April 04, 2018

Four students selected for innovation fellowship to influence change on UAB’s campus

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innovation fellowship streamFrom left: Alex Plazas, Haifa Al Harrasi, Joshua Lim and Callista Cox Innovation and entrepreneurship are the focus of four students from the University of Alabama at Birmingham who were recently named University Innovation Fellows by Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, or d.school. Haifa Al Harrasi, Alex Plazas, Callista Cox and Joshua Lim join 258 students from 64 higher education institutions in nine countries to become agents of change through innovation and entrepreneurship on campus.

The students are trained in design thinking, a process for coming up with innovative solutions to unstructured problems. Their mission is to create new learning opportunities for other UAB students to engage with innovation, entrepreneurship, design thinking and creativity. The program’s philosophy is centered around believing students can change the world.

“I have a deep passion for small businesses and startups,” said Lim, a junior from Mobile, Ala. in the UAB College of Arts and Sciences majoring in psychology and minoring in financing. “This fellowship provides me the opportunity to bring an entrepreneurial mindset to peers.”

The University Innovation Fellows program empowers students to think out the box and find innovative solutions to fill voids around campus. Fellows work to ensure their peers gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to compete in the economy of the future and make a positive impact on the world.

“When I graduate, I’d like to work for a startup,” said Harrasi, a junior from Muscat, Oman majoring in human resources management and minoring in entrepreneurship at UAB’s Collat School of Business. “The fellowship gives us a platform to create and implement new and different ideas, while teaching our peers about entrepreneurship and innovation.”

“As a freshman, I’m excited to see where this fellowship takes me over the next four years.”

The third cohort of students from UAB traveled to Silicon Valley in March for the University Innovation Fellows’ fifth annual meetup after completing six weeks of online training. The students went through a rigorous application process to be selected for the fellowship program.

“As a biomedical engineering student, I anticipate my career’s focusing heavily on innovation,” said Alex Plazas, a Columbus, Ga. native and sophomore in the UAB School of Engineering. “As a University Innovation Fellow, I’m able to innovate in a different mindset and impose real change that will impact UAB’s campus for years to come.”

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