11th Annual Symposium
June 15-17, 2022 | Cleveland, OH

Panel Details

Track A: Developing Entrepreneurial Universities, Culture & Ecosystems

A1Philanthropy as Ecosystem Builder: Fostering a Culture of Inclusive Entrepreneurship on Campus

At last year’s Deshpande Symposium, the “Philanthropy as Ecosystem Builder” panel focused on the role of philanthropy in encouraging connectivity of campus entrepreneurship ecosystems in the larger community. This year’s panel serves as a follow-up discussion, taking the conversation a step further to explore the role philanthropy plays in fostering inclusivity in these campus ecosystems.

The past year has laid bare the everyday challenges students of color face in higher education, but the pursuit of entrepreneurship should not be one of them. Programming must be designed to reduce barriers and enhance access to opportunity for underrepresented students — an approach that requires thoughtful design and intentional strategy. This panel will explore the ways philanthropy can serve as a critical partner in this effort. 

Panelists will share how their organizations approach this work in their regions and spheres of influence. They will also highlight examples of ways campus partners are working to build more inclusive and equitable entrepreneurship programs, including effective storytelling and representation of students of color in entrepreneurship; racial-equity training programs for faculty and program staff; intentional recruitment of diverse mentors, coaches and judges; and rethinking program design to consider the needs and lifestyles of students from all backgrounds. These topics will be explored through the lens of philanthropy with consideration given to types of grants, initiatives, partnerships and ecosystem-building efforts that foster more diverse, equitable and inclusive campus ecosystems.


Patrice Green, Surdna Foundation (Moderator)
Mary McHenry, Burton D. Morgan Foundation
Tabitha Messmore, Kent State University
Takhani Kromah, Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Jaune Odombrown, University of California - Irvine

A2Catalyzing a Culture of Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education

Given the complex problems the planet now faces and the seismic shift that is taking place in higher education, how can we meaningfully and holistically weave science, technology and the liberal arts together in academia to make the world a better place? For a while now, the undergraduate experience offered by universities (both domestic and international) has been challenged by its Gen-Z audience. This audience, raised on a digital diet, has expectations and aspirations significantly different from its predecessors. Their technology-driven sense of innovation, their methods of connecting and maintaining relationships — and their mindset for working, collaborating, problem-solving and communicating — require higher education to re-examine its methods to significantly exceed this generation’s expectations rather than just meet them. Higher education is also under pressure from industry, society and the environment to respond to the rapidly changing global outlook and graduate the next generation of citizens for jobs whose descriptions, in many instances, do not yet even exist. Many universities around the world are experimenting with methods and practices to reinvent themselves in order to offer forward-thinking, innovative and immersive experiences for their future graduates.   

This proposed panel presentation will bring together key thought leaders and learning innovators representing Boston College (BC), Franklin Olin College of Engineering and Lehigh University, who will share their experiences in introducing successful practices using design, innovation and entrepreneurship to impact society at large. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about Olin College’s new approach to entrepreneurship (in addition to their ongoing explorations in innovative engineering education), Lehigh’s Sustainable Happiness Institute (as part of their Creative Inquiry strategic initiatives) and BC’s experience in coupling design-thinking processes with its traditional liberal arts education to better prepare current and incoming learners as problem solvers for future human needs in a complex global society that is also being fueled with emerging technologies. Panelists will share successes, as well as lessons learned, from the failures that are typically faced when developing and introducing future-forward, “discipline-agnostic,” design-driven, problem-solving processes across a higher education institution.

The goal of the panel is to spark dialogue and interaction among participants around best practices in higher education in the context of developing entrepreneurial universities, cultures and ecosystems. Attendees will have the opportunity to take away ideas to build upon, with the ultimate purpose of exceeding student, societal and industry expectations.


Sunand Bhattacharya, Boston College (Moderator)
Lawrence Neeley, Franklin Olin College of Engineering (Moderator)
Siddhartan Govindasamy, Boston College
Khanjan Mehta, Lehigh University
Julia DeVoy, Boston College

A3Universities in Ecosystems: Principles for Engagement

Universities are more complex today than they have ever been, and so are the economic and community development issues we are tackling. Pandemic recovery and social unrest are just a couple of examples of issues that must be considered in our engagements with external stakeholders. Ecosystem building provides a platform for engaging stakeholders meaningfully and productively, and also requires that we undertake engagement in thoughtful and intentional ways. To ensure that ecosystem building results in the creation of economic and societal value, universities and their partners should be mindful of key principles and consider the ways that these principles can help shape successful ecosystems. Among the principles to adopt are: 1. Develop a deep understanding of ecosystem beneficiaries and their needs; 2. Provide space for solutions to emerge rather than promoting a single set of ideas from the start; and 3. Be ready to shift, adapt and iterate ecosystem building approaches until they achieve your goals. Panelists will explore these and other principles by highlighting examples from the Ecosystems Design Network — a recent pilot effort hosted by the University Economic Development Association and funded by The Lemelson Foundation — and from recent ecosystem-building experiences of the panelists.


Jim Woodell, Jim Woodell & Company
Rachel Jagoda Brunette, The Lemelson Foundation
Sherine Obare, North Carolina State A&T University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Eddie Pauline, The Ohio State University

A4Emerging Role of Academicians and Researchers in the Indian Startup Ecosystem

The Gopalakrishnan-Deshpande Centre of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (GDC) was established at IIT Madras with the purpose of helping faculty at STEM colleges across India commercialize their technologies and transform them into robust startups to impact society at scale. GDC’s long-term objective is to provide the necessary thought leadership for building the systems and processes that enable innovative and entrepreneurial thinking in universities. 

This panel discussion will be powered by a detailed analysis of experiences and insights gained from work over the past three years with more than 100 academicians and roughly 150 startups at India’s premier STEM institutions, as well as more than 300 research scholars who attended GDC’s flagship program, I-NCUBATE. Designed on the principles of lean startup and pedagogy inspired by the I-Corps program of the National Science Foundation, the I-NCUBATE program has been tailored with the peculiarities of the Indian research and entrepreneurial ecosystem in mind. The uniqueness of the I-NCUBATE program lies in the dual objectives of redefining transformational research culture at Indian universities and enabling commercialization to create impact at the challenging scale that is required in India (which is typically 10 times that of the developed world). Two main requirements specific to the Indian context are:

1. In India, the purchasing power of consumers is heavily skewed towards small amounts, with the average of the bottom 75% of the population being less than $3 per day. Such an economy requires that most innovations should be available at price points that are 10 to 15 percent of global prices of similar goods and services. This calls for innovators to develop sensitivity toward the idiosyncratic needs and wants of Indian consumers, to be knowledgeable about the opaque socioeconomic structures, and to be capable of designing unique business models. 

2. Customer discovery exercises in India have to be conducted in multiple languages and with market information and infrastructure levels way below what one would expect in the developed world.   

Some of the key questions this panel will contemplate, analyze and answer are: 

  • How have academicians and researchers changed their approaches in regard to handling their day jobs (in research) and redefining the purpose of their research after their experiences in the I-NCUBATE program?  
  • How has the I-NCUBATE program transformed participants’ views about entrepreneurship ? 
  • How do participants see themselves in terms of playing an important role in shaping the startup ecosystem in India? 
  • Have participants implemented innovative ideas in their academic world after attending the program? If so, what results have they achieved (or are they expecting to achieve)?


Raghuttama Rao (Raghu), IIT Madras
Ravinder David Koilpillai, IIT Madras
J. Ramkumar, IIT Kanpur
Manish Arora, Indian Institute of Science Bangalore
Ms. Poyni Bhatt, IIT Bombay

A5University Innovation Impact Index

Universities play an important role in fostering innovation in communities across the country, and that innovation drives economic growth and rising levels of prosperity. The authors have developed a new Innovation Impact Index that measures productivity in turning research spending into overall innovation output. The research demonstrates that innovation impact productivity is not necessarily tied to the biggest or best-known schools. Institutions of all sizes could achieve very significant increases in impact by moving towards the productivity levels of high-performing peers.

The report advises universities to prioritize research, hire the best global talent, build efficient and productive technology transfer operations, and instill a strong culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. The report also calls on universities to engage more with the surrounding business community but cautions against over-reliance on industry research funding, which appears to be less highly correlated with innovation impact than other factors.

For policy makers, the report calls for increased public-sector support for university research and technology transfer; improved understanding of how institutions vary in their innovation impact productivity; increased focus on attracting and developing scientific and technical talent; and investment in integrated physical spaces that connect researchers with entrepreneurs, investors and other potential nonacademic partners.


Vinit Nijhawan, Boston University
Christian Blackwell, Opus Faveo
David Overton , Opus Faveo
Cullum Clark, Bush Institute

A6How Higher Education Is Fostering an Ecosystem of Entrepreneurship Across Georgia

Describing programs, activities and collaborations on their campuses that have helped to build the Atlanta entrepreneurial ecosystem, panelists will speak to their involvement in the Georgia University Entrepreneurship Initiative (GUEI) and guide a brainstorming activity on how other cities or regions can create similar collaborative endeavors. 

During this session, participants will share best practices and create a shared repository featuring ideas and examples of regional collaborations across institutions. Time will also be allotted for a Q&A.


Jackie Davis, Georgia State University
Amelia Schaffner, Emory University
Recha Reid, Georgia Institute of Technology
Don Chambers, University of Georgia

Track B: Entrepreneurship in the Curriculum

B1Bring Play Back to the Classroom

What is play? Why do we play? How do we play? This panel is intended to inspire attendees to incorporate play into their classroom, in whatever way works best for them and their students. We will explore ways to take play seriously, with robust pedagogical approaches. To help our students be more innovative in their entrepreneurial pursuits, they need to rediscover play so they can unleash their imagination and see greater possibility.   

Panelist Heidi Neck will frame the session as focused on PLAY as the least understood and potentially most engaging of five key practices (play, empathy, creation, experimentation and reflection) in the entrepreneurship classroom. Panelist Jeffrey Stamp will dive into how PLAYing with words inspires creativity in his students. Panelist Elissa Grossman will share how serious gamePLAY can be fun and how it can help to engage students in authentic decision-making. Panelist Doan Winkel will show how PLAYing with (real) money has helped his students experience and understand the concept of entrepreneurship on day one.  

Classrooms can be more vibrant, more active and more engaged by utilizing play. We all enjoy some form of play, but that joy usually stops at the classroom door. Not anymore!


Dr. Doan Winkel, John Carroll University (Moderator)
Dr. Heidi Neck, Babson Academy at Babson College
Dr. Jeffrey Stamp, University of Minnesota
Dr. Elissa Grossman, University of Southern California
Dr. Doan Winkel, John Carroll University

B2Entrepreneurship for Every Student: From Fashion to Engineering and Everything in Between

Attendees of this session will learn how two universities were able to provide entrepreneurship education to every student from every major, and how this process can be replicated at their institution.

The West Virginia University “Fashion with a Purpose” course combines fashion, entrepreneurship and community engagement to empower students to solve problems in their communities. This immersive course directs students to form teams, research pressing problems in their communities, develop a business model around a solution and move towards the implementation of solutions. Students gain an understanding of entrepreneurial practices by working closely with coaches, facilitators and disciplinary industry experts to develop and complete their final project presentations. Through ideation, application and reflection, students are able to connect classroom education to real solutions for real problems.

The Penn State Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) has grown to become the largest interdisciplinary entrepreneurship program of its kind. Through this program, every one of the 80,000 undergraduates from 22 campuses, in any major, has access to entrepreneurship classes. In the last four years, 8,500 students from 133 majors have taken at least one ENTI course. This panel will explore how any institution of higher education with entrepreneurial faculty and administration can accomplish this without adding a single faculty or administrative position.


Carrie White, West Virginia University (Moderator)
Colleen Moretz, West Virginia University
Angela Uriyo, West Virginia University
Lauren Prinzo, West Virginia University
Anne Hoag, Penn State University
Ted Graef, Penn State University
Robert Beaury, Penn State University
Liz Kisenwether, Penn State University

B3Developing and Pivoting Culture on an Entrepreneurial Campus in the New Normal

Four colleagues representing a variety of universities are excited to reconvene to continue a discussion from last year’s Deshpande Symposium about developing and pivoting culture on an entrepreneurial campus. When talking about this topic last year just months into the pandemic, the panelists were grappling with a new and constant “virtuality.” While the COVID crisis certainly created a “new normal,” this dramatic experience was further compounded by society’s reckoning with race, political unrest and economic hardship. Our universities and our entrepreneurial cultures are not immune to these seismic shifts.

The panelists are eager to share their experiences during the past year and engage with the participants in an interactive and discussion-based session. In their presentations, they will address questions such as: 

  • During a year of virtual learning, how has feedback from our students instructed change in how we deliver content and assess learning?  
  • How have classroom changes impacted the overall entrepreneurship culture of our programs?
  • How are we addressing issues of race and racism in our technology/innovation syllabi, pedagogy and student-facing programs? How are we ensuring that our efforts go beyond issues of diversity and inclusion?  
  • How can a year of living/learning virtually open up opportunities to create an entrepreneurial culture that is supportive of students from a range of majors and with varying degrees of familiarity with entrepreneurship?  
  • What are the opportunities for faculty engagement? 
  • How can we leverage the opportunities and overcome the obstacles when changing ecosystems in our virtual world (or new, or evolving, normal)? 
  • During this time of uncertainty and physical distance, how can we engage new students, colleagues and ecosystems (or networks)?


Cornelia huellstrunk, Princeton University
Michael Lehman, Lehigh University
Kay Molkentin, University of Portland
Julie Messing, Central Michigan University

B4Best Practices in Coaching the Creation of Real Companies

This panel will discuss techniques used to work with undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty researchers and others on sustainable business creation. Participants will hear about a breadth of related experiences from a diverse set of practitioners. Panelists will each describe their establishment of an ideation process within their entrepreneurial and innovation offerings, and will discuss how that ideation process became a fundamental component for everything that followed in servicing the startups. 

The intent of this panel is to draw clear linkages between the initial steps of ideation with students, researchers and innovators (often university-based) to successful startup experiences as evidenced by market traction, capital funding and company growth. The broader discussion will look at the continuum of the following elements: identification of solvable problems, ideation of solutions, market and competitor analysis, product development, business plan development, market validation and testing, finance, launch, evaluation and scaling. The panel will also discuss the role of mentoring in helping startup founders build operational businesses using newly honed entrepreneurial skills.


Tom Sudow, Ashland University
Wendy Kennedy, WendyKennedy.com, Inc.
John Gebhard, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio
Shannon Pastizzo, University of South Florida
John Hanak, Purdue University

B5Horizontal Collaborations for Transformative Student Experiences: How to Create Impactful Cross-Campus and Cross-Region Entrepreneurship Opportunities

Many higher education innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives originate in specific schools or departments but share the common goal of serving students and faculty across campus, despite challenging limitations embedded in academic structures. Initiatives are typically siloed at the campus level, and higher education institutions are only loosely collaborating with one another on the regional level.

Using specific examples from North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Texas A&M University, this panel will discuss:

  • The creation of more adaptive and collaborative spaces on campus
  • Several interdisciplinary models and new structures for student innovation that seek greater social, economic and environmental impact
  • The challenges of developing and sustaining offerings that are not associated with a specific scholarly home

Looking at regional collaborations, the Entrepreneurship Education Consortium (EEC) in Ohio challenged itself to stay connected and relevant to students on 11 EEC member-school campuses. The second half of the panel will address:

  • How long-standing programs can be re-energized to be more connected to the community
  • Three new pilot programs to address the changing needs of college student entrepreneurs
  • How programming can support organizational strategy

Attendees will take away concrete suggestions on how these innovative and highly collaborative models can be transferred to their campus and region.


Elizabeth Benefield, North Carolina State University
Melissa Carrier, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Robert Shandley, Texas A&M University
Reka Barabas, Entrepreneurship Education Consortium
Lori Long, Baldwin Wallace University
Colette Taddy Hart, Cleveland State University
Hannah Schlueter, Baldwin Wallace University

B6Integrating Experiential Entrepreneurial Learning and Education into Curriculum from Community College Art Degrees to Research Scientist PhDs

The global pandemic has clearly demonstrated the central role of higher education in developing breakthrough inventions to tackle global challenges. Colleges/universities and faculty across all departments can do more to prepare graduates to be changemakers, to apply their expertise in creative and adaptive ways, to identify societal problems they can solve, and to bring innovative ideas to fruition.  

In this presentation, which will consist of an interactive discussion and a Q&A with panelists, participants will learn how to integrate an engaging student pitch competition into existing courses. Additionally, they will learn how to leverage entrepreneurship across other institutional priorities and initiatives by attempting to solve problems and challenges associated with developing and deploying innovation and entrepreneurship education. Cross-faculty recruiting of non-traditional entrepreneurship students will also be explored. This will all be accomplished by examining the innovative program design of Simon Fraser University’s Invention to Innovation (i2I) program, Queen’s University’s Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre (DDQIC) pitch competition, and the student pitch competition offered through the Innovation, Design, and Entrepreneurship in Arts and Sciences program at Houston Community College (IDEAS@HCC).  

The i2I program will be explored as a model to develop scientists, innovation ideas and nascent science-based ventures within entrepreneurial universities and the wider science innovation ecosystem. The integration of the cross-university DDQIC pitch competition into engineering course curriculum will be discussed. The cross-campus IDEAS@HCC competition and its integration into the workforce and academic programs will also be examined by deans and the competition founder. 

Panel attendees will leave with ideas on how to:

  • Help deans and faculty across campus integrate a pitch competition into their existing courses
  • Convince your business school/entrepreneurship faculty to develop credit courses and programs customized for other faculties at your institution
  • Develop interdisciplinary research or collaboration from such courses
  • Recruit students who have not previously thought of entrepreneurship education as relevant to them
  • Develop the entrepreneurial culture of your institution 
  • Graduate changemakers across the various faculties of your university or college
  • Solve societal challenges through unlocking research or other creative potential


Richard Gosselin, Houston Community College
Elicia Maine, Simon Fraser University
Jim McLellan, Queen’s University
Dr. Colleen Reilly, Houston Community College (Moderator)
Ravi Brahmbhatt, Houston Community College

Track C: University Research Commercialization and Startups

C1Reimagining the Research Commercialization Ecosystem: A National Approach

Despite a post-secondary educational system that outperforms its peers in research outputs, significant investment and a range of support programs, Canada continues to lag behind its peers in research commercialization and the development of globally scalable, deep technology companies.

Building on its experience over the past seven years, I-INC, a network of universities across Canada, is proposing a national early-stage innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem to accelerate research and talent and to build competitiveness in the global innovation economy.  The proposed system addresses three critical gaps in the Canadian innovation ecosystem:  

  • A required shift in culture to increase the value of research commercialization pathways
  • The need of receptor-skills match between industry and research graduates
  • Improvement in the quality and quantity of research-based startups

Drawing from international best practices, the I-INC initiative proposes the scaling of four proven regional programs to a national level, and the introduction of a new commercialization post-doc fellowship. Panel members will describe each of the proposed programs, how they fit together and how they can be implemented at a national level. The discussion will provide an opportunity for exploration of a variety of questions, such as:  

  • Why are multiple pathways for researchers, students and opportunities important? 
  • What are the key milestones or markers in progressing through the funnel? 
  • What are the right outcomes and metrics for each stage? 
  • How and when should we best connect to the broader innovation ecosystem? 
  • What is the right balance between skills development and venture development?  

Feedback and challenging questions will be a welcome part of shaping this journey as the design of the program continues to evolve. 


John MacRitchie, Ryerson University (Moderator)
Jeff Larsen, Dalhousie University
Jane Somerville, Concordia University
Dr. Jim McMillan, Queen’s University
Dr. Sarah Lubik, Simon Fraser University

C2Faculty- and Student-Led Startups

Launching businesses from a university setting, whether based on faculty research or student ideas, is a bit different from starting a traditional business. For one, there is (typically) the inexperience of the founders. University intellectual property may also need to be licensed, which is never easy — especially for first-timers. There can also be conflicts of interest and students with competing agendas, not to mention significant time pressure and an unawareness of the effort that is required to build a successful startup. Cultural issues can arise, too, since a startup marches to a much different beat than a college course or an academic research lab. 

For faculty members, especially those who have not yet earned tenure, the incentives are not aligned. In this discussion, the panelists — who all have considerable firsthand experience either launching university spinouts or advising them — will share tips and tricks and discuss some minefields to be avoided. A mix of practical advice and tales from the front lines, this session will be of use to faculty who advise students on their startups, faculty or graduate researchers looking to start businesses, and managers of entrepreneurship centers.


Neil Kane, Michigan State University
Nik Rokop, Illinois Institute of Technology
Michael Goldberg, Case Western Reserve University

C3Broader Impacts: How I-Corps Sites Interact with Campus Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programs and Ecosystems

The impact of I-Corps Sites extends beyond preparing deep-technology researchers for the National I-Corps program. Although all sites aim to prepare teams to succeed in the National I-Corps Teams, each one does so in the context of its home institution. Thus, variations are manifested in at least three important ways: 

  1. Programs differ in order to meet the needs of their on-campus audiences
  2. Sites may be located within a college of engineering, a business school, another academic unit or in a campus-wide organization
  3. Collaborations/intersections with other elements of the institution’s innovation and entrepreneurship efforts vary widely

This panel aims to explore and appreciate the variability of sites. Each of the I-Corps Site leaders participating on this panel will provide an overview of their site. Discussions will include: an overview of the programs they offer and how they have changed over time; a description of where the site is located both physically and in their institution; a high-level organization chart; and information about collaborations/intersections with other elements of the institution’s innovation and entrepreneurship system that have resulted in significant impact beyond their site’s individual priorities. 

We will build on the variety of information presented to stimulate discussion that will extract insights, inspire experimentation (both within and beyond I-Corps Sites), and encourage adoption of good practices across institutions. I-Corps Site leaders from institutions not on the panel are strongly encouraged to attend and share in the discussion.


Karen Utgoff, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Rebecca Menapace, Brandeis University
Caroline Cannon, Dartmouth College
Todd Keiller, Worcester Polytechnic Institute
John Tremblay, Northeastern University

C4Crossing the Valley of Death: Bridging the Gap Between Research and Commercialization

The results of fundamental and applied research generated by universities often have little to no impact on society. Why? In many cases, the research both contributes to our fundamental knowledge and understanding, and provides a foundation for innovations that could benefit society. Unfortunately, there is often a gap between the research result and the translation of the findings into a solution to a societal problem, along with a business and financial model that is investable.

Recently, universities have stepped up to the challenge by creating new academic or co-curricular programs, entrepreneurship centers, incubators and accelerators aimed at nurturing entrepreneurs and bridging the gap between research and impact. This workshop will feature several universities who have created innovative programs to address this issue. Experiences and outcomes shared by panelists and a short presentation by a student team  will help to build community among all those who aspire to accelerate the translation of research to societal impact.


Kevin Oye, Tufts University
Greg Bavington/Jim McClellan, Queen’s University, Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre
Beth Deuermeyer, Texas A&M University
Barry Rosenbaum, University of Akron
Dominic Blakely, University of New Brunswick

C5NSF I-Corps Challenges and Opportunities in the Field

Aimed at attendees who are either thinking about adopting National Science Foundation (NSF) I-Corps programs or looking for best practices to improve their delivery, this panel features faculty from Oklahoma State University, Colorado State University, New Mexico State University and the University of Arkansas who are already running NSF I-Corps programs. All of these universities — which have been hosting NSF I-Corps programs for several years — are located in small towns, have moved to a virtual program delivery due to COVID-19, aand are part of C5($3M per year for five years) led by the University of Texas. 

While all panelists agree that the NSF I-Corps program has been a valuable tool in technology commercialization at their institutions, the program has evolved (and will continue to) due to COVID-19 and the new Hub structure that is being rolled out. Furthermore, there are specific challenges related to being located in a small town while trying to serve large areas. Each panelist will talk about some or all of the following: their NSF I-Corps grant, how their program is managed and delivered, the frequency and size of program delivery, the recruitment of teams and industry mentors, managing virtual programs, failures and successes, and their future plans for content delivery.


Richard Gajan, Oklahoma State University
Jeff Muhs, Colorado State University
Weston Waldo, University of Arkansas
Kramer Winingham, New Mexico State University

C6Harnessing the Power of Patent Data for Faculty, Research Staff and Students

There are a handful of patent search engines or platforms out there. Apart from being useful in searching for prior art, patent data has many other uses. In this session, we will explore how Texas A&M University uses patent data from the website Patent Vector. In the past year, Texas A&M students have used Patent Vector to help find potential faculty advisors who have common research interests, and to explore the intellectual property space to identify issues or find evidence with which to test hypotheses. Additionally, Texas A&M faculty have used Patent Vector to discover other researchers or scientists at outside universities who may be interested in collaborating on grants or co-authoring papers, and to find potential industry sponsors for grants or research agreements. Tech transfer offices have also used the Patent Vector data to understand the impact Texas A&M patents are having on the real world compared to patents from other universities.

The session will include an overview of the Patent Vector website from one of its co-founders, Dr. Andrew Torrance. Panelist Dr. Beth Deuermeyer, program manager for educational programming at Texas A&M University Innovation Partners, will share how she has incorporated the website into the office’s innovation and entrepreneurship curriculum. Eric Riddle, data analyst for Innovation Partners, will share how patent data has been an important tool in understanding the impact of patents in the world. Texas A&M graduate student Jonathan Picker will also share his experience using Patent Vector in his studies.


Beth Deuermeyer, Ph.D, Texas A&M University (Moderator)
Andrew Torrance, University of Kansas School of Law
Andrew Morriss, Texas A&M University
Jonathan Picker, Texas A&M University
Eric Riddle, Texas A&M University

Track D: Emerging Trends

D1Advancing Equity in Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Strategies from the Field

In any field, fostering spaces that welcome a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and approaches is essential. For excellence in innovation and entrepreneurship in science and technology, it is vital. The current composition of students in STEM programs, however, is not representative of the diversity of our society. This is the result of entrenched systemic inequities that deny some groups meaningful participation, silencing their ideas and voices while simultaneously amplifying those from majority groups.  

Entrepreneurship centers and programs are hungry for strategies and solutions to increase equity and inclusion for students. Their program directors are eager to learn about best practices, share promising strategies, and collaborate more intentionally to increase equity on their campuses and across the higher education ecosystem. VentureWell commissioned a national study by Quality Evaluation Designs (QED) to identify promising practices and existing efforts to broaden participation. The QED team collected data in the fields of science and technology (S&T) and Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) by conducting an environmental scan; reviewing, with an equity lens, the websites of 100 I&E programs; and interviewing 65 student entrepreneurs, 15 higher-education I&E program leaders, and 10 leaders of nonprofit entrepreneurial support programs.

VentureWell published these findings in the 2020 report “Advancing Equity: Dynamic Strategies for Authentic Engagement in Innovation and Entrepreneurship.” In the report, QED identified six interrelated areas for action: 

  1. Conduct authentic outreach  
  2. Create inclusive spaces 
  3. Build confidence 
  4. Engage more faculty as mentors 
  5. Validate multiple pathways to success 
  6. Develop a holistic organizational approach   

This panel presentation will explore these action areas and strategies, giving each panelist the opportunity to describe their successes and challenges in addressing one or more of these action areas on their campuses. Attendees will leave with a widely applicable blueprint for university-based entrepreneurship centers and programs that strive to broaden participation among early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs.


Kristen Golden, VentureWell (Moderator)
Shaheen Mamawala, VentureWell (Moderator)
Dr. Isabelle Monlouis, Georgia State University
Monica Dean, University of Southern California
Juan Barraza, Portland State University

D2Filling the Gap – Creating a Community for Latinx Student Entrepreneurs

Access gaps to resources- both social and financial – limit entrepreneurial and innovation career opportunities for many non-white students. Only 8% of tech employees, 4% of tech entrepreneurs, and 1% of VCs are Latinx or Black. That means student founders of color have fewer role models and mentors with whom they can be inspired by and identify with and fewer financing opportunities than entrepreneurs. The Blackstone Charitable Foundation and the Lemelson Foundation are both committed to changing this paradigm. 

The Blackstone LaunchPad is a national collegiate entrepreneurship program from the Blackstone Charitable Foundation (BXCF), in partnership with Techstars, UNCF, Future Founders, Startup Grind and others. Recently, BXCF made a $40M commitment to expand the network from 30 to 75 schools, exclusively to campuses serving underrepresented and under resourced students. The LaunchPad operates on each campus with a DEI lens to programming. At a network level, our signature programming seeks to level the playing field by supporting partners to highlight more underrepresented founders, connecting students to mentors, resources and company and career-development opportunities, and building diverse peer communities for students to leverage for years to come. 

Since 2017, the InventOR collegiate invention and prototyping competition has engaged post-secondary students around Oregon in a yearlong program to inspire and educate the next generation of inventors and entrepreneurs. Born from a partnership between The Lemelson Foundation, Portland State University, and Business Oregon, the program has reached hundreds of students and now has financial and in-kind support from public and private organizations across the state. Following their participation in the program, competitors have gone on to form companies, take high-level engineering positions at major companies, and start down new educational pathways. Many of these students cite their participation in InventOR and other innovation and entrepreneurship programs as an inflection point in their education journey. 

Hear directly from Blackstone LaunchPad and InventOR staff, students and alumni about how the program affected their career or educational trajectory and how innovation and entrepreneurship programs can be designed to support student success, especially for participants from underrepresented or underserved backgrounds. Panelists will discuss how the program contributed to their career and education choices. They will also identify program elements that could be used by other institutions or coalitions of institutions to engage students in innovation and entrepreneurship.


Erica Lock, Blackstone Charitable Foundation
Rachel Jagoda Brunette, The Lemelson Foundation
Fernanda Fiscal, UT El Paso
Juan Barraza, Portland State University

D3Engaging Students and Industry: The Cocreation of Inclusive Learning Experiences in Engineering and Entrepreneurship Education

This panel explores two student-centered models for engaging industry professionals with students to promote early learning experiences that address entrepreneurship, teamwork, communication skills and mentorship. The Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School offers one example of this work in action — the Eship Scholars program — for other institutions that are looking to implement solutions to support high-potential entrepreneurs from traditionally underrepresented, underserved and underfunded backgrounds. The University of Massachusetts Lowell’s Research, Academics & Mentoring Pathways (RAMP) summer bridge program serves as an example of such a program in the field of engineering, with its focus on helping new female students and students of color be better prepared for the transition from high school to an undergraduate engineering degree program. Student participants from these programs will provide an overview of their experiences.  

Caitlyn Kumi, a student integral to the creation of the Eship Center’s Eship Scholars program at UNC, will talk about how she helped to identify the need for this program based on both her own experience as a student entrepreneur and on her internship role promoting diversity, equity and inclusion among the Eship Center’s structure. Aspyn Fulcher will highlight how she worked with Caitlyn to integrate the idea for the program into the strategy of the Eship Center’s recruitment and outreach, and how they leveraged existing resources in their network to bring the program to life. A participant from UMass Lowell’s RAMP program will highlight the structure of this program, and address the design of focus groups based on a participatory action research framework that enables students to help shape the program in both the short-term and the long-term. Faculty directors of RAMP (Kavitha Chandra and Susan Tripathy) will provide an interdisciplinary perspective on the design of RAMP. The panel will also highlight the various models of interaction between students, entrepreneurs and industry leaders that both Eship and RAMP have implemented.


Vickie Gibbs, The Entrepreneurship Center, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Moderator)
Aspyn Fulcher, The Entrepreneurship Center, Kenan-Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Caitlyn Kumi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Kavitha Chandra, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Susan Tripathy, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Shaniya Seney, University of Massachusetts Lowell

D4Bridging Curriculum with Community: Lessons in Innovation, Business Ethics & Transformational Impact

This session features panelists involved with innovative initiatives in the business school curriculum that recognize, develop and amplify business as a source of considerable value for positive transformation in our communities. Panelists from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Case Western Reserve University and the University of Michigan will share their key insights and takeaways from programs they lead based on applied frameworks including appreciative inquiry, positive organizations, UN Sustainable Development Goals, humanistic management and mindfulness. 

This session includes student’s perspectives and experiences, with examples of projects and impacts. Session attendees will gain new perspectives and tools to incorporate relevant ideas into their own positive-impact interests and initiatives by interacting with the panelists following presentations via a question-and-answer period.


Elissa Magnant, University of Massachusett Lowell
Dr. Erica Steckler, University of Massachusetts Lowell
Dr. Chris Laszlo, Case Western Reserve University
Dr. Stewart Thornhill, University of Michigan

D5Partnering to Learn: Collaboration Around Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, an Area of Growth

The year 2020 brought a number of challenges to all higher education organizations. One significant change was an increased awareness of, and focus around, how much work needs to be done in regard to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within each of our programs, as well as broadly within the entrepreneurial ecosystem. DEI has been a priority focus for Kenan-Flagler’s Entrepreneurship Center at the University of North Carolina (UNC) since 2019. 

Last year, UNC started collaborating with two other organizations with the aim of moving faster and creating greater impact by working together. The framework of this collaboration arose through a visiting professorship program called the Keohane Visiting Professors Program, which was started back in 2004 by then-President of Duke, Nan Keohane. The goal of the Keohane program is to seek out thought leaders who can jointly collaborate with Duke and UNC at Chapel Hill. Since the fall of 2020, UNC Eship, Stanford (STVP) and Duke (I&E) have been meeting approximately every three weeks to collaborate around DEI, to share lessons learned from relevant programs and events that have been launched and tested, and to brainstorm about refining plans and communicating to stakeholders. The collaboration has allowed the three organizations to partner more closely on programs. Because the work being done related to DEI takes considerable time and focused effort, this collaboration has also facilitated much-needed encouragement and support over the past year. 

Please join us for this session to learn about lessons learned from this collaboration and about the work these organizations are doing around DEI.


Vickie Gibbs, University of North Carolina
Ryan Shiba, Stanford University
Stephen Fusi, Duke University

D6Operationalizing Academic Entrepreneurship: A Systems Perspective

If institutions of higher education are to operationalize a broader definition of academic entrepreneurship and act as centers of economic growth, their role must be examined through a critical lens. This panel discussion is intended to explore how we, as academic leaders, foster the co-evolution of multiple system inputs and interaction among ecosystems that are appropriate for both academic and commercial goals.


Dr. Michael Walsh, Clarkson University
Dr. John Farr, West Point Military Academy
Dr. Jason Schmitt, Clarkson University
Dr. Charles Riley, Nassau County Museum
Nathan Greene, Acadeum