness of entrepreneurial opportunities across all disciplines on campus.

“Everyone has the capacity to be an entrepreneur,” said Mbavarira. “We wanted to bring the spirit of entrepreneurship to students on campus.”

The fellows were a part of the first-ever cohort to take the University Innovation Fellows pre-training, which consisted of a rigorous online training that lasted about a month and a half. The group was tested mentally, physically and emotionally throughout the project, but said they were happy to finish with a plan in place.

According to Mbavarira, the fellows have already hosted a 3D printing event, and are working to create more events that any major would be interested in participating in. He said the group’s main goals are to help students build entrepreneurial skills, connect students to alumni and businesses in Charlotte and engage innovation influencers on campus to get students involved in their events.

For more information, or to learn how to get involved with the JCSU University Innovation Fellows, contact any of the students who are a part of the program. 

Related Articles

X'Orion poses in front of Panthers Game
X’Orion Richmond ’22 knew the last thing he wanted to happen after graduating was to go out into the world jobless. So, the Charlotte native took the bull by the horns to steer himself down the best career path possible with the help of the JCSU Center for Career and Postgraduate Readiness and the Department of Health and Human Performance (HHP).
View Content
People gathering in prayer or meditation
Dr. Kendal Mobley, Spiritual Life coordinator and associate professor of Religion, has been working with Student Affairs to plan a week-long celebration of spirituality from Sept. 26 to 30. “Spirituality week is the first step to renewing the vitality of Spiritual Life on this campus,” said Mobley. “Offering opportunities in a safe, friendly and nurturing setting for our students to express their feelings, explore new ideas and have their spiritual needs met is important for a university like ours.”
View Content
IIOS Band Group Photo at Greenfield Gardens Renovation
Nearly 80 volunteers spent their Saturday renovating Greenfield Gardens, a project made possible by the $30,000 grant from the 2021 Retool Your School competition presented by Home Depot. “I was so humbled by the people who came out,” said Dr. Davida L. Haywood, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. “We really are stronger together. We are one community and, when we put our minds to something, we can achieve great things.”
View Content