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UMD Student Leaders Named National University Innovation Fellows

November 19, 2014

Alana Carchedi 301-405-0235

Fellows' Accomplishments and Vision for Future Featured on White House Blog

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – In celebration of National Entrepreneurship Month and Global Entrepreneurship Week, the University of Maryland (UMD) is proud to announce that three students have been named University Innovation Fellows (UIFs) by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation (Epicenter). Mackenzie Burnett, Jordan Greenwald, and Ashmi Sheth are three of only 65 university students from 45 higher education institutions across the United States to be chosen as fellows this semester, the third semester in a row a UMD student has earned the distinction. They join fellow UMD Innovation Fellows Valerie Sherry, Atin Mittra, and Meenu Singh in the University Innovation Fellows Leadership Circle, a pilot program at select universities with teams of UIFs endorsed directly by their university presidents. 

Mackenzie BurnettThe University Innovation Fellows are a network of student leaders working to create lasting institutional change that will increase student engagement with entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, design thinking and venture creation. The program is part of a national movement to help all students gain the attitudes, skills and knowledge required for them to compete in the economy of the future.

The UMD UIF Leadership Circle has already made great strides in expanding UMD’s innovation and entrepreneurship landscape.

The UMD Leadership Circle also hosted the first ever UIF Mid-Atlantic Regional Meetup bringing together 40 UIFs from other campuses around the country to UMD and D.C. to discuss creative collisions, which according to UIF Meenu Singh, means infusing “traditional innovation and entrepreneurship tools and methods into a variety of facets of student life.” The energy and creativity of the regional meetup was contagious and each UIF from around the country left UMD with a spark of innovation to implement on their campus.  The recent meetup was even featured in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy blog for National Entrepreneurship Month.

Ashmi ShethThe UIF program inspires current fellow Jordan Greenwald "because you not only get to interact with innovative students from around the country, but you have the opportunity to learn design thinking and the lean start up model. It’s a great way to see what other universities are doing in the way of entrepreneurship and innovation and connect with students from around the country.” Jordan recently founded a student club, the Entrepreneurship Connector, and is currently focused on building his clothing company. Jordan is implementing the skills learned from this UIF training to his business through customer discovery, experimentation and rapid iteration.

As part of the UIF training, the fellows do an analysis of their campus innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem. Both Ashmi Sheth and Mackenzie Burnett saw a need to unify those resources and are currently working on how to bring student innovation and entrepreneurship groups together on campus in better and more creative ways.

Jordan GreenwaldUMD prides itself as a pioneer in educating the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs, ranked as one of the nation's top public schools in the U.S. for entrepreneurship and innovation. The Princeton Review ranked UMD No. 9 among public universities and No. 21 overall for its undergraduate entrepreneurship program. The university was also recognized as No. 1 among public universities and No. 2 overall for tech entrepreneurship by the 2013 StartEngine College Index.

Epicenter is funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell.

Learn more about the University Innovation Fellows program at