Skip to main content

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Students Named University Innovation Fellows

November 13, 2018

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Students Named University Innovation Fellows

Students to increase innovation, entrepreneurship, creativity, and design thinking opportunities on campus.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute students Siddharth Rao and Gabriella Fantell have been named University Innovation Fellows by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. They are two of 358 students selected for the program from 96 higher education institutions and 16 countries.

As part of the University Innovation Fellows program, Rao and Fantell will work with peers, faculty, and administrators at Rensselaer to create new opportunities for students to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking, and creativity. The program has trained over 1,800 student leaders since its creation in 2014, including 12 Rensselaer students.

The students were nominated by the Paul J. ’69 and Kathleen M. Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship, a center of excellence at the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer, and the Rensselaer Emerging Ventures Ecosystem (EVE). Kelly Reardon-Sleicher, associate program director at the Severino Center, served as the sponsor for the students’ application.

“Sid and Gabby are most deserving of their acceptance into the University Innovation Fellows program,” said Reardon-Sleicher. “I am honored to be their sponsor and am confident that they will create unique opportunities for the Rensselaer community to engage with entrepreneurship and innovation.”

University Innovation Fellow candidates participated in a six-week online training to develop projects that address the specific needs of their campus communities. Rao and Fantell are looking to create easy and risk-free ways for students to get exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship outside of the classroom.

“There are many very smart and talented students here at RPI that would make excellent leaders and entrepreneurs, and I hope to show them how to be innovators, something that can’t simply be taught in a classroom setting,” said Rao, a dual major in computer science, and information technology and web science. “I'm looking forward to applying what I’ve learned through my training to improve innovation and entrepreneurship at RPI, and to help my fellow students turn their ideas into reality.”

The University Innovation Fellows program exemplifies the entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit of The New Polytechnic, the driving model for teaching, learning, and research at Rensselaer.

“Having the freedom to explore new environments is empowering and motivating, being that there’s so much room for discovery and innovation,” said Fantell, a dual major in design, innovation, and society, and industrial management engineering. “Having been exposed to University Innovation Fellows early on at RPI has helped me understand the value of connecting people, and I have been passionate about creating environments that encourage this ever since.”