Igniting innovation

Over the course of their S&T career, graduating seniors Cori Hatley and Eric Fallon have learned a lot about entrepreneurship and innovation. But that wasn’t always the case. Like many of their fellow students, they were interested in these topics when they first arrived on campus, but they didn’t know how to find out about what resources were available.

So the pair took an entrepreneurial approach to solving this quandary. They put together a plan and pitched it to investors.

In this case, the plan was to create a resource for first-year students. The investors were the members of Missouri S&T’s Innovation Team, which provides university funding for various projects.

In the process, Hatley and Fallon were also applying lessons learned as University Innovation Fellows at Missouri S&T. The UIF program is a National Science Foundation initiative designed to help college students learn more about entrepreneurship and to bring that innovative spirit to their campuses. “It’s designed to train us to be change agents,” says Hatley, a senior in civil engineering.

This fall, Hatley and Fallon’s program, Ignite Innovation, will introduce incoming freshmen to the entrepreneurship resources available on campus, from design team and undergraduate research opportunities to clubs and coursework focused on innovation. “We’re not missing resources,” Hatley says. “It’s that people are not aware of the resources. So let’s start making these connections sooner rather than later so students can harness these resources right away.”

S&T also received funding last fall to create new courses designed to stimulate innovation. The grant comes from VentureWell, an organization that funds entrepreneurs as well as universities.

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