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Katelyn Stenger among National University Innovation Fellows Bringing Change in Entrepreneurship to Campuses

Monday, November 18, 2013
Katelyn Stenger headshot

Looking At Big Picture: Katelyn Stenger is a junior mechanical engineering student who is president of the Sustainability Club and has taken multiple sustainability courses in Rose-Hulman's curriculum. (Photo by Larry Ladig)

Katelyn Stenger's interest in social entrepreneurship and sustainability have earned the Rose-Hulman mechanical engineering student a prestigious role as a University Innovation Fellow, a national program empowering select engineering student leaders to catalyze more innovative and entrepreneurial activities on their campuses.

Through the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter), this program is supported by the National Science Foundation, Stanford University, and the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), and has been promoted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).

"As hubs of learning, networking, mentorship, and creativity, colleges and universities provide particularly fertile ground for the cultivation of world-changing, entrepreneurial ideas," says Doug Rand, OSTP's assistant director for entrepreneurship.

Stenger, one of 22 new University Innovation Fellows, played an essential role in launching a new public online platform, universityinnovation.org, featured recently by the White House. The platform is a tool for students across the country to share information about how to spark an entrepreneurial movement at their institutions. She created several pages on the website and details the entrepreneurial activities at Rose-Hulman.

"Innovation is integrated into the culture of Rose-Hulman, while entrepreneurship is beginning to create an impactful presence on campus," she says.

Stenger hopes to accentuate the entrepreneurial movement by promoting and establishing courses, programs, and resources that integrate entrepreneurship into the campus' educational culture. Specifically, she would like to work with administrators and faculty members to establish a Maker Space, a workspace where students could explore, experiment, and collaborate on creative and innovative startup enterprises.

"Katelyn embodies a strong innovative spirit to make a difference through engineering," says Humera Fasihuddin, who leads the University Innovation Fellows program for Epicenter. "She has the skills to lead others to bring change on her campus, community, and world."

Stenger recently completed training with other University Innovation Fellows from 20 universities across the country, including Ohio State University, University of Texas, Duke University, Texas A&M University, University of California, and Clemson University. The group will meet for the first time in March, 2014, when members will attend NCIIA's 18th annual national conference on entrepreneurship and take part in a design thinking workshop at Google.

Katelyn Stenger works on a medical device

Making A Difference: Katelyn Stenger has helped develop innovative lifesaving medical devices as an intern at Rose-Hulman Ventures. (Photo by Chris Minnick)

"I'm looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other students and form a network that will be valuable to my goals," says Stenger, who lists starting a consulting company for environmentally responsible engineers as one of several career objectives.

She is president of the Sustainability Club, a group dedicated to practicing environmental stewardship, improving Rose-Hulman's "green" awareness, and educating sustainable design. She also was among the first student group that participated in Rose-Hulman's Home for Environmentally Responsible Engineering program, has taken multiple sustainability courses in the institute's curriculum, and contributed to the development of lifesaving medical devices as an intern at Rose-Hulman Ventures.

In 2012, Stenger was among two U.S. finalists in an international collegiate essay contest examining how earth observation can help build a more sustainable world. Her essay covered the topic "Citizenship and Environmentalism."

"I like looking at the big picture, and the role I and other college students can make in creating a better world," Stenger says. "Engineers have the unique skills and problem-solving mindset to solve the greatest challenges in the world-challenges like bringing clean water, sustainable energy, and available medical care to developing countries. I want to play a role in these and many other causes."