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.”

John Cash, an adjunct instructor of Sport Management at JCSU, activated the program at the University in 2021. He attended the training in person on behalf of the University.

This year's 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. 

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